Licensed Practical Nurses (also known as Licensed Vocational Nurses in some states) are "entry level nurses with a practical education." They cover several important topics to consider when deciding to pursue a career as a LPN or Registered Nurse.
First up is "The Importance of Attending a Board Approved School." You certainly don't want to complete your education only to discover that your school's program hasn't been approved by the licensing agency in your state. Illinois Approved Nursing Education Programs for LPNs and RNs are listed here.
Next in the guide is "Alternate Pathways to Becoming an LPN." From NursingLicensure.org,
"Some states have alternate pathways to licensure as an LPN. They may allow candidates who began higher level professional nursing programs, but did not finish – or who completed higher level programs, but did not pass the licensing exam – to test as practical nurses. Some accept equivalent training done through the military. Just because one state will accept a candidate’s training, however, it doesn’t mean another will. Some states will not license a candidate who did not complete an approved LPN program even if she’s been working as a nurse elsewhere."
Just like LPNs, students studying to become Registered Nurses should make sure their nursing program is state approved. From NursingLicensure.org,
"State approval is different than national accreditation – and, in the case of nursing, far more fundamental. States only approve the programs located within their own borders, but they generally recognize other states’ approval process. Some state boards have issued warnings of unapproved schools operating within their borders. If a student enrolls in one of these, she will not be eligible. If she attends a program that has the approval of the board in the state where it is located, she’ll generally be fine. Some states note that the program must be substantially equivalent. Some have rules about which online schools are acceptable, or state that programs must include concurrent clinical practice. Many, but not all, registered nursing programs have program level accreditation through the CCNE and/or NLNAC. National accreditation can be important for a nurse who is considering higher education down the road. However, a nurse can expect to be eligible for licensure with only state approval."
There are several kinds of Registered Nurse program types. Should you pursue a bachelor's degree or associate's degree?
Professional nursing programs are offered at the associate’s and bachelor’s level; they are often referred to as ADN and BSN. Many states also have a few hospital-based diploma programs for RNs. The licensure level is the same. However, the BSN does have more nursing coursework as well as more general academic coursework than the ADN; it can open up more job opportunities. If a nurse is considering pursuing graduate education and becoming an advanced practitioner, the BSN will bring her closer. Nurses who are already licensed as practical or vocational nurses often have the opportunity to do LPN to RN bridge programs. Candidates who already have a bachelor’s degree, but in another field, sometimes opt for direct entry master’s programs.
Questions? Feel free to drop Goldberg Law Group a line, and we'll do our best to clarify your situation.