Nurses are in high demand because of shortages all across the United States. If you are interested in working with the sick or elderly, a vocational nurse licensing program to become a licensed practical nurse could start you on a new and rewarding career path. You may even decide that you want to move on and earn your bachelor degree or even your master’s as a registered nurse.
Fast-Track Nursing Programs
Know what to look for in a vocational nurse licensing program. Comprehensive programs make you a vital member of a health care team, either in a long-term care facility, rehabilitation facility or in a hospital. After you have earned your LPN, you’ll work under the direct supervision of the R.N.s on the nursing team. Doctors caring for your patients will also give you direction in meeting patient needs.
A good fast-track nursing program will teach you how to take and record vital signs, observe your patients for changes so you can alert other medical staff, give prescribed medications and dress wounds. If you have good judgment, like working with others and can interact with others in a professional way, you can be accepted into a nursing program.
You Earn Credits and a Diploma
Any good vocational nurse program will be set up as a terminal practical nursing program, for which you earn college credits. You may take your classes in a community college setting and these credits will be considered if you decide to move ahead in your nursing education.
Your instructors know that you will need to sit for a practice nurse licensing examination, so they will teach the materials you need, not only to work with patients, but to pass the exam. As you talk to the nursing college, make sure you find out whether the classes will expose you to everything you need to learn. If you need to take any course prerequisites, enroll for them and get them out of the way before you begin your vocational nursing program – your classes will go much more easily this way.
Needed Program Competencies
Expect to learn nursing theory, as well as the skills you’ll need to work directly with patients in a health care setting. As you progress through the fast-track program, you’ll gain valuable real-life experience in the different settings where you may work – nursing homes, clinics, long-term care facilities, health care agencies or hospitals.
Your instructors should teach you how to function well as a beginning practical nurse while being supervised by an R.N. You’ll be expected to learn to use critical thinking skills because you work with patients who are sometimes critically ill. Being able to think “on your feet” is vital. You’ll learn how to collect vital signs and record these so your patients’ care moves forward, as well as evaluating nursing care based on the outcome criteria for your patients. You will have to perform technical nursing care and show you can use current technology to care for your patents.
National Council Licensing Examination-Practical Nursing
Every nursing graduate, including those enrolled in a vocational nurse licensing program, will be required to take and pass the National Council Licensing Examination, or NCLEX. You’ll take the NCLEX-PN exam for your level. Discuss this licensing exam with program administrators at your college.