How to Choose an LPN Program in Lafayette Colorado
Once you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you select a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) college in Lafayette CO that will provide the right education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be looking 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 health care facilities under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their responsibilities do vary depending on the state they practice in, which we will look at in the next section. When initiating their search for schools, many prospective nursing students begin with the ones that are the nearest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Although tuition and location are important considerations, they are not the only qualifications that you should base your selection on. Other concerns, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in a LVN or LPN training program that we will discuss 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 many different tasks that they carry out in the Lafayette CO healthcare facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are required to be licensed in all states, including Colorado. Although they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves usually work under the direction 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. Anyplace that you can find patients in need of medical assistance is their domain. Each state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their everyday work activities may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Overseeing patients
- Collecting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Supporting physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their job responsibilities being controlled by each state, the Lafayette CO health care facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can additionally limit their job roles within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in different specialties of nursing, which include long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Programs
There are basically two scholastic accreditations available in Colorado that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The second option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to supplying a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they provide 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 guarantees that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Lafayette CO, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in as little as two years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Lafayette CO area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a 2 year program offered by Colorado community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Colorado 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 desire 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 commonly a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has attained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so don’t forget to contact the Colorado board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Lafayette CO area. The length of the training program 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 obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it’s important to make certain that the 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 Colorado to make certain that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Programs
Enrolling in nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Certain Lafayette CO area schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for 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 convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have determined which nursing degree to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Colorado and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Lafayette CO and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 Lafayette CO school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited Colorado 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) in addition to 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 essential that the Lafayette CO school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Colorado or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online 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. In addition, contact the Colorado school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some regional Lafayette CO 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 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 dissatisfied 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts in the Lafayette CO area to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs in Colorado require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships in the Lafayette CO area.
Enroll in the Right LPN School Lafayette 80026
Selecting the ideal Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical 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 final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Lafayette CO.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing applicants is "What compelled you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a licensed practical nurse, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should ready several ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are several 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 appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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