How to Find the Right Nursing School in Albany Texas
Choosing the best nursing school near Albany TX may seem like a challenging project, particularly if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Picking the least costly college or the one that is nearest to your house is undoubtedly not the best way to choose a nursing program. There are several key additional factors to investigate before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first go over what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Albany TX medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general role is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Maintaining health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for example, must hold a Master’s Degree and often work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Albany TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
There are multiple degrees offered to become a registered nurse in Albany TX. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program made available by Texas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately attain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at Texas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their past training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to advance to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the employment market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Albany TX or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to contact the Texas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Albany TX. The one that may be completed in the shortest amount of time, commonly about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Texas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the syllabus adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Albany TX area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for Texas to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Attending nursing colleges online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Texas. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Albany TX home, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Texas and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school relative to Albany TX as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a premium education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Albany TX.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Albany TX area school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum licensing requirements for Texas or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Texas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some nearby Albany TX healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Albany TX medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Albany TX area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School near Albany TX
Enrolling in the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Albany TX.
Why Did You Decide to Be an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's advantageous to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should organize a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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