How to Pick an LPN College in Columbia Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it’s important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college in Columbia AL that will deliver the appropriate instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the following section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. While price and location are important considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important also. There are additional questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But to start with, let’s look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Functions
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many tasks that they complete in the Columbia AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients in need of medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their everyday job activities can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medications
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work functions being mandated by each state, the Columbia AL medical facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two academic credentials offered in Alabama that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time frame, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Columbia AL, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Columbia AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Columbia AL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 training mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Training
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Many Columbia AL area schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, 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. So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school relative to Columbia AL along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the Columbia AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 important that the Columbia AL school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Columbia AL healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Columbia AL area to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs in Alabama require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships in the Columbia AL area.
Pick the Right LPN Course Columbia 36319
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become an LVN in Columbia AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be an LPN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a licensed practical nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must ready several ideas about how you want to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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