How to Enroll In an LPN School in Texas
Once you have decided on a rewarding career in the field of nursing, it’s important that you choose a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college in Texas that will provide the right instruction. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, apart from the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both carry out the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. However their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the following section. When beginning their search for schools, many potential nursing students begin with the ones that are the closest to their homes or that are the least costly. Even though tuition and location are relevant points to consider, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other factors, 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 talk about later in this article. But first, let’s have a look at the function of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Duties
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many different functions that they complete in the Texas healthcare facilities where they are employed. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Texas. Although they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for instance hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients seeking medical care is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their everyday work functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Administering medicines
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting doctors or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work duties being mandated by each state, the Texas health facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job roles 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 essentially two academic credentials offered in Texas that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time period, usually about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The next alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, 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 guarantees that the course of study effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees 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 as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available in Texas.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by Texas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Texas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be able 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a 2 year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Texas board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired 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, 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Texas to make sure that the training 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 prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a nursing degree. Some Texas schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount 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 answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Texas and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things 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 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited Texas schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, vary 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Texas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Texas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 programs 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships in Texas to help students obtain 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 Texas require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right LPN Course in Texas
Picking|Choosing|Selecting|Deciding on|Enrolling in} the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse school is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you should 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 emphasized within this content, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Texas.