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The University of St. Thomas (UST) is Houston’s Catholic University, committed to the Catholic intellectual tradition and the dialogue between faith and reason. Our blog is dedicated to helping you explore your future career possibilities and how to make the most of your college experience.

Texas Nursing Know How

Texas Nursing Know-How: 5 Things Lone Star State RNs Should Be Aware Of

Nurses are often described as superheroes. While you appreciate how much people respect the profession, you’ve never quite agreed with this comparison. You know that nursing is more about serving patients and communities than anything else. That mentality is exactly why you would make a great registered nurse (RN).

While you’re all-but-certain you want to become an RN in the Lone Star State, you’d like to know more about what a Texas nursing career looks like. You’re curious about job opportunities. You also want to gain a solid understanding of what it takes to become a registered nurse.

Before exploring some key facts about the state of nursing in Texas, it’s a good idea to dig into what it takes to become an RN. The good news is that you already have the right mindset for pursuing a nursing career. Now you can focus on tackling the formal licensure requirements.

How do you become a registered nurse in Texas?

Every aspiring RN needs to start by gaining the requisite education. Some nursing students choose to obtain an associate degree, but many find that a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a more appealing option. Completing a full four years of study typically affords you more job opportunities — some employers actually require candidates to have a BSN — and it can also help pave the way for an advanced degree further down the road.

While in school, you’ll complete courses in subjects like anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, nursing informatics and clinical leadership. You’ll begin developing practical skills by participating in labs and simulated patient experiences.

Near the end of your education, you’ll begin working with actual patients during clinical rotations. The total number of hours devoted to clinical training can vary from one program to the next, but the Texas Board of Nursing recommends three clinical hours for each hour of classroom instruction. 

Upon completing all program requirements, you’ll graduate with a nursing degree. The next phase is to sit the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This comprehensive test is completed electronically and evaluates candidates’ preparedness for nursing practice. You need a passing score to apply for licensure in Texas. At that point, you’re free to begin practicing as an RN.

5 things all RNs in Texas should know

Now that you have a better understanding of how you can go from aspiring student to practicing provider, it’s time to take a look at some facts about Texas nursing. You’ll soon see it’s a great location for future RNs.

1. Texas is the second-largest employer of nurses in the U.S.

Texas is one of the most populous states in the country. With so many potential patients, it’s essential to have a robust supply of qualified nurses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Lone Star State employed 210,350 RNs in 2018. This is second only to California, which employed 294,510 registered nurses at that same time. 

2. Texas is facing a nursing shortage

Texas might employ a considerable number of registered nurses, but it still needs more of these providers. A report from the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis predicts that Texas will have a deficit of nearly 16,000 full-time RNs come 2030. This is particularly notable when you consider the same report indicates there will be an excess supply at the national level.

The looming shortage means that employment prospects are promising for future RNs in this state. If you value job security, Texas is an ideal place to pursue a nursing career.

3. There are numerous types of nurses in demand

Registered nurses have more career paths available to them than you might realize. While generalists are the most sought-after registered nurses, certain specializations are in demand as well.

Real-time job analysis software reveals that there were nearly 112,000 job postings seeking licensed registered nurses in Texas over the last year.1 These roles were among those with the most openings:

  • Medical-surgical RN
  • Intensive care unit RN
  • Emergency room RN
  • Nurse case manager
  • Operating room RN
  • Labor and delivery RN
  • Neonatal intensive care RN
  • Home health RN
  • Oncology RN
  • Travel RN

4. Many employers in Texas are seeking qualified nurses

Registered nurses can be found working in a variety of settings. While most are employed by hospitals and clinics, RNs also work for insurance carriers, home healthcare services, universities and more. Keep in mind that some registered nurses pursue roles outside of clinical practice — health informatics, management or something else. These types of positions typically require candidates to have an active license and at least a few years of experience practicing.

So, what types of organizations are looking to hire RNs? An analysis of employers in Texas seeking licensed registered nurses in 2019, which included more than 91,000 job listings, reveals these organizations posted the greatest number of open positions:2

  • Hospital Corporation of America
  • Christus Health
  • Houston Methodist
  • Baylor Scott & White Health
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Ascension Health
  • Memorial Hermann
  • Catholic Health Initiatives
  • Texas Health Resources
  • Universal Health Services, Inc.

5. There are numerous professional organizations for nurses in Texas

One of the truly great things about being a registered nurse is the community. It won’t take long for you to start building professional relationships with numerous other providers. That said, you can further strengthen your network by joining professional organizations.

National associations are certainly an option, but there are quite a few organizations specifically for nurses throughout Texas:

  • The Texas Nurses Association allows you to meet fellow practitioners, advocate for the profession as well as patients and also access discounts for conferences and continuing education courses.
  • The Texas School Nurses Organization enables members to benefit from engaging with other school nurses, access to a few journal subscriptions and free continuing education.
  • The National Association of Hispanic Nurses has a number of chapters in Texas and provides members with access to leadership opportunities, mentor programs, chapter meetings and enables them to address health care issues affecting the Hispanic population in their area.

This is just a sampling of the options that are out there. Many nursing students find ways to start connecting with others in the profession even before graduating through school organizations and clubs.

Improve healthcare in your area

It’s probably becoming apparent that there are countless opportunities for nurses in Texas. That’s good news for students like you who are eager to care for patients in their community. It takes hard work to become a registered nurse, but the effort is worth it if you know you’re meant to be a provider.  

Though it’s possible to obtain your degree elsewhere, you might want to start thinking more seriously about Texas nursing programs. Completing your studies in the Lone Star State means your education will be geared toward the corresponding licensure requirements. Schools like the University of St. Thomas (UST) even allow students who already have a bachelor’s degree to obtain their BSN in an accelerated format.

To learn more about how you can start working toward your nursing career, visit the UST Bachelor of Science in Nursing program page.

1Source: (analysis of 111,962 jobs available to registered nurses in Texas, January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019)

2Source: (analysis of 91,225 jobs posted by employers seeking registered nurses in Texas, January 1, 2019 – December 31, 2019).

About the Author — Staff

AvatarThe University of St. Thomas is the only Catholic, liberal arts university in Houston, Texas. We have 35+ undergraduate majors including STEM, Nursing, Business, Education and Pre-Med. Located in a vibrant urban environment just minutes from downtown and the famed Texas Medical Center, we welcome students of all races and religions to our diverse and collaborative campus.

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