How to Select an LPN College in Normal Illinois
Once you have decided on a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you find a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program in Normal IL that will deliver the necessary education. If you live in Texas or California, then you will be searching for a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) school instead. There is no difference, other than 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. But their functions do fluctuate depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the following segment. When beginning their search for schools, many future nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their homes or that are the least expensive. Even though cost and location are important factors, they are not the only criteria that you should base your selection on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important too. There are additional 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 to start with, let’s look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the instruction and licensing process.
LPN and LVN Job Responsibilities
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses have many functions that they accomplish in the Normal IL medical facilities where they work. As their titles indicate, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Illinois. Even though they may be responsible for managing Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), they themselves typically work under the supervision of either an RN or a doctor. The medical facilities where they work are numerous and varied, for example hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients in need of medical assistance is their dominion. Every state not only oversees their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their everyday job functions may include:
- Checking vital signs
- Giving medications
- Setting up IV drips
- Observing patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Managing patient records
- Assisting doctors or RNs with procedures
Along with their occupational duties being regulated by each state, the Normal IL medical facilities or other healthcare providers where LPNs or LVNs work can further limit their job duties within those parameters. Additionally, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are generally two academic accreditations offered in Illinois that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd choice is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide 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 some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses in Normal IL, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Other Nursing Degrees
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Normal IL area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is typically a two year program offered by Illinois community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is commonly a 4 year program offered at Illinois colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might 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 normally a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate 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. Further requirements for licensing change from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Illinois board of nursing for any state mandates.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Normal IL area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in 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. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Illinois to make sure that the training 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 additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Training
Enrolling in nursing programs online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and earn a nursing degree. Many Normal IL area schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. 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 college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. So if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing degree to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Illinois and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school relative to Normal IL and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the Normal IL school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited Illinois schools.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for nurses, both LPNs and RNs, vary 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Normal IL school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Illinois or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Illinois school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Normal IL 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 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships in the Normal IL area to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs in Illinois require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships in the Normal IL area.
Pick the Right LPN School Normal 61761
Deciding on the best Licensed Practical Nurse degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Normal IL.
Why Did You Want to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers often ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to pick 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 talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready several approaches about how you would like to address them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
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