How to Find the Right LPN Training in Louisiana
Now that you have decided on a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college in Louisiana that will provide the necessary instruction. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, other than the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in medical 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 talk about in the following segment. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students start with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other variables, 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 discuss 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 Activities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have numerous functions that they carry out in the Louisiana medical facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Louisiana. Although they may be accountable for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision 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 in need of medical treatment is their domain. Each state not only regulates their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their routine work functions may include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Providing medications
- Initiating IV drips
- Observing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Taking care of patient records
- Supporting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work responsibilities being controlled by each state, the Louisiana health care facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, for instance long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are basically two academic accreditations available in Louisiana that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse. And 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 achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in Louisiana.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Louisiana community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Louisiana 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 wish to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has received 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. Various other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Louisiana 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 education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimal amount of instruction mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Louisiana to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some Louisiana schools will require attendance 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 rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household commitments have left you with little 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.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Louisiana and the United States. So it is essential 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 and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited Louisiana schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, are different 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Louisiana or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online 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. In addition, contact the Louisiana school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby 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 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 displeased 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 Louisiana to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs in Louisiana require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right LPN Program in Louisiana
Picking|Choosing|Selecting|Deciding on|Enrolling in} the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse program is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become an LVN in Louisiana.