How to Choose an LPN College in Waterloo Nebraska
Once you have chosen a fulfilling career in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Waterloo NE that will deliver the right education. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, except for 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. However their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will address in the following segment. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their residences or that are the least expensive. Although price and location are important factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, such as 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 address later in this article. But to start with, let’s take a look at the role of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Functions
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have numerous functions that they complete in the Waterloo NE healthcare facilities where they practice. As their titles signify, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Nebraska. While they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and diverse, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anywhere that you can find patients requiring medical attention is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their day-to-day work functions may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Starting IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
Along with their work responsibilities being governed by each state, the Waterloo NE health care facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can work in various specialties of nursing, for example long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
There are principally two scholastic credentials offered in Nebraska that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering 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 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 guarantees that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Waterloo NE, and that the majority of 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 to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in the Waterloo NE area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program made available by Nebraska community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is normally a four year program offered at Nebraska 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 generally a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned 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. Various other requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Nebraska board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Waterloo NE area. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Nebraska to make sure that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Training
Attending nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Many Waterloo NE area schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Nebraska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school relative to Waterloo NE as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the Waterloo NE school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited Nebraska schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Waterloo NE school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Nebraska or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Nebraska school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Waterloo NE 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 colleges you are looking at 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 favorable reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Waterloo NE area to assist students gain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs in Nebraska require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships in the Waterloo NE area.
Select the Right LPN Course Waterloo 68069
Deciding on the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse college is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become an LPN in Waterloo NE.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being an LPN, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready some ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding nurse and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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