How to Select a Nursing School in Linden Texas
Locating the right nursing school near Linden TX may feel like a difficult project, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Going with the least costly college or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are a number of important additional factors to explore before you determine 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, together with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most extensive occupation in the Linden TX medical care delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. Some of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Linden TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Linden 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 just two years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a two year program offered by Texas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly a four year program offered at Texas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may wish to progress 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 provides specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Linden TX or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
When a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to contact the Texas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two academic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Linden TX. The one that can be completed in the shortest time period, typically about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma course. The other alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are more comprehensive in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The benefit of Associate Degrees, aside from supplying a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it needs to be Texas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Linden TX area. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for Texas to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Texas. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online in your Linden TX home, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. 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 job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Texas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school relative to Linden TX as well as 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 compares to the field.
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. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools near Linden TX.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses are different from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required 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 performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Linden TX area school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Texas or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Texas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some local Linden TX healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Linden TX medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Linden TX area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN School near Linden TX
Enrolling in the right registered nursing school is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Linden TX.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When preparing to interview for a nursing job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing candidates is "What made you decide on nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a nurse, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to ready several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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