How to Select a Nursing Program in Merkel Texas
Locating the right nursing program near Merkel TX may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you need to receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you study and measure the qualifications of each college you are contemplating before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many potential students base their selection solely on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly school or the one that is local to your home is probably not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are many important additional considerations to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first look at what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Merkel TX medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, such as hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general job is to help doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the specific duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Taking care of health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more complex job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Merkel TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Merkel TX. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to earn a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a two year program offered by Texas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) offers more expansive training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Texas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may want 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 receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Merkel TX or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has received one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Texas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LPN and LVN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic credentials available that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Merkel TX. The one that may be finished in the shortest amount of time, usually about one year, is the certificate or diploma program. The next alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more extensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it needs to be Texas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC guarantees that the course of study effectively 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 obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Merkel TX area. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise 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 education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Classes
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a nursing degree in Texas. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Merkel TX home, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it easier to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have chosen which nursing degree to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Texas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school relative to Merkel TX along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first 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 selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other schools.
Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you get an excellent education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools near Merkel TX.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Merkel TX area school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum licensing standards for Texas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Texas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some nearby Merkel 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Merkel TX medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all Merkel 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 too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN College near Merkel TX
Enrolling in the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in 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 medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Merkel TX.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to pick nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a registered nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to nursing, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must ready some ideas about how you would like to answer 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 preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional nurse and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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