It is nearly impossible to find an online LPN course, as you will need some hands-on training in order to obtain your degree. However, there are now other options available to you if you are dead set on getting LPN training online. There are a number of reasons why you may not be able to enroll in an LPN course or program offered by universities, for example:
- You may not have the funds to support your studies.
- You may not live near the campus of your choice.
- You may have a job which limits your availability to go to daily classes.
- You may have a child or dependant whom you cannot leave alone in order to go to class.
- You may live in a country other than the United States and therefore cannot attend the university of your choice.
- You may be uncertain as to whether being LPN is the right career choice for you or not, and want to gain some more insight into the actual field before spending your money on college tuition.
Thankfully, any of these problems can be resolved through OpenCourseWare (OCW) program.
What Is OpenCourseWare?
An OCW is a free digital publication of educations materials which are on par with those of high quality universities and colleges. It is a sort of self-study method which is done entirely online, so you need not attend classes on a physical campus.
The Benefits And Attributes Of OCW
According to the OCW Consortium, an OCW program:
- is a free and open digital publication of high quality educational materials, organized as courses.
- is available for use and adaptation under an open license, such as a Creative Commons license.
- does not typically provide certification or access to faculty.
The main differences between OCW and distance learning or other web-based methods is that it is free and open. This means that you can access the materials and course content online without actually being registered or enrolled with the college or university. Since you do not have to be registered to access the content, there are no prerequisites either. Some of the content may include group work or laboratory exercises which of course you will not be able to complete as an OCW learner. So in these situations, you can just complete the exercises which you are able to.
What is very important to understand before embarking on this is that you will not receive any credits for these, so you will not be a licensed practical nurse after this training. The purpose of OCW is more about providing the content which will support higher education. However, there are ways for you to earn credits for your hard work, and therefore be eligible to earn your degree. But you will need to attend a university of some sort at some stage in order to write your NCLEX and become a licensed nurse.
The OpenCourseWare Consortium
The OpenCourseWare Consortium is the coordinating body of the OCW movement as it is a community which is in partnership with hundreds of higher education institutions to promote free access to education materials on a global scale.
Their website will allow you to search all possible OCW courses from all the members, and these even include universities from around the world such as Taiwan, the Netherlands, Spain and South Africa.
How To Earn Credits From Free OCW Courses
Just because these courses do not award real credit does not mean that it won’t help you in obtaining your degree and becoming an LPN. There are two options for you, namely, passing a College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam, and preparing a portfolio via Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).
The College Level Examination Program offers a compilation of 33 tests, and you are able to choose the tests that will correspond with the prerequisites for the nursing school, university, or college which you intend to obtain your degree at. Currently there are five categories in which the tests are offered. These are:
- History and Social Sciences
- Composition and Literature
- Science and Mathematics
- World Languages
Completing your Associate’s Degree in order to become an LPN may take two years. However, with your LPN training online via OCW, and passing the corresponding CLEP tests, you may be able to cut some of your classroom hours, and you could then be a working LPN in maybe a year and half, or even shorter.
In order to write your CLEP tests you must first do the following:
- Ensure that the college you will be attending in the future accepts CLEP credits: The vast majority of colleges will accept these, but make absolutely sure of this. Also find out how much credit they will offer for each exam; these credits can equate to anything from three to twelve college hours.
- Decide which CLEP tests will benefit your future study: Some colleges may require that you have some formal psychology training, for example, so you could write the “Introductory Psychology” test which is under the category of “History and Social Sciences”.
- Find a testing centre near you: There are over one thousand centers in the United States, so you are bound to find one nearby.
- Register for your exam, pay the small fee of $77, and then write and pass your exam.
Prior Learning Assessment
PLA can be used to describe and recognize knowledge that you have acquired outside of the traditional academic environment, such as through OCW. Your knowledge will then be evaluated and assessed for college credit.
Colleges That Offer LPN Training Online Through OCW
Nursing Fundamentals At Kaplan University
Kaplan University is one of the top nursing universities and is regarded with a high esteem. This course will introduce you to the fundamentals of nursing and wellness.
This course is comprised of ten units, and you will not need to spend any money on additional reading material.
The course outline is as follows:
- Introduction—Role of the Nurse, Communication, Teaching, and Learning: This covers the role of nurses and other health care staff members in delivering care in an appropriate manner in terms of the age group of the patient.
- Introduction—Documentation and Reporting, Critical Thinking and Nursing Judgment, Legal and Professional Issues: This covers the professional and legal regulations of nursing practice, and how to make clinical decisions and judgments when delivering care.
- The Nursing Process—Problem Solving and Decision Making: This covers and integration of knowledge of how to assess, diagnose, plan, implement, and evaluate nursing care for patients who have different health care needs.
- Protective Systems and Functions: This covers the protective systems and functions, and how they relate to skin integrity, sensory alterations, and nutritional status.
- Oxygenation: This covers the common lifestyle, environmental, developmental, and physiological factors which affect respiration, as well as contributing pathologies.
- Mobility: This covers the role of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems in the physiology of movement. It also teaches you about using safe patient handling and movement techniques which will be applied when positioning, moving, lifting, and ambulating patients.
- Growth and Development: This covers a study of the factors that assist the progress of, or hinder the normal growth and development of individuals at each stage of life. You will also learn the physical and psychosocial health concerns of infants, children, adolescents, and adults.
- Nutrition and Elimination: This unit covers the factors which affect urinary elimination and problems of bowel elimination that can be managed with nursing care; this includes constipation, diarrhea, and bowel incontinence.
- Special Senses: This covers the etiologies (causes or origins of a disease) and perceptual, cognitive, and emotional responses to sensory deprivation and sensory overload.
- Self-Concept, Self-Esteem, and Sexuality: This last unit covers male and female reproductive anatomy and physiology, as well as the stressors that affect self-concept, self-esteem, and sexuality.
The reading material will all be provided for you on the website, and you will have short multiple choice tests at the end of these units in order to test yourself and the knowledge learned.
Professional Issues in Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston, also known as UMass Boston, is another highly recommended college, which is also fully accredited in all its sectors.
This OCW course is actually part of the online registered nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science (BS) course, but do not let this deter you, you can still benefit greatly from this course even without prior nursing education. You will also find that the learning objectives of this course are very similar to those of LPN courses.
Some topics included in the course are:
- nursing practice and ethical dilemmas
- nursing practice and legal issues
- management theory, leadership theory and health care cost management
- critical thinking
- reading and writing skills for RNs
- nursing history
- nursing standards of practice
This course will prove to be especially helpful if you are interested in a leadership role as an RN in the future.
This course is comprised of 13 units, and assignments are posted on the website on a weekly basis. PowerPoint slide presentations are also available, and will also be posted weekly in conjunction with the assignments. Take note, you will need a current version of Adobe Flash Player in order to view these presentations. These slides will be posted on the readings page, along with a list of suggested reading material including textbooks and journal articles. You will also find a link to Reference Point software which will be needed when documenting research material using the American Psychological Association (APA) style.
Health Assessment And Promotion At The University Of Massachusetts Boston
UMass also offers another OCW course; this one focuses on the different aspects of patient health assessment, such as taking patient histories, conducting patient interviews and performing physical assessments. You will find on the site that there are two textbooks and other additional reading materials that are recommended. Although these readings are suggested and not mandatory, you will gain some more insight if you do actually go buy the books and follow them.
Medical Terminology And Abbreviations At The University Of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Gillings School Of Global Public Health
This school has a great reputation as it has been named the top public school of public health in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report in 2012. It also ranked second among all public health schools, and many of the courses have been recognized as the best in the United States.
This course includes the following topics:
- understanding medical charts and patient notes.
- how to recognize clinical terms associated with x-rays, lab results and physical examinations.
It is a smaller and shorter tutorial, and so will be worth fewer college credits than the courses named above; nevertheless, you will gain some vital LPN training online.
For this tutorial, you will need to register online (this is free) in order to gain access to the material. Said material includes a slide show presentation as well as an accompanying audio presentation, which you may find helps you to soak up the information better if you are using more than just your sight.
As has been demonstrated, you can benefit greatly from LPN training online if you want to make your way into the LPN industry. Just remember to later choose an LPN university which will accept these credits via PLA or CLEP tests. If you are an LPN already, these OCW programs can serve as refresher courses.