How to Select an LPN School in Spirit Lake Iowa
Now that you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s essential that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Spirit Lake IA that will provide the right education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in health care 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 look at in the following segment. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with those that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least costly. While price and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, for instance if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are additional 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 have a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Activities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many different functions that they perform in the Spirit Lake IA healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles indicate, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Iowa. Although 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 medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients seeking medical attention 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 everyday work activities might include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Taking blood or urine samples
- Keeping patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job responsibilities being mandated by each state, the Spirit Lake IA 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, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered in Iowa that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Spirit Lake IA, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Spirit Lake IA area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Iowa community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Iowa colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has acquired 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 change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Iowa board of nursing for any state mandates.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Spirit Lake IA area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with 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 Iowa to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with 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.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Some Spirit Lake IA area schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. 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 family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Iowa and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Spirit Lake IA along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the Spirit Lake IA school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited Iowa schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, vary 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Spirit Lake IA school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Iowa or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Iowa school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Spirit Lake IA 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 programs 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Spirit Lake IA area to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs in Iowa require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships in the Spirit Lake IA area.
Choose the Right LPN School Spirit Lake 51360
Picking the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LVN in Spirit Lake IA.
Why Did You Want to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a licensed practical nurse, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you want to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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