How To Become A Nurse In Texas

You have decided you want to become a nurse but do not know where to start. If you have never worked in the medical field, before you invest in your training and education only to find out it is not for you, you may want to shadow a nurse for a day, or even become a nursing assistant, which requires as little as six weeks of training. If you are already working in the medical field and want to be able to do more, becoming a nurse is the right choice. When going to nursing school you have options as to how far you want to pursue your education to attain different levels of nursing skill. If you have limited time or finances, you may want to attend your local community college or vocational school and study to be an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) which is also the same as and LPN (Licensed Practicing Nurse) in different parts of the country. This allows you to attain a nursing license and be able to provide basic care. You also have the choice of becoming an RN (Registered Nurse) or APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) which can require anywhere from two to four years of college education. Both the RN and APRN provide you the opportunity to provide higher levels of care, as well as the opportunity to go into Nursing Management or Supervisor as well. No matter how much time you plan to invest in school up front, you want to make sure that any school you are interested in is accredited with the Texas Board of Nursing. You can contact them online or directly by mail or phone and request a list of accredited schools in your state. The following will provide you more information on becoming a nurse in Texas, as well as some of the top schools for nursing in the state.

LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse)

An LVN or LPN as it is called in some states, usually requires between 12 and 18 months of training. Obviously, if you are able to attend school full time you will complete it sooner than if you can only attend part time. You can usually enroll in an LVN training course at your local community college or vocational school. As nursing has always been a popular field, you may be put on a waiting list to take your actual core nursing classes, but do your best to get all of your pre-requisites out of the way while you are waiting. You want to make sure that whatever training you enroll in, the school is accredited by the Texas Board of Nursing. Once you successfully complete your training, you are then able to take the State of Texas exam for your LVN license. The test is called the NCLEX-PN or National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses. While you may be considered an LVN in the State of Texas, it is the same level as an LPN, which is the more commonly, used term for nurses with only practical training. The exam consists of four sections, Safe Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychological Integrity and Physiological Integrity. You will be tested on the level of the skills and knowledge you have obtained. In order to pass, you must pass all segments of the exam successfully.

Gaining employment as an LVN provides you with nursing experience under a limited scope of practice, or care that you are legally allowed to provide. Each State Nursing Board has their own definitions of scope of practice for LVN/LPNs, and they must be followed. The one common factor is that and LVN/LPN cannot pass medications or provide IV therapy without additional training offered by the state. Depending on the facility where you gain employment, they may provide funding for you to attain these skills. Even though the level of care for an LVN/LPN is very restricted, it gives you an opportunity to see exactly what the nursing field is like and help you decide if you want to attain a higher degree, which means a larger scope of practice.

RN (Registered Nurse) or APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse)

If you are already and LVN/LPN or even a nursing assistant and you know that nursing is what you want to do, you can enroll in school to become an RN or APRN. In the State of Texas, an RN is a registered nurse and an APRN is an advanced practice registered nurse. The difference between the two is obviously the level of education. An RN usually has an associate degree in nursing, where an APRN usually has a bachelors or master’s degree in nursing. No matter what level you choose, you again want to inquire as to the accreditation of the particular school you are interested in with the Texas Board of Nursing. They will be able to provide you a list of schools in the state that are accredited in all levels of nursing education. Becoming an RN or APRN will require at a minimum, two years of college education and for an APRN anywhere from four years or more. When searching for a nursing school you may also want to inquire if any of the large hospitals in your area have Schools of Nursing. While they are sometimes difficult to get in because of the small amount of students in each class, it provides you with a unique nursing education that occurs in a medical setting. There is much easier access to training and situations that may be a part of your nursing career. No matter where you attain your education, much like the LVN/LPN you will be required to take a state exam to get your official nursing license. The test for and RN or APRN is called the NCLEX-RN or National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nursing. The test consists of the same four topics as the exam for LVN/LPNs mentioned above, but the questions are at a much higher education level for RNs.

Becoming an RN or APRN provides you with a much larger scope of practice that you would have as an LVN/LPN. You will be required to use your nursing judgment to make decisions regarding patient care and be responsible for supervising LVN/LPNs in most cases. They can assess, plan and carry out many levels of patient care.

Becoming an RN or APRN – Associate’s versus Bachelor’s degrees

Even becoming an RN has different levels of education, which lead to different levels of care you are able to give. Attaining an Associate’s Degree will provide you with the education to be a general RN. This means that you are equally education in all fields of medicine and are able to work in any one of them with equal skills. Becoming an APRN with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree allows you to not only specialize in a specific field of nursing such as Psychiatry or Oncology, but can also give you the opportunity to go into the field of nursing management instead of constant patient care roles. The difference between the two comes down to the amount of education you want to attain and if you are happy with general nursing or want to specialize in a specific field.

All levels of nursing require you to keep up to date on your skills and knowledge. This is done through short training sessions called Continuing Education (CE) that you receive credits for. You must complete a certain number of CE credits per year in order to renew your nursing license every two years. Most employers offer them on site so you can take them at your convenience, or you can take them online through various CE sites.

Nursing Schools in Texas

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While the LPN program is offered at a majority of technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges in Texas, the following schools are based on those attending for an RN or APRN degree.

Nursing School Locations

Baylor University
Louise Herrington School of Nursing
3700 Worth Street
Dallas, Texas 75246
Phone: 214-820-3361

East Texas Baptist University
One Tiger Drive
Marshall, TX 75670
Phone: 903-923-2000

Texas A&M
Health Sciences Center
8447 State Highway 47
Bryan, TX 77807-3260
Phone: (979) 436-0110

University of Texas at Arlington
College of Nursing
411 S. Nedderman Drive
Box 19407
Arlington, Texas 76019-0407
Phone: (817)272-2776

Lamar University
JoAnne Gay Dishman Department of Nursing
4400 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Post Office Box 10081
Beaumont, Texas 77710
Phone: (409)880-8868

Ursuline College Breen School of Nursing
2550 Lander Road
Pepper Pike, OH 44124
Phone Number: (440) 449-4203

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