How to Choose a Nursing School in Odessa Texas
Choosing the best nursing college near Odessa TX may feel like a formidable undertaking, especially if you aren’t sure what to search for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, for you to practice as a registered nurse, you must obtain the necessary education and training in order to become licensed. So it is vitally important that you research and assess the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your final choice. The fact is, too many potential students base their selection entirely on the cost of tuition and the proximity of the school. Deciding on the least costly college or the one that is local to your home is most likely not the best way to select a nursing program. There are several crucial additional considerations to check out before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we explore that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical care system, together with the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Activities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the Odessa TX medical delivery system. RNs practice in a large number of different medical environments, including hospitals, family practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their basic job is to assist doctors in the care of their patients. However, the particular duties of a registered nurse will depend on their job or specialization along with where they work. A few of the functions of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Monitoring patients
- Conducting physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Supervising LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Instructing patients and their families
- Managing health records and charts
Nurses with a more advanced degree may have more complex job duties and accountabilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), for instance, must hold a Master’s Degree and typically work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services in Odessa TX, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat routine illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degree Options
There are multiple degrees to choose from to become a registered nurse in Odessa 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 attain a graduate degree for a total of six years. Following are some short descriptions of the nursing degrees that are offered.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is normally a 2 year program made available by Texas community colleges. It prepares graduates for an entry level job in nursing in medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ 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 comprehensive training than the ADN. It is commonly 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 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 acquiring the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner in Odessa TX or focus on administration, management or teaching.
After 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) in order to become licensed. Additional requirements for licensing vary from state to state, so be sure to check with the Texas board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN and LVN Courses
There are essentially two scholastic credentials available that provide education to become either an LPN or an LVN in Odessa TX. The one that may be concluded in the shortest time frame, generally about twelve months, is the certificate or diploma program. The 2nd alternative is to attain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and usually require 2 years to finish. The advantage of Associate Degrees, in addition to providing a higher credential and more in-depth training, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. Regardless of the type 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 effectively 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 need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school in the Odessa TX area. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 period of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for Texas to make sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to 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.
Nursing Online Classes
Enrolling in nursing schools online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a nursing degree in Texas. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online in your Odessa TX home, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online degree programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. 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. So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps 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 selected which nursing degree to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many nursing schools and colleges throughout Texas and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school relative to Odessa TX as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools near Odessa TX.
Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses differ 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 essential that the Odessa TX area school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Texas or the state where you will be practicing.
Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Texas school licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some local Odessa 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 finish 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Odessa TX healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a registered nurse is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all Odessa TX area nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for licensing as well. Ask if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Select the Right RN Course near Odessa TX
Picking the ideal registered nursing school is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is important that you pick an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a licensed RN in Odessa TX.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Registered Nurse?When preparing to interview for a nursing position, it's helpful to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask nursing applicants is "What drove you to select nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a RN, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to nursing, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare some approaches about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an excellent nurse and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
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