How to Enroll In an LPN College in Montgomery Alabama
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it’s important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Montgomery AL that will provide the proper training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, aside from 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 talk about in the following section. When starting their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. Although tuition 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 first, let’s look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Duties
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many duties that they perform in the Montgomery AL medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical assistance is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their day-to-day work activities may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their job responsibilities being governed by each state, the Montgomery AL health facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered in Alabama that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative 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 benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Montgomery AL, 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 obtain a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Montgomery AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a two year program offered by Alabama community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers 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) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is generally a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed 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 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state mandates.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Montgomery AL area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s essential to make certain 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 suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain 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 additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many Montgomery AL area schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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 family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease 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 Montgomery AL as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final 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 as well as the Montgomery AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Montgomery AL school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Montgomery 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 superb reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Montgomery AL area to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs in Alabama require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships in the Montgomery AL area.
Enroll in the Right LPN Degree Montgomery 36101
Deciding on the best Licensed Practical Nurse training program is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Montgomery AL.
Why Did You Choose to Become an LPN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask nursing prospects is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming an LPN, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should organize some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
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