Oklahoma - seeking info on psych/correctional nursing

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    Hi, y'all! Signed up today because I was very impressed by this site!

    I'm a former Los Angeles criminal defense attorney (female), who retired to the Tulsa area (rural) in 2003. I'm bored with being retired. I'm a youngish 56, and am interested in pursuing a career in psychiatric nursing. Prison/corrections nursing really appeals to me, but so does the possibility of helping in a private or group home setting. Because of my years in criminal defense, I am very comfortable in corrections settings.

    The plan I've developed so far involves getting my CNA and HHA licenses, finding a psych-related position, then signing up for the 11-month LPN program offered by Indian Capital Vocational which begins next summer.

    I know so little about the psychiatric nursing/correctional nursing fields that I don't even know what's available or where to start asking questions. Could anyone in the area help me out? What prisons and psychiatric hospitals are in Northeastern Oklahoma? What about the private ones? What do they expect as far as training.....will an LPN be enough to get in the door?

    Any and all comments and suggestions would be much appreciated.

    P.S. I've already posted this in the Oklahoma regional section and Psych nursing section.

    P.P.S. I know it will probably sound crazy, but I kind of miss jail/prison. I tell people I used to have a job where I wound up in jail or prison every time I left the house........... Ah, and the aroma of jailhouse cooking......
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

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    Assuming you have a JD degree, why on earth would you want to get an LVN degree? You would want to seek your degree in a BSN program. They have
    fast tracks for people with BS and higher degrees already. Plus, it would improve
    your employment possibilities. You can start by jumping in now and taking your Anatomy and Physiology courses (8 hours) and Microbiology. Nutrition is good too. Assume you already have statistics, etc. That will keep u busy while waiting to apply for BS program.
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    Why get the CNA and HHA? Why not go directly for RN through an ADN or accelerated BSN program?
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    Thanks, katkonk and Multi, for your replies! Since I posted, I have gathered more information. It seems I can get my ADN from Connors State College in Muskogee in the same time it would take to get the LVN, so I've decided to go that route. I visited the vocational school that grants the LPN in my area, and wasn't very impressed....there is a very small faculty, and my gut feeling is not a very rigorous program.

    There are only two places in my area that offer the BSN. One is OU (University of Oklahoma) in Tulsa. They have an accelerated program, but it requires more prerequisites than the Connors program and is a lot more expensive. The commute would also be a killer - I'm about 1-1/2 hours away. I was also informed that the program is VERY competitive.

    The other program is through Northeastern State University and, again, has more prerequisities and costs more money.

    Since these are the only two BSN programs in my area, most of the nurses in this area must have only the ADN. If that's true, the extra effort to get the BSN is probably not going to be worth it. They would also be options if I decided later on to do something that required the BSN.

    The reason for considering the CNA/HHA is because I am so unfamiliar with this field that it might be a good idea to work in it to make sure I can do it. I have done a thorough analysis of my options and the RN is far and away the best opportunity for me. I'm determined to do what it takes to succeed in the field, and am pretty sure I can overcome any obstacles. But what if I just freak out and can't handle it?

    On the other hand, I really do need the time between now and the Spring Semester of the Connors program to take the five pre-requisite courses. Do you think it would be just as effective if I shadowed a couple nurses to see if I can see myself doing what they do in the environment in which they do it? If so, which area would be the best to see?

    THANKS for your help. I'm pretty excited about going back to school and learning about a new field, but am playing devil's advocate here to see if there are any overwhelming roadblocks.
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    There are a few other schools that offer the BSN. One is the University of Tulsa, and Oral Roberts University. Yes, both are private schools with the exorbitant tuition, but there are no waiting lists.

    There's also OSU-Tulsa that offers the BSN. It's a state school and would be on the same tuition level as OU-Tulsa.

    If you have any questions about the Tulsa area, please feel free to PM me.
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    Thanks, BabyRN2Be! I see it's not always wise to believe good-looking but youthful college advisors from competing institutions.

    I would very much like some info about the Tulsa area, but am new to this site and don't know how to PM (didn't see a button on your reply). I see you're on-line, so thought I would just ask some questions here.

    You say there aren't any waiting lists for some of the programs. I have been reading many places that the programs are so competitive, and there are so many applicants, that many qualified people are being turned away from nursing schools. That doesn't seem to be the case in our area......probably not for the entire state of Oklahoma.

    Wages seem to be pretty low in Oklahoma generally, especially the rural areas, but there seem to be lots of jobs available. Is the super-negativity I'm reading (no jobs, no jobs for grads, no slots in nursing school, etc.) perhaps only affecting the urban and/or coastal areas where there are lots of other problems as well? Economic, housing crisis, etc. There seem to be jobs available, AND also plenty of jobs for LVNs, which some are implying might be becoming obsolete.

    I am in a pretty rural area -- out near Tahlequah. I have no feel at all for the need for nurses, opportunities, etc.

    I would be very grateful for any insight you can give me. The entire process of education, job hunting, promotions, etc., is totally different here than it is in Los Angeles.
  9. 0
    Quote from OKEnquirer

    OKEnquirer - I'm glad that I could be of help to you! To use the PM feature, go to my account, a drop down menu will appear, and just click on Private Messages. If there's something that I'm missing as far as questions go, please go ahead and PM me.

    You say there aren't any waiting lists for some of the programs. I have been reading many places that the programs are so competitive, and there are so many applicants, that many qualified people are being turned away from nursing schools. That doesn't seem to be the case in our area......probably not for the entire state of Oklahoma.

    Well, I know that the program at TCC has at least a two year waiting list. Platt College I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. Because there are a lot of people applying, some people go to places like TU and ORU. Despite the (at least) $10,000/semester, people who really want to get into nursing quickly who have the money will go to TU and ORU. Last time I checked, and it's been a while, one of TU's graduating classes had only 50% pass the NCLEX. I wouldn't go to a school, a private school at that, and find out that I'm ill-prepared. I don't know much about ORU's program, but I know it doesn't have a waiting list. Same reason as TU. However, they do require a class or two with beliefs on their denomination, and I KNOW that I would be ticking time bomb in that class. Not that I'm against anything to do with their denomination, but I do have my beliefs and they clash highly with ORU's.

    Unfortunately, there are not a lot of jobs, but probably more compared to other areas. I know that last time I checked, the entire St. Francis/Warren Clinic (including the satellite offices - Muskogee, Owasso, Sand Springs, in fact, all the metro area including Laureate Psych Hospital) only had 40 positions for nurses. And that includes administration, teaching, management, home health, floor nurse positions. I used to get on there and find literally 100's of openings, now there were only 40. St John is building a brand new hospital in Broken Arrow, and they aren't even hiring anyone new. If they are, it's VERY few.

    Wages seem to be pretty low in Oklahoma generally, especially the rural areas, but there seem to be lots of jobs available. Is the super-negativity I'm reading (no jobs, no jobs for grads, no slots in nursing school, etc.) perhaps only affecting the urban and/or coastal areas where there are lots of other problems as well? Economic, housing crisis, etc. There seem to be jobs available, AND also plenty of jobs for LVNs, which some are implying might be becoming obsolete.

    The low wages reflect the cost of living in the area. Also, I'm glad that you were able to locate some jobs. Maybe it's looking up around here. Hey, if you've found a coastal area in Oklahoma, please let me know!! If there is one, it would be Oklahoma's best kept secret. I know you were referring to CA, and I know that there are a glut of nurses out there with no jobs available. I think we do fare a little better in Oklahoma compared to the rest of the nation.

    One last thing, one of the schools I mentioned is not in Tulsa. But they are at the OSU campus. I forgot it's Langston University, not OSU.

    I am in a pretty rural area -- out near Tahlequah. I have no feel at all for the need for nurses, opportunities, etc.

    I would be very grateful for any insight you can give me. The entire process of education, job hunting, promotions, etc., is totally different here than it is in Los Angeles.
    If I can be of any help, please let me know!
  10. 0
    Quote from OKEnquirer
    Wages seem to be pretty low in Oklahoma generally, especially the rural areas, but there seem to be lots of jobs available. Is the super-negativity I'm reading (no jobs, no jobs for grads, no slots in nursing school, etc.) perhaps only affecting the urban and/or coastal areas where there are lots of other problems as well? Economic, housing crisis, etc. There seem to be jobs available, AND also plenty of jobs for LVNs, which some are implying might be becoming obsolete.

    I am in a pretty rural area -- out near Tahlequah. I have no feel at all for the need for nurses, opportunities, etc.

    I would be very grateful for any insight you can give me. The entire process of education, job hunting, promotions, etc., is totally different here than it is in Los Angeles.
    LPN/LVNs are not becoming obsolete. That talk has gone on for ages. What has changed is that LPN/LVNs are increasingly cornered into fewer and fewer practice environments. It used to be that you could see LPN/LVNs in the hospital environment, for example. Now that is pretty uncommon. My employer does not hire LPNs in any capacity - only RNs and a few CNAs. I cannot imagine you being satisfied with an LPN/LVN program and degree when you've experienced the autonomy of working as an attorney.

    Also, it's not negativity you are seeing on the board about lack of jobs. It's people hitting up against brick walls and finding themselves trapped in unemployment after getting their nursing licenses. I had to move hundreds of miles to get a job. Same for many of my classmates who graduated in 2009. Some are still unemployed. Please be careful to not let your excitement place rose-colored glasses on your perspective. It's great, though, if your area is not as affected by nursing unemployment.

    Good luck!
  11. 0
    Langston University in Tulsa also offers a BSN. It's state run and wayyyy cheaper than Oral Roberts and University of Tulsa.


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