How to Choose a Nursing Program in Knox City Texas
Selecting the best nursing school near Knox City TX may seem like a complicated undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to look for in a good degree program. As you may presently know, in order 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 program you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. Unfortunately, too many potential students base their determination entirely on the price of tuition and the nearness of the school. Selecting the least costly school or the one that is local to your residence is no doubt not the most reliable way to select a nursing program. There are a number of important additional aspects to explore before you make a decision where to attend classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our health system, as well as the nursing degree choices that are offered.
Registered Nurse Job Functions
Registered nurses are the most significant occupation in the Knox City TX healthcare delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their primary function is to aid doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the specific duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. A few of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Overseeing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more advanced 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 in Knox City TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are several degree options to choose from to become a registered nurse in Knox City TX. And in order 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 obtain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some brief explanations of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a two year program made available by Texas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in healthcare centers such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many utilize the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) supplies more extensive training than the ADN. It is usually 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 job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is commonly a 2 year program after achieving the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for example to become a nurse practitioner in Knox City TX or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
Once a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. Various other requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so make sure to get in touch with the Texas board of nursing for any state mandates.
LVN and LPN Courses
There are essentially two scholastic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Knox City TX. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, typically about 1 year, 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 alternative and commonly require 2 years to finish. The benefit of Associate Degrees, in addition to offering a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish 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 warrants that the core curriculum adequately prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Knox City TX area. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Texas to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Enrolling in nursing colleges online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and earn a nursing degree in Texas. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Knox City TX home, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online degree programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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 job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online nursing training program will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether 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 realize, there are a large number of nursing schools and colleges throughout Texas and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school relative to Knox City TX and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools near Knox City 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 completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s essential that the Knox City TX area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Texas or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Texas school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Knox City 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 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 Knox City TX healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Knox City TX area nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN Program near Knox City TX
Choosing the right registered nursing degree program is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a practicing nurse in Knox City TX.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Nurse?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to select nursing as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a registered nurse, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to nursing, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must organize several approaches about how you want to respond to them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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