Choosing an LPN Program in North Dakota
North Dakota sets LPN program standards high. Schools are required to provide plenty of documentation to the state board. They have occasional site visits, either through an accrediting agency or the board.
North Dakota schools are working together to make practical nursing education accessible. Several of the nursing programs have formed a consortium. Collaboration means a good deal of similarities from one program to the next. However, North Dakota’s LPN programs are not all part of the consortium — and they are not all the same. In fact, they don’t all award the same academic credential.
Degree or Certificate
One of the big considerations if you are choosing a North Dakota LPN program: Which credential do you want to leave with? What credentials would you like to hold a few years down the line?
Schools advertise two outcomes: Practical nursing training can be an entry way into the world of nursing or a step toward a higher degree. North Dakota is somewhat unusual in that many of its practical nursing programs award associate degrees. Students who complete these programs will typically have more academic credits that can be transferred.
There are also some certificate programs. Articulation agreements allow students to continue on. Among the options: articulating to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
According to the most recent annual report, all North Dakota’s LPN certificate students were full-time; some associate’s students were attending nursing school part-time.
Options for Rural Students
The consortium offers nursing courses at additional satellite sites (http://dakotanursing.org/).
Rural students may have to travel to attend a nursing school. Some schools provide room and board.
The Admission Process
Students should be prepared for a competitive admission process. Multiple North Dakota schools use similar criteria (https://dakotanursing.org/home-2/pn-certificate/). Multiple criteria are considered, including test scores, grade point average, and prior healthcare experience (if any). The Test for Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is the standard assessment. Associate programs may have a slightly different set of criteria.
The board posts an annual report that includes among, other things, a school-by-school breakdown of how many students applied and how many were accepted. This is one way to get a sense of the level of competition. Prospective students should be aware that some qualified applicants have been turned away, but this isn’t something that happens across the board at all schools.
The Paramedic Option: Paramedic to LPN Program
The North Dakota Board can review and approve innovative programs. The state currently has one program that offers a ‘paramedic to nurse’ bridge.
Preparing for Licensure… and Employment
All practical nursing graduates must pass the NCLEX-PN board examination before they can be licensed. This is a requirement not only in North Dakota but around the nation. In general, North Dakota practical nursing programs have pass rates well above the national average. There has been an above average pattern for some years. However, there is some variance by school. NCLEX pass rates for the prior five years are found in the annual report (https://www.ndbon.org/Publications/AnnualRpt.asp).
One will also find a list of North Dakota clinical sites and the schools that utilize them.
Occasionally, a program is put on conditional approval status for not meeting some expectation. This information, too, will be in the report.
Students may want to peruse their school’s gainful employment report. This typically includes information such as job placement rate and average loan debt.
Programs may seek accreditation through the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Financing Nursing School
LPNs are often employed in long-term care. Prospective nurses who are already employed in some capacity in the long term care arena may have additional scholarship options.
North Dakota Board of Nursing https://www.ndbon.org/
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