How to Enroll In an LPN Program near Northport Alabama
Now that you have chosen a rewarding vocation in the field of nursing, it’s imperative that you locate a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program near Northport AL that will provide the right instruction. If you reside 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 health care facilities under the guidance of Registered Nurses (RN) or Doctors. But their functions do differ depending on the state they practice in, which we will cover in the next segment. When starting their search for LPN schools, many potential nursing students begin with those that are the closest to their houses or that are the least expensive. Even though price and location are important considerations, they are not the only criteria that you should base your decision on. Other factors, for example if the schools are accredited or have high pass rates on the licensing exam are very important also. There are even more questions that you should ask potential schools before enrolling in an LPN program that we will address later in this article. But to start with, let’s have a look at the job of an LPN and what is involved in the training and licensing process.
What is an LPN in Northport AL?
Licensed Practical Nurses have many duties that they carry out in the Northport AL health care facilities where they work. As their titles imply, they are mandated to be licensed in all states, including Alabama. Even though they may be accountable for overseeing 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 diverse, such as hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and long-term care facilities. Anyplace that you can find patients in need of medical care is their domain. Every state not only controls their licensing, but also what functions an LPN can and can’t perform. So based on the state, their daily work functions can include:
- Taking vital signs
- Giving medicines
- Initiating IV drips
- Monitoring patients
- Getting blood or urine samples
- Maintaining patient records
- Helping physicians or Registered nurses with procedures
In addition to their work duties being controlled by each state, the healthcare facilities or other Northport AL healthcare providers where LPNs work can further limit their job roles within those parameters. Also, they can practice in various specialties of nursing, such as long-term care, critical care, oncology and cardiology.
LPN Programs in Alabama
There are basically two academic accreditations available that provide training to become an LPN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, usually about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma course. The 2nd option is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with supplying a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, it needs to be state approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Online LPN Programs
Enrolling in LPN schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a nursing certificate or degree in Northport AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by U.S. Department of Education recognized organizations. And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online LPN program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask LPN Programs
Once you have decided on obtaining your LPN certificate, and if you will attend classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges near Northport AL as well as within Alabama and throughout the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools near Northport AL.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for LPNs vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the LPN schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby Northport AL 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 complete 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 favorable reputation within the Northport AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a Licensed Practical Nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Northport AL community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Considering LPN School in Northport Alabama?
Northport is a city in Tuscaloosa County in the west central part of the State of Alabama. Located on the Black Warrior River across from downtown Tuscaloosa, it is currently the 21st largest city in Alabama with an estimated population of 24,497 in 2013. It incorporated in 1871. It is part of the Tuscaloosa Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As Northport is adjacent to the larger city of Tuscaloosa, many residents work in Tuscaloosa or other parts of Tuscaloosa County. Although the two cities share a land boundary, much of their boundary (and historically all of the boundary) is the Black Warrior River.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,435 people, 7,844 households, and 5,255 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,328.3 people per square mile (512.9/km²). There were 8,509 housing units at an average density of 581.6 per square mile (224.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.11% White, 26.03% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.02% from other races, and 0.70% from two or more races. 1.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 7,844 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 15.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.98.
Pick the Right LPN Program near Northport AL
Choosing the right Licensed Practical Nurse school is perhaps the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become an LPN in Northport AL.
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