New to Forum, need some advice on nursing schools in Texas

  1. Hi Everyone, My name is Sonseria and I just joined the forum. I have been looking over the forums off and on for a few weeks now and finally decided to join in.
    I live in Houston and I am currently enrolled at the Willowchase branch of Lone Star Community college. I have some questions about which schools have the best nursing programs and what the opinions are between an associates RN vs a four year university program? I had considered enrolling for the associates of nursing program at Lone Star, but I am missing a few of the prereq. courses in order to apply this summer so that would push me back till next summer to be able to apply. So I am thinking about going back to my original plan of getting my pre req's out of the way for the bachelors program at the University of Texas Houston. As far as time goes I would have my pre req courses done in the same amount of time that it would take me to get ready to apply for the associates program. I could have the upper lvl courses done in the same amount of time that I would have the associates. So there in lies the conflict of do you get the associates so you can get your rn and start working or build that foundation of having a bachelors degree?
    Also do any of you know much about the associates program at Lone Star or the associates program at Angelina college either?
    I am really interested in the masters program at Penn State as well, which is one of the reasons I considered the nursing program at UT. I am interested in both Pediatric Oncology and NICU. Do any of you have advice in either field? Is one field easier to break into over another? Do you need a masters to work in either area or to become certified? Are there any masters programs here in Texas for either field? I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that Penn State has the only Pediatric Oncology masters program, but I'm sure there must be other programs for NICU.
    At this rate I am wanting to make sure that I make the best decision. I am a 29 yo wife and mother of a 1 yo little girl, so this is really my big chance to go back to school and make a good career choice, so I figured nursing would be a great way to help others and myself and family as well. I would really appreciate any advice that any of you would have on the local schools and the programs here in Texas. Thanks so much for your time! :spin:
  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   HouTx
    Hi Sonseria,

    What a lovely name! Seems like you really have your hands full right now. I'm glad you chose nursing.

    I would advise you to slow down and take it one step at a time. You have mapped out all the advantages and disadvantes, time lines, etc very well. What you haven't taken in to consideration is the competitive nature of admissions right now. There is a good chance that you may not be accepted to the program of your choice exactly when you want it. So you probably need to be prepared with a couple of alternative scenarios and try to remain flexible. I received my MSN from UT-Houston - it's a great school.

    I also applaud your ultimate goal of obtaining an MSN. Before you set your heart on just one clinical area you need to become more familiar with those environments. Pediatric oncology is definitely not for everyone - VERY heavy emotional burdens on a continuous basis. As a mother, I found that I absolutely could not cope with seriously ill or terminally ill kiddos. No way - no how. I did a stint in NICU and found it to be too ethically ambiguous for me. You certainly don't need an MSN to move into a specialty nursing area. Nurses in Houston have many options - lots of specialty areas to choose from that may not be found in other places.

    Good luck! Keep us posted on your progress.
  4. by   OpheliasWings
    Hi! Thanks so much for your reply, and for your lovely compliment as well.
    Oh definitly! I am going to school full time and raising a toddler so it's a lot of work. Luckily my husband is very supportive and helps me any way he can which is immeasurable.
    I really appreciate the advice. I know I've been pulling my hair out worrying about which direction to go in as far as my education goes.:thnkg: I really have my heart set on getting a masters degree so that's the main reason I've been looking at the larger universities for their bachelors programs so that I will have the ability to get my masters.
    It does concern me, like you were saying, about the competetive nature of the nursing field, especially with the small nbrs of teachers and available spaces in the courses. Would you say that it is more or less competative in a 4 year university setting vs an associates program through a community college like LoneStar? I know that they have the partnership university program with Texas A&M Prairie View where you can get your bachelors and take the classes at the LoneStar campus, which is really nice. Haven't been able to find any reviews about the University Center, but I have read that the nursing program at A&M is pretty disorganized, so I don't really know. The thing is too is that the univesities all have different pre reqs for their nursing programs so it makes it hard to try to spread your choices out among them and have all of the courses you need to apply without having to go out of your way to take a bunch of extra courses. With that being said I had considered the Lone Star program through A&M because you have the ability to apply for all of the LoneStar locations and hopefully you could get in one of the programs then transfer to A&M for the remainder of the bachelors program.
    As far as the actual area that I want to go into it's definitly pediatrics. I was sick a lot as a kid and spent ALOT of time in the children's hospitals, so I know first hand that it helps that have a kind and caring nurse. Also my best friends mother has been working at St. Jude hospital for almost 20 years so I have had a few opportunities to visit the hospital, and it's heartbreaking but also inspiring. Also being a mom I can definitly understand your perspective. It's one of the things that has made me ebb and flow as far as oncology goes. I wonder if that sort of strain would trickle over into my life and my relationship with my daughter. But at the same time I feel every parent has the right to spend their life with their children, which is one of my driving force behind wanting to go into pediatrics.
    I do have a question in regards to your experience with NICU, not to sound uninformed, but what do you mean by "too ethically ambiguous "? I really appreciate your time and thanks so much for your reply.

    Take Care.

  5. by   earthcrosser
    It is much different doing clinical rotations - I would not completely write off other areas of nursing until you have worked in them, even adult nursing specialties. I never imagined being a NICU nurse prior to nursing school, but now, I don't think I'd want to be anything but that. I mean, you may wind up doing Pedi Oncology or NICU, but you never know. NICU is a competitive area of nursing now, partially because people want to work in it without understanding what it is all about and mainly because it is an amazing, but very challenging, area to work in.

    You can work in NICU with a LVN license - MSN is not a prerequisite. It may also be a good idea to work a bit before getting your masters - most programs want a year to eighteen months out in the field before starting a masters program. It's great to have the goal of master's - but it's important to take it one step a at a time (while still having a general idea of future goals) But at least Houston has tons of great schools around to get a degree in Nursing. It's going to be competitive to get in anywhere that's a good school, basically - ADN or BSN. There are so many pre-nursing students and not enough slots for them to go. You are going to need to apply to more than one school and do very well in your science courses.