How to Choose an LPN College in Clearwater Minnesota
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school in Clearwater MN that will deliver the necessary 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, 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. But their responsibilities do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When initiating their search for schools, many potential nursing students start with the ones that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least costly. Even though cost and location are significant considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important too. There are even more questions that you should ask prospective schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will talk about later in this article. But first, let’s look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Activities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have a number of functions that they accomplish in the Clearwater MN health care facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Minnesota. While they may be accountable for monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the oversight of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can encounter patients seeking medical treatment 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 job functions can include:
- Measuring vital signs
- Administering medications
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Helping doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their job responsibilities being governed by each state, the Clearwater MN health care facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job duties within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, including long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are principally two academic accreditations offered in Minnesota that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Clearwater MN, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available 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 just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in the Clearwater MN area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program offered by Minnesota community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a 4 year program offered at Minnesota colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has attained 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. Additional requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to contact the Minnesota board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Clearwater MN area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to 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 must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it’s crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for Minnesota to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree. Certain Clearwater MN area schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Minnesota and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to Clearwater MN as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things 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 see how your selection measures up to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the Clearwater MN school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited Minnesota schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Clearwater MN school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Minnesota or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Minnesota school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Clearwater MN 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Clearwater MN area to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs in Minnesota require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships in the Clearwater MN area.
Select the Right LPN Course Clearwater 55320
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse college is arguably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Clearwater MN.
Why Did You Choose to Become an LPN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being an LPN, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should ready some strategies about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the abilities you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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