Do you live in Texas and consider nursing a viable career path? It’s a noble calling, a high-regarded profession and can be a stable and rewarding career. Nurses can fulfil various roles in the community, from Emergency Room nurses to general ward roles, specialist nursing roles and even psychiatric nurses. You don’t always have to work in a hospital either, with some nurses working in community health centers, schools, colleges and even in an outreach capacity – working with vulnerable people in the community.
However, there is a process to follow to graduate from a Texas Nurse Practitioner program and become a registered and practicing nurse in Texas. This helpful article will share the ultimate guide to nursing requirements and regulations in this state of the USA, so read on to learn more.
Why Become a Nurse in Texas?
You might wonder why becoming a nurse in Texas is a viable and desirable career path. There are a few reasons why this is the case. Texas is the second most populated state in the USA and has a growing population, which means an increased demand for primary healthcare. Texas also has the most hospitals of any state, meaning demand for qualified nurses is at an all-time high. This means a wealth of career opportunities and progression for nurses.
Nurses also earn a decent living and have excellent benefits, including healthcare packages, retirement pensions and great workplace terms and conditions.
Why Are There Different Requirements in Each State?
You might be wondering why each state of the U.S. has its requirements and regulations for health practitioners like nurses. Well, it’s enshrined in our glorious constitution. The 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution authorizes each state to establish laws and regulations protecting their citizens’ health, safety and general welfare. Thus, it is the responsibility of the individual states to regulate the practice of medicine and why registration/qualification requirements are different in every state. This is why you’ll have to go through a different process in Ohio compared to becoming a registered nurse in Texas.
Some Texas Specific Medical Laws and Regulations
Let’s spend a bit of time discussing some medical legislation and regulations that are specific to Texas. You’ll understand why the state regulates medical practice so much and what guidelines you must follow should you become a nurse here.
Specific Licenses for Medical Procedures and Hospitals
Texas requires specific licenses for most of the standard medical procedures its citizens might have, such as abortion, birth and elective surgery. The state also requires each hospital to hold a license, such as being a general hospital, a specialist hospital that can perform specialized surgeries and procedures, having psychiatric units and crisis stabilization units and other specific units.
Transferring Registration from Another State
If you’ve trained and become qualified as a nurse in another state, and you move to Texas and wish to work there, there is a process to follow to ensure you can practice safely and effectively. You will either have to sit exams to ensure you understand and can follow Texas requirements, or you need to have achieved three stipulations, which include:
a. graduated from an approved licensed practical nurse/vocational nurse (LPN/LVN) or registered nurse (RN) program
b. taken the appropriate U.S. exam, and
c. have either worked in nursing or have taken the US NCLEX exam sometime in the previous four years before the application.
However, it’s worth mentioning that you can’t get endorsed if you have already held a nursing license in Texas, as there is a separate renewal process to follow.
Starting from Scratch – How to Become a Nurse in Texas
The process is straightforward if you have no prior nursing qualifications and experience and want to embark on a nursing career in Texas. First, you must study at an undergraduate level and obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
The ASN is the core minimum qualification, while the BSN is a step up. Both are valid pathways to working as a nurse. Texas will also accept a graduate degree if your undergraduate is in another field, such as psychology or occupational therapy.
If you’ve studied something utterly unrelated to nursing, some bridging options may be available to you to become a qualified nurse in Texas. You might obtain a licensed vocational nursing qualification and then bridge across to an ADN or BSN program.
Post Graduate Exams
Whatever the pathway you take to become a registered nurse, once you’ve graduated, the state of Texas requires two exams to undertake: the jurisprudence exam and the NCLEX-RN. If you successfully pass these two exams, you can work as a nurse in Texas.
The Texas Board of Nursing
Also playing a role in the qualification and practice requirements of nurses in Texas is the Texas Board of Nursing, or BON. This entity issues licenses to graduates of approved nursing programs and governs the exam process. The BON also manages nurses from other states seeking to work in Texas and provides the endorsement following the steps we listed beforehand.
All nurses in Texas need to renew their licenses with the BON biennially, with some evidence of continued education and professional development.
In addition, the BON also licenses qualified nurses to practice in advanced roles, such as
APRNs, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and nurse midwives.
Furthermore, the BON approves the colleges that nurses study at, enforces all relevant
state-based acts and regulations, sets the minimum practice standards for education, and
conducts investigations into complaints and malpractice.
What if I Migrate to Texas?
Finally, discuss how foreign-qualified nurses from other countries can practice nursing in Texas. There are a few steps. First, you must apply for a license by the NCLEX exam and then pay relevant fees. You’ll also need a completed and clear criminal history report, and if your qualification was in a foreign language, you’ll need to pass an English proficiency examination.
You’ll also need a Credential Evaluation Service Professional Report from a registered provider and a Verification of Licensure from all prior countries and U.S. states where you’ve held a nursing license. You must also have worked for four years before filling in the NCLEX application to sit the exam.
A Nursing Pathway Summary
This informative article has covered all the steps of nursing requirements and regulations in Texas, preparing you for your journey to become a nurse in this great state.