How to Select an LPN School in Pelham Alabama
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it’s essential that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college in Pelham AL that will provide the necessary instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, except for 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. But their responsibilities do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. While tuition and location are important factors, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are even more questions that you should ask potential 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 role 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 many different tasks that they complete in the Pelham AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Although they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical treatment is their domain. Each state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their daily work functions might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their occupational duties being controlled by each state, the Pelham AL healthcare facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two scholastic credentials available in Alabama that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering 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 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 syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Pelham AL, and that most 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 to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Pelham AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 usually a 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained 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. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Pelham AL area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 minimal period of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Training
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some Pelham AL area schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Pelham AL along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the Pelham AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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) along with 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 essential that the Pelham AL school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing standards 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. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Pelham 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 schools 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Pelham AL area to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs in Alabama require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships in the Pelham AL area.
Pick the Right LPN Course Pelham 35124
Picking the right Licensed Practical Nurse program is arguably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is critical that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN in Pelham AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a licensed practical nurse, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you want to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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