How to Find the Right Nursing Program in Garland Texas
Searching for the best nursing program near Garland TX may feel like a challenging endeavor, particularly if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and determine the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive program or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the most ideal way to pick a nursing program. There are a number of crucial additional things to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first look at what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Garland TX medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or specialization in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Garland TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees available to become a registered nurse in Garland TX. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to attain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program offered by Texas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 want to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Garland TX or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has acquired 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. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Texas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Garland TX. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides offering a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you pursue, it should be Texas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the course of study adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Garland TX area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it’s important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with 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 certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and earn a nursing degree in Texas. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Garland TX home, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Texas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school relative to Garland TX and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you obtain a quality education, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Garland TX.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) together with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Garland TX area school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Texas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Texas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Garland TX healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN schools you are considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Garland TX medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Garland TX area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Garland TX
Deciding on the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is important that you select an RN college and a degree program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Garland TX.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Nurse?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters frequently ask nursing prospects is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several approaches about how you want to answer them. Given that there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an exceptional nurse and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but jot down several ideas and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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