How to Enroll In an LPN School in Alabama
Once you have decided on a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Alabama that will deliver the appropriate instruction. 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 carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Even though tuition and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other variables, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will discuss later in this article. But first, 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 Responsibilities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have a number of tasks that they perform in the Alabama health care facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. While they may be accountable for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients seeking medical treatment is their domain. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their routine work functions might include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational duties being mandated by each state, the Alabama healthcare facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in numerous specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered in Alabama that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next 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 benefit of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the syllabus effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, 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 receive a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in Alabama.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program made available by Alabama community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more comprehensive 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 previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 normally a 2 year program after attaining 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, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain that the training course 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 might be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some Alabama schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the 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 supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. 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 work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent 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 required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some regional 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 schools 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships in Alabama to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. 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. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right LPN Degree in Alabama
Picking|Choosing|Selecting|Deciding on|Enrolling in} the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse training program is perhaps the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Alabama.