How to Select an LPN College in Westminster South Carolina
Now that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school in Westminster SC that will furnish the proper education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are relevant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, 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 cover later in this article. But to start with, let’s take a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Duties
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have a number of tasks that they carry out in the Westminster SC health care facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including South Carolina. While they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical assistance is their domain. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day work activities might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medications
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work functions being mandated by each state, the Westminster SC healthcare facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Training
There are generally two academic accreditations available in South Carolina that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Westminster SC, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Westminster SC area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by South Carolina community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at South Carolina colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may 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 typically a two year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the South Carolina board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Westminster SC area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 minimal period of training directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for South Carolina to make sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Training
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many Westminster SC area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within South Carolina and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Westminster SC along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the Westminster SC school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited South Carolina schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, are different 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Westminster SC school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for South Carolina or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the South Carolina school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Westminster SC healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN schools you are considering 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Westminster SC area to help 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 South Carolina require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships in the Westminster SC area.
Enroll in the Right LPN Degree Westminster 29693
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Westminster SC.
Why Did You Desire to Be an LPN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you want to address them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down a few ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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