How to Choose an LPN School in Jefferson Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school in Jefferson AL that will furnish the right education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the guidance 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 segment. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students start with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though tuition and location are significant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will talk about 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 training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Responsibilities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many functions that they accomplish in the Jefferson AL health facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care 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 care is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their daily job activities might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work responsibilities being governed by each state, the Jefferson AL health facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can work in different specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are basically two academic accreditations offered in Alabama that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Jefferson AL, 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 in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Jefferson AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is typically a four 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 want 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 commonly 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 received one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Jefferson AL area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and each state has its specific requirements. 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 Alabama to make sure that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree. Many Jefferson AL area schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Jefferson AL as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the Jefferson AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) 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 Jefferson AL school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. 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 local Jefferson AL 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 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 displeased 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Jefferson AL area to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs in Alabama require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships in the Jefferson AL area.
Select the Right LPN School Jefferson 36745
Deciding on the best Licensed Practical Nurse training program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist 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 Jefferson AL.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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