How to Select an LPN School in Gardendale Alabama
Now that you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it’s important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college in Gardendale AL that will furnish the appropriate instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When starting their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. While tuition and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for instance 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 look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Activities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many functions that they accomplish in the Gardendale AL medical facilities where they practice. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical treatment is their domain. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their everyday work functions may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Helping doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job responsibilities being controlled by each state, the Gardendale AL health 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, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are principally two academic accreditations offered in Alabama that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind 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 attests that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Gardendale AL, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Gardendale AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 usually a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Gardendale AL area. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make sure that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Some Gardendale AL area schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Gardendale AL and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the Gardendale AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Gardendale AL school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Gardendale 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 colleges you are looking at 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Gardendale AL area to assist students obtain 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 Alabama require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships in the Gardendale AL area.
Enroll in the Right LPN Course Gardendale 35071
Enrolling in the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LVN in Gardendale AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Licensed Practical Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the questions that recruiters often ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready some ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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