How to Find the Right LPN Program in Kansas
Once you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it’s important that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college in Kansas that will deliver the proper training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in medical facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their duties do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the following section. When beginning their search for schools, many prospective nursing students start with those that are the nearest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although price and location are significant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for instance 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 potential schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will address 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 Duties
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many duties that they accomplish in the Kansas medical facilities where they are employed. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Kansas. Even though they may be accountable for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients seeking medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their routine work activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Providing medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their job functions being governed by each state, the Kansas 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.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered in Kansas that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with 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 type of credential you pursue, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately 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 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 advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are offered in Kansas.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program made available by Kansas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Kansas 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 desire 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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 fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Kansas board of nursing for any state mandates.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Kansas to make sure that the education 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 can be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Attending nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree. Many Kansas schools will require attendance 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 center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Kansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited Kansas schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, differ 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Kansas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Kansas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some local healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 Kansas to help students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs in Kansas require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right LPN College in Kansas
Picking|Choosing|Selecting|Deciding on|Enrolling in} the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse college is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become an LVN in Kansas.