How to Pick an LPN College in Oakland California
Now that you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Oakland CA that will provide the necessary training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, 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 functions do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least costly. While cost and location are relevant factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, such as 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 address later in this article. But to start with, let’s have a 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 numerous duties that they accomplish in the Oakland CA healthcare facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including California. Even though they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves generally work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can encounter patients in need of medical treatment is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their routine job functions can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Helping doctors or RNs with procedures
In addition to their occupational duties being governed by each state, the Oakland CA healthcare facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are generally two academic accreditations available in California that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest period of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should 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 Oakland CA, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Oakland CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program made available by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as 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 extensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at California 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 might desire 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 usually a two year program after attaining 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 obtained 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the California board of nursing for any state requirements.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Oakland CA 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for California to make certain that the training 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 may be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some Oakland CA area schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school relative to Oakland CA and the price of tuition are undoubtedly 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 selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the Oakland CA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited California schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites 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) in addition to 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 important that the Oakland CA school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Oakland CA 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 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 unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Oakland CA 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 setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs in California require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships in the Oakland CA area.
Pick the Right LPN Course Oakland 94601
Enrolling in the right Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Oakland CA.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a licensed practical nurse, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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