How to Find the Right LPN School in Athens Alabama
Once you have chosen a fulfilling vocation in the field of nursing, it’s important that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Athens AL that will deliver the proper training. If you reside in Texas or California, then you will be looking for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, except for the names, between an LPN and an LVN. They both undertake the same job functions and work in healthcare facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do fluctuate 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 those that are the closest to their residences or that are the least costly. Although cost and location are important considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other concerns, such as if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are extremely important as well. There are even more 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 function of an LPN and what is involved in the education and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Functions
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have a number of functions that they carry out in the Athens AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles signify, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be responsible for supervising Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves normally work under the guidance of either an RN or a doctor. The medical care facilities where they work are numerous and varied, including hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can encounter patients requiring medical care is their dominion. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what work activities an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their daily work activities can include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Starting IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Helping physicians or RNs with procedures
In addition to their work duties being controlled by each state, the Athens AL medical facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can work in various specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
There are principally two academic credentials available in Alabama that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest period of time, usually about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and commonly require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, 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 warrants that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Athens AL, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees
There are several degree options offered 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 2 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 offered in the Athens AL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Alabama 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 afterwards earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Alabama colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their past 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 employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after obtaining 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 received 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. Other requirements for licensing change from state to state, so make sure to contact the Alabama board of nursing for any state requirements.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Athens AL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Alabama to make certain 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 might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Training
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain Athens AL area schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Programs
Once you have selected which nursing degree to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Athens AL and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the Athens AL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited Alabama schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Athens AL school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama 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. Also, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Athens AL 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Athens AL area to assist students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs in Alabama require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships in the Athens AL area.
Select the Right LPN Program Athens 35611
Selecting the right Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is essential that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Athens AL.
Why Did You Decide to Become an LPN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing prospects is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being an LPN, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
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