How to Select a Nursing College in Stephenville Texas
Selecting the best nursing college near Stephenville TX may feel like a formidable endeavor, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate selection. The fact is, too many prospective students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your home is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of key additional factors to look into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first discuss what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical system, along with the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Stephenville TX medical care delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, namely hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary duty is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. However, the exact duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise in addition to where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing 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 complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and generally work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can administer primary or specialty care services in Stephenville TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option offered to become a registered nurse in Stephenville TX. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or continue on to obtain a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some short descriptions 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 prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later earn a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more expansive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Texas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is normally a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Stephenville TX or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has acquired 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 don’t forget to contact the Texas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Training
There are generally two scholastic credentials offered that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Stephenville TX. The one that can be concluded in the shortest time frame, commonly about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second choice is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and normally require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, besides providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the kind of credential you seek, it should 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 core curriculum properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Stephenville TX area. The duration of the training 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 mandated to receive 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 minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it’s important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for Texas to make certain 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 additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Texas. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online in your Stephenville TX home, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing program will make it easier to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask Nurse Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges throughout Texas and the United States. So it is important to reduce 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 Stephenville TX and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
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 agency. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Stephenville TX.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing criteria for registered nurses are different 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the Stephenville TX area school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Texas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Texas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Stephenville 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Stephenville TX medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all Stephenville TX area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right RN Degree near Stephenville TX
Selecting the ideal registered nursing program is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you choose an RN college and a degree program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Stephenville TX.
Why Did You Choose to Become an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask nursing applicants is "What made you choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating 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 best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
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