How to Select a Nursing College in Littlefield Texas
Locating the best nursing college near Littlefield TX may seem like a formidable undertaking, particularly if you don’t know what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already know, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is critically important that you research and determine the qualifications of each program you are considering before enrolling in your ultimate choice. The fact is, too many prospective students base their determination solely on the price of tuition and the distance of the school. Deciding on the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to select a nursing program. There are various crucial additional factors to investigate before you make a decision where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first discuss what the function of a registered nurse is in our healthcare system, along with the nursing degree options that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the largest occupation in the Littlefield TX medical delivery system. RNs practice in numerous different medical environments, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic role 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 along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Providing medications
- Overseeing patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Overseeing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Educating 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 typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can provide primary or specialty care services in Littlefield TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option available to become a registered nurse in Littlefield TX. And in order to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can earn a qualifying degree in just two years, or continue on to achieve a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short summaries of the nursing degrees that are available.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is commonly a 2 year program offered by Texas community colleges. It preps graduates for an entry level position in nursing in medical centers including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many use the ADN as an entry into nursing and afterwards obtain a more advanced degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more in depth training than the ADN. It is generally a four year program offered at Texas 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 might 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 two year program after acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Littlefield TX or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, she or he must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) so as to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Texas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LVN and LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are essentially two academic credentials offered that provide training to become either an LPN or an LVN in Littlefield TX. The one that may be completed in the shortest period of time, generally about one year, is the certificate or diploma course. The next option is to earn a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma option and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with providing 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 kind of credential you pursue, it needs to be Texas approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or another national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the syllabus properly prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that the majority of graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Littlefield TX area. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it’s necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Texas to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Nursing Online Classes
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more popular way to get training and acquire a nursing degree in Texas. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online in your Littlefield TX home, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your active schedule.
What to Ask Nurse Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist 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 necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school relative to Littlefield TX along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a premium education, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools near Littlefield TX.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) in addition to graduation from an accredited school. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s imperative that the Littlefield TX area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum licensing standards for Texas or the state where you will be working.
Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Texas school licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Littlefield 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 superb reputation within the Littlefield TX healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all Littlefield TX area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with regional hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Littlefield TX
Choosing the right registered nursing college is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you choose an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed registered nurse in Littlefield TX.
Why Did You Decide to Become an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing job, it's helpful to consider questions you may be asked. One of the things that interviewers frequently ask nursing prospects is "What drove you to decide on nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a nurse, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many 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 talents you have that make you an excellent nurse and the leading choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
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