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Evaluating and Selecting LVN Programs

Evaluating and Selecting LVN Programs

An LVN, or Licensed Vocational Nurse, is a nurse who can perform basic patient care, but can not do some of the more advanced tasks preformed by RN’s, who have considerably more education. There are many LVN programs, some of which can be completed in a year’s time. Choosing between LVN programs depends on what type of patient care you want to do, how much time you want to dedicate to school, and whether or not you plan to later pursue your RN certification.

Types of LVN Programs

Depending on your state and the schools available to you, you may have the option to choose from one year, 18 month, or two year LVN programs. These programs are further broken down into full-time and part-time programs, and which you choose will determine how quickly you complete your particular program. If you can’t dedicate yourself to full-time schooling, you may wish to choose a shorter LVN program in order to finish more rapidly.

LVN programs can result in either a diploma or a certification. While nursing degrees can be obtained, these are usually at the RN level. Your LVN certification is a step towards completing RN training, and many people see it as a stepping stone, continuing to study for their RN degree while working as an LVN. If a future as an RN is what your ultimate goal is, then a longer LVN program might be wise. The more education you have, the better it will look when you pursue a higher paying position.

How to Choose an LVN Program

The school you choose to attend has to be a place where you feel comfortable, so when choosing from the available LVN programs, visit each of the schools. Request a tour, and take your time asking questions and chatting with everyone you meet. This is the best way to get a feel for a school. If you can, try to find a student who isn’t busy and ask them how they like it. This will give you valuable information about the school and its programs.

Another good place to ask questions is at the local hospital. Ask some of the nurses where they went to school, and which schools hold the most prestige in your area. It is not uncommon that an applicant for a position will have an edge over the others because the school they attended is believed to be the best.

Another thing to consider when choosing LVN programs is whether they offer online courses. No nursing course can be completed entirely online as the clinical portion must be done in person and requires hands-on learning. But the ability to take some of your classes online can help you to fit school into your schedule, especially if you are working currently or have children requiring care. Online courses are becoming more popular as time goes by, and many schools now offer them, even prestigious Universities. It allows them to keep costs down and accept more pupils each year.

LVN Program Costs

Speaking of costs, tuition is another area you will need to explore when you compare LVN programs. Some places will be more expensive than others, and in addition to tuition you might need to consider parking costs or meals if your school is in a downtown area or your classes will require you to eat away from home. These added costs can make a reasonable tuition seem less affordable. Remember that the highest tuition doesn’t necessarily mean the best program!

Ask if the school offers financial assistance, and what you need to do to qualify. Another service some schools provide is assistance with locating a job after you graduate. This can be invaluable in a difficult job market where there are many applicants.

Choosing from all of the LVN programs in your area comes down to a few basic things – finding a school with a good reputation, affordable tuition, and a schedule that meets your needs are all important. And how much you like the school, how comfortable you feel there, and how other students seem to be faring in the classes can add to the formula. In the end, whether your LVN training is a stepping stone or your career goal, the program you choose will set you on a new path. So take your time, and choose wisely.

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