LPN Training Programs in Virginia

How to Select an LPN Program in Virginia

Virginia LPN taking patient vital signsNow that you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it’s important that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) school in Virginia that will deliver the appropriate training. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no distinction, aside 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 next section. When initiating their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their houses or that are the least expensive. While price and location are relevant considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other variables, such as 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 discuss later in this article. But to start with, let’s 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 a number of functions that they perform in the Virginia health facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Virginia. Even though they may be responsible for overseeing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The health care facilities where they work are numerous and assorted, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Virtually any place that you can find patients seeking medical attention is their dominion. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what duties an LPN can and can’t perform. So depending on the state, their daily work functions may include:

  • Taking vital signs
  • Administering medicines
  • Initiating IV drips
  • Overseeing patients
  • Taking blood or urine samples
  • Managing patient records
  • Supporting physicians or RNs with procedures

Along with their occupational functions being mandated by each state, the Virginia medical facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. In addition, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.

LPN and LVN Programs

There are basically two academic accreditations offered in Virginia that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be finished in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative 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 complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind 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 core curriculum 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 several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are available in Virginia.

  • Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Virginia community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a more advanced degree.
  • Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is normally a 4 year program offered at Virginia colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 progress 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 two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.

After a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Virginia board of nursing for any state mandates.

CNA Courses

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The length of the instruction 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 have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Virginia to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as 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 Schools

LPN working in Virginia nursing homeAttending nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree. Some Virginia schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask Nurse Schools

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Virginia and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited Virginia schools.

Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria 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) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many 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 provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Virginia or the state where you will be practicing.

Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Virginia school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important 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 contacts in Virginia to help students attain a position.

Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs in Virginia require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Right LPN Training in Virginia

Picking|Choosing|Selecting|Deciding on|Enrolling in} the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse training program is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you select an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN in Virginia.

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