How to Choose an LPN School in Gilbert Arizona
Once you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Gilbert AZ that will deliver the necessary training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both perform the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although tuition and location are significant 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 as well. 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 first, let’s look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Activities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have a number of duties that they perform in the Gilbert AZ medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Arizona. Although they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients requiring medical care is their dominion. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their daily job functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work responsibilities being governed by each state, the Gilbert AZ medical facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are basically two academic credentials available in Arizona that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative 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, along with providing 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 kind of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Gilbert AZ, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options 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 just two 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 available in the Gilbert AZ area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by Arizona community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Arizona 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 may want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Arizona board of nursing for any state mandates.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Gilbert AZ area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary 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 check with the health or nursing board for Arizona to make sure that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain Gilbert AZ area schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school relative to Gilbert AZ along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the Gilbert AZ school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited Arizona schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements 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) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Gilbert AZ school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional Gilbert AZ 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 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 superb reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Gilbert AZ area to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs in Arizona require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships in the Gilbert AZ area.
Pick the Right LPN Degree Gilbert 85233
Selecting the best Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is perhaps the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Gilbert AZ.
Why Did You Want to Be an LPN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's important to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing candidates is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a licensed practical nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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