Selecting An LPN School To Build A Career On
Nursing careers are starting to take off across the country as the shortage of low- and mid-level health care professionals is straining the powers of our medical industry to keep up with the deteriorating health of the nation. In response, the market has raised the salaries and improved the working conditions of these experts steadily over the past several years. Consequently, a graduate of an LPN program can expect to earn a good living straight out of school.
Today, in addition to a high starting salary, nurses receive a variety of benefits. Depending on which institution you work for, you might be able to get:
-Bonus pay for weekend or overnight shifts
-Pension plans (a rarity in today's market!)
-Low-cost health insurance for you and your family
-Paid child care
The best way to get started on your journey to being a nursing professional is, as you might expect, finding the best nursing education you can get your hands on.
There are basically three kinds of nursing programs. The first is the 'on the job' program, where you get a bottom-of-the-totem-pole job as a Certified Nursing Assistant and work your way into the nursing education program offered at your hospital. It's a long grind, but it's inexpensive and you end up with connections and respect at your institution of choice.
The second path is a two-year degree at a college -- the Associate Degree in Nursing. The most common form of ADN is a Licensed Practical Nursing degree. For the truly dedicated, there are online colleges that can get you through LPN training from zero to completion in only nine months, but it's a very tough ride.
Then, there are the four-year nursing schools. The BSN -- Bachelor of Science in Nursing -- is the doorway to a career as a Registered Nurse (RN). RNs make real money, but they have tougher jobs by far then LPNs. It's also possible to find an accelerated course to get a BSN in only a year and a half, but it will be the hardest eighteen months of your life.
When you look at the traits of various LPN schools and general nursing schools, there are a few things that should separate one from the next. First, unless you're in an accelerated course, you should look for a nursing education that includes hands-on clinical experience in addition to classroom education. (Accelerated programs generally don't leave you with enough time to do clinical work up-front, so you'll have to get that experience on the job if you go that route.)
The second thing you should look for is modernity. There are a lot of nursing programs out there that don't have high-tech equipment and decent laboratories. The top-of-the-line nursing schools, for example, equip their students with some form of tablet computer or advanced cellphone loaded with all manner of medical apps to make their lives easier.
Finally, of course, you need the right school for you. Meaning, you need to find an LPN school or other general nursing school that accommodates your schedule, your ambition, and -- if you know what it will be -- your nursing specialty. If you're more comfortable working quickly through the material and sacrificing your social life in order to start earning faster, for example, an accelerated online course is the obvious choice.
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