How to Select a Nursing College in South Houston Texas
Selecting the right nursing program near South Houston TX may feel like a challenging endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the appropriate education and training to become licensed. So it is critically important that you study and evaluate the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your final selection. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision exclusively on the cost of tuition and the nearness of the school. Picking the least costly program or the one that is local to your home is probably not the best way to pick a nursing program. There are various essential additional aspects to explore before you decide where to attend classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first review what the function of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, along with the nursing degree options that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the South Houston TX medical delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise along with where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and normally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in South Houston TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse in South Houston TX. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can acquire a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is usually a 2 year program offered by Texas community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and subsequently earn 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 eligible 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 commonly a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program provides specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in South Houston TX or focus on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has obtained one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to get in touch with the Texas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Programs
There are generally two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in South Houston TX. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time period, commonly about 1 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 option and generally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, aside from offering a higher credential and more in-depth instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you seek, 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 warrants 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 some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the South Houston TX area. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Texas to make sure that the training course is state certified. 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 colleges online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a nursing degree in Texas. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your South Houston TX home, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of 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 household obligations 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.
Things to Ask Nurse Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Texas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school relative to South Houston TX as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.
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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools near South Houston TX.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses differ from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the South Houston TX area school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Texas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Texas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some nearby South Houston 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 finish 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the South Houston TX healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all South Houston TX area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Check if the schools have associations with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near South Houston TX
Enrolling in the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most important phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you need to consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you pick an RN college and a degree program that are each 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 choose 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 practicing nurse in South Houston TX.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask nursing prospects is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to nursing, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must organize several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
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