How to Choose a Nursing Program near Walnut Springs Texas
Selecting the best nursing program near Walnut Springs TX may seem like a complicated project, especially if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order to practice as a registered nurse, you must receive the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and assess the qualifications of each college you are thinking about before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Unfortunately, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly school or the one that is nearest to your house is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional things to check out before you decide where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first go over what the job of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, as well as the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the medical care delivery system. RNs practice in many different medical settings, namely Walnut Springs TX hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic duty is to assist doctors in the treatment of their patients. Having said that, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the duties of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Managing care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a higher degree may have more high level job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat common illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options available to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can receive a qualifying degree in just two years, or advance to attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered in the Walnut Springs TX area.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level job in nursing in healthcare centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and later obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is usually a 4 year program offered at colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be eligible to complete an accelerated program based on their prior 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is usually a 2 year program after receiving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once 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) to become licensed. Other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to check with the Texas board of nursing for any state mandates.
There are principally two scholastic credentials available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that can be concluded in the shortest period of time, generally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The other alternative is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and typically require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more comprehensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the type of credential you seek, it should 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 syllabus 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at Walnut Springs TX area community colleges or at vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for Texas or the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.
Nursing Online Degrees
Enrolling in nursing programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to get training and attain a nursing degree. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some Walnut Springs TX students. Pertaining to tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily 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. So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Nursing Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing degree to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus near Walnut Springs TX or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many nursing schools and colleges within Texas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Walnut Springs TX for non-accredited schools.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing requirements for registered nurses vary 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Texas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, check with the Texas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Walnut Springs 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Walnut Springs TX medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with Walnut Springs TX hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enrolling in a Nursing School near Walnut Springs TX?
Perhaps you have already made your decision to attend a Nursing Program in the greater Walnut Springs Texas area. If that is the case, then the following information may prove to be both educational and useful regarding the location of your future Alma Mater.
Walnut Springs, Texas
As of the census of 2000, there were 755 people, 262 households, and 190 families residing in the city. The population density was 566.4 people per square mile (219.2/km²). There were 312 housing units at an average density of 234.1/sq mi (90.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.95% White, 1.32% Native American, 8.08% from other races, and 2.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 28.08% of the population.
There were 262 households out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.1% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.88 and the average family size was 3.46.
In the city, the population was spread out with 33.0% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 25.0% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 103.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.4 males.
Select the Right Nursing College near Walnut Springs TX
Deciding on the right nursing degree program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you select a nursing school and a degree program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Walnut Springs TX.
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