Programs to Become an RN in Florida
Registered Nurses (RN) are in great demand throughout the country and Florida is no exception. Nursing is a very challenging career and qualified RNs will find a variety of nursing employment options, as well as advancement opportunities. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts nursing opportunities will increase by 18% through the year 2018.
The Florida Board of Nursing (FBON) regulates the nursing industry in the state including approving nursing programs, licensing and license renewals of all nurses, and set policies to assure the general public medical facilities and nurses are employing the latest best management nursing practices.
RN candidates are required to complete an approved nursing program at an accredited college or university and earn at least an Associate’s degree in nursing (ASN). Such a program takes about two years to complete and students are qualified to take the state mandated National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Some students use an ASN program as a stepping stone to a Bachelors or Master degree program in nursing. This allows students to work as an RN while completing work for the higher degrees. An approved nursing program will include class work and clinical training.
The requirements to take the NCLEX-RN are to hold a high school diploma and complete an approved nursing program. The RN candidate must be in good physical and mental health and submit to a criminal background check, including a fingerprint card, with no criminal history as a result. RN candidates must also have the ability to communicate in English, which may be determined by examination.
Upon graduation, grads are required to apply to the FBON to take the NCLEX-RN and register with Pearson VUE, the exam administrator. The board will review the application and when approved, the applicant will receive an authorization to test (ATT). Once the applicant has an ATT, they are free to schedule a date to take the exam. Applicants have 90 days from the issuance of the ATT to take the exam. Applicants will be notified via email of pass or fail. If the applicant passes the exam, a license will be issued in about three weeks. Potential employers will be able to verify an RN license online before the RN receives their actual license. If the applicant does not pass the exam, they will receive an application and instructions to retake the exam. If the applicant does not pass the exam in three attempts, the applicant will be required to complete an approved nursing remedial program. An RN cannot practice nursing without a license.
Florida RNs are required to renew their license every two years. RNs renew their license according to the group they are assigned when first licensed. RNs are also required to complete 24 hours of approved continuing education hours every renewal period. Every third renewal period RNs must also complete an addition two hours of approved continuing education hours in domestic violence for a total of 26 hours.
The average salary for RNs in Florida is $62,000 annually. The starting salary for entry level RN’s is $42,000 and RNs who rise to positions of responsibility may top out at $130,000. Actual salary depends on several factors, including geographic location, level of education, level of responsibility assumed and nursing specialty, if any.
RNs perform a variety of duties and include dispensing medication, dressing wounds, performing emergency procedures, evaluation patients and establishing care plans and helping patients and families to understand the medical condition and treatment.
RN Training Schools in Florida
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