How to Pick a Nursing Program in Dripping Springs Texas
Locating the best nursing program near Dripping Springs TX may feel like a complicated endeavor, 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 must acquire the proper education and training to become licensed. So it is essential that you study and measure the qualifications of each school you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their selection solely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house is no doubt not the most ideal way to choose a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to look into before you decide where to enroll in classes. But before we examine that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Duties
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Dripping Springs TX healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic function is to support doctors in the treatment of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A portion of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Managing care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Keeping 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 deliver primary or specialty care services in Dripping Springs TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Dripping Springs TX. And in order to become an RN, a student must enroll in an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in just 2 years, or advance to achieve 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 typically a two year program made available 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 obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more comprehensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Texas colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be allowed to complete an accelerated program based on their prior training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program might wish 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 typically a two year program after attaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Dripping Springs TX or focus on administration, management or teaching.
When 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) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing fluctuate from state to state, so be sure to contact the Texas board of nursing for any state requirements.
There are generally two scholastic accreditations available that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN in Dripping Springs TX. The one that can be concluded in the shortest amount of time, commonly about 12 months, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to attain 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, aside from offering a higher credential and more comprehensive training, are that they provide more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type of credential you pursue, it should be Texas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or some other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Dripping Springs TX area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 minimum period of training required and that each state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for Texas to make sure that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and earn a nursing degree in Texas. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Dripping Springs TX home, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online nursing school will make it easier to fit a degree into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges within Texas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Dripping Springs TX 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 prior to making your final decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify 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 Dripping Springs TX.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is required on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) along with graduation from an accredited school. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Dripping Springs TX area school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum licensing standards for Texas or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 contact some regional Dripping Springs 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 programs 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Dripping Springs TX healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all Dripping Springs TX area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN School near Dripping Springs TX
Picking the ideal registered nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, 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 both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Dripping Springs TX.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When prepping to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to pick nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining exclusively to nursing, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you would like to address them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
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