How to Pick an LPN College in Girdwood Alaska
Once you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Girdwood AK that will furnish the appropriate education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the next section. When starting their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. Even though price and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other variables, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very 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 cover later in this article. But to start with, let’s look at the role 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 many different functions that they perform in the Girdwood AK medical facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alaska. Although they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients seeking medical care is their dominion. Every state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day job activities may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medications
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Helping doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their occupational duties being governed by each state, the Girdwood AK healthcare facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
There are essentially two academic credentials available in Alaska that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type 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 Girdwood AK, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Girdwood AK area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Alaska community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Alaska colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 normally a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has earned 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. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to check with the Alaska board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Girdwood AK 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 need to 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 crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Alaska to make certain that the training 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 additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some Girdwood AK area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Girdwood AK along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the Girdwood AK school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive an excellent education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited Alaska 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Girdwood AK school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Girdwood AK healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the LPN programs you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Girdwood AK area to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs in Alaska require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships in the Girdwood AK area.
Select the Right LPN College Girdwood 99587
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse college is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 Vocational Nurse in Girdwood AK.
Why Did You Choose to Become an LPN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for being a nurse, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize some strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
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