How to Pick an LPN College in Rio Rancho New Mexico
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Rio Rancho NM that will provide the necessary instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other variables, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let’s look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Duties
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many tasks that they perform in the Rio Rancho NM health care facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including New Mexico. Even though they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the direction of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients in need of medical care is their dominion. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their routine job activities may include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their occupational functions being mandated by each state, the Rio Rancho NM health care facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two academic credentials available in New Mexico that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Rio Rancho NM, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Rio Rancho NM area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program offered by New Mexico community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at New Mexico colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the New Mexico board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Rio Rancho NM area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for New Mexico to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some Rio Rancho NM area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout New Mexico and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school relative to Rio Rancho NM as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the Rio Rancho NM school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited New Mexico schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Rio Rancho NM school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for New Mexico or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the New Mexico school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Rio Rancho NM healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Rio Rancho NM area to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs in New Mexico require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships in the Rio Rancho NM area.
Enroll in the Right LPN Course Rio Rancho 87124
Choosing the best Licensed Practical Nurse college is arguably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Rio Rancho NM.
Why Did You Want to Be an LPN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming an LPN, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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