The career opportunities for nurses seem almost endless. After all, the United States has a nursing shortage, so in-demand nurses can expect substantial salaries. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nurses made an average of $75,330 in 2020. What’s more, the field is expected to grow 7% over the next ten years, which is higher than the national average.
However, nurses with at least a BSN over an associate’s degree have many advantages and may have more job options. For example, nurses with a BSN or MSN can provide the same level of patient care as those with just an associate’s degree, but they also have flexible options to go into administration or even public health education.
Today’s nurses can work in a variety of settings. Nurses can work in health care, health education, or even private home health. Furthermore, they can find employment with hospitals and major medical treatment centers to private health practices, and even health care facilities that meet specialized needs. Moreover, they must be able to work independently but also with teams of other healthcare providers.
Therefore, it’s essential to choose the right school for a nursing education, and Texas has several top-ranked schools, based on their appearance in the U.S. News and World Reports Best Nursing Schools list. In the event of a tie on the U.S. News list, the editorial team at College Gazette judges the tiebreaker for this article. If a school is unranked by US News, the College Gazette team will rank it for this article.
10. Lamar University Joanne Gay Dishman School of Nursing (Beaumont, TX)
The Joanne Gay Dishman School of Nursing at Lamar University offers degrees in nursing, nursing education, and nursing administration at the bachelor’s and master’s levels. It is rated among the top 200 nursing programs in the country. Although the nursing program is offered on the Beaumont campus, the other programs are online.
Students gain extensive hands-on experience in the school’s three simulation labs. Basically, the labs have several different rooms devoted to different types of patient situations in order to give students more comprehensive training in complex and difficult situations. For example, students work in diverse simulations like labor and delivery, critical and emergency care, surgery, mental health, older adults, and more. In some cases, students even work with “Standardized Patients,” or community volunteers who have been trained to portray a patient with a background of a particular health condition; this training increases students’ abilities to communicate with a diverse community effectively.
9. Prairie View A&M University College of Nursing (Houston, TX)
Located within the Texas Medical Center, Prairie View A&M University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees and is among the top 200 nursing programs in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report. Unlike many BSN programs, Prairie View A&M’s undergraduate BSN degree is actually a 4 ½ year program. However, students who already have an Associate’s degree in nursing and are an RN can complete the BSN program in as little as 12 months.
The college expects its students to understand the facets of nursing and related fields. For instance, graduate students studying nursing administration must take business and informatics courses in addition to the core nursing content.
Students are also encouraged to learn from others and gain broader perspectives through the many nursing-related student groups. The American Red Cross Student Nurses’ Volunteer Committee, for example, provides nursing services to the Houston area and is available to all students enrolled in a clinical studies course. Likewise, the American Association of Men in Nursing is dedicated to enhancing the growth and career development of the school’s male nursing students.
8. University of Incarnate Word Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions (San Antonio, TX)
Founded in 1931, the University of Incarnate Word was the first school west of the Mississippi River to offer an accredited bachelor’s degree in nursing. In addition to undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in nursing, this private Christian-based university offers Texas’s only doctorate-level psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program. Because of the school’s academic achievements, it received three awards from the Texas Nurses Association in 2018.
Students at this San Antonio school receive a liberal arts education combined with nursing training, emphasizing implementing evidence-based and holistic patient care. Students gain a better understanding of all of the factors that can impact a person’s health, including genetics and lifestyle choices and factors like culture, spirituality, and even language. The School of Nursing and Health Professions is also specifically committed to meeting the needs of low-income and underserved communities.
7. Texas A&M University-Texarkana Department of Nursing (Texarkana, TX)
At the Texarkana campus, Texas A&M offers a traditional BSN program and an MSN degree but does not have options for doctoral study. Plus, since the fall of 2021, the school has also been offering a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program. And because of its consistent academic excellence, the school frequently finds itself on “best of” lists. For example, Best Value Schools ranked it among the Best Texas Colleges in Nursing in 2021. And U.S. News ranks the master’s program as #152 in the country.
The department’s mission is to educate tomorrow’s nurses to understand the intrinsic value of each patient and seek out compassionate and holistic treatments. Therefore, undergraduate students, for example, are expected to take courses in the sciences and nutrition but also liberal arts foundation courses like history, government, language, and cultural studies. However, in addition to this liberal arts foundation, students also get hands-on experience through laboratories, participation in simulations, and clinical rotations.