How to Select an LPN College in San Carlos California
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it’s essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in San Carlos CA that will furnish the proper education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching 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 healthcare facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will talk about in the next section. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. While price and location are important considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important as well. There are various other questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let’s look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Responsibilities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have numerous tasks that they complete in the San Carlos CA health care facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including California. Although they may be responsible for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The healthcare facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical care is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their daily work activities can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medications
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational functions being governed by each state, the San Carlos CA medical facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in numerous specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two academic accreditations available in California that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest period of time, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of 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 warrants that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in San Carlos CA, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options 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 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in the San Carlos CA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by California community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently obtain a more advanced 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 California 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 may want to advance 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 2 year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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 change from state to state, so be sure to check with the California board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the San Carlos CA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 period of instruction required and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for California to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online Nursing Training
Attending nursing schools online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many San Carlos CA area schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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. So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout California and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school relative to San Carlos CA along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 in addition to the San Carlos CA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited California schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the San Carlos CA school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for California or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the California school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional San Carlos CA 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 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the San Carlos CA area to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs in California require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships in the San Carlos CA area.
Choose the Right LPN Training San Carlos 94070
Deciding on the best Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in San Carlos CA.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Licensed Practical Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask nursing candidates is "What made you pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a nurse, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, along with a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare some strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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