How to Become a Registered Nurse in Hawaii
Qualified registered nurses (RN) are much in demand in Hawaii. As healthcare options expand and medical technology, equipment and medication improves and the population lives longer, nursing opportunities will become greater.
RN salaries vary according to geographic location, level of responsibility, years of education and longevity on the job. The average salary is $56,000 and the entry level salary for a just graduated and newly licensed RN is $48,000. In major cities such as Honolulu, the average salary is $86,000 annually and the entry level salary is $59,000 annually. Nurses can maximize salaries by obtaining additional certifications, complete programs for Master and Doctorate degrees in nursing and assuming a high level of responsibility.
Nurses are required to earn at least an Associate’s degree by completing a nursing program approved by the Hawaii Board of Nursing (HBON) in order to qualify to take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The program must include class work and clinical training. An Associate’s degree can usually be completed in two years of full time study. Many nursing students opt to shoot for a Bachelor’s degree, which takes about four years of fulltime study. RNs with Bachelor degrees will often find higher level opportunities with slightly better salary than RNs with an Associate’s degree.
Two weeks prior to graduation, students should submit an application to take the NCLEX-RN to the HBON with the appropriate fee. The application can be sent postal mail or delivered personally to the office of the HBON. Students must also request the nursing program they attended submit their transcript and degree earned to the HBON. As soon as the HBON reviews the application to test, the applicant will be notified along with the information necessary to register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX-RN. The applicant will also receive an authorization to test and then schedule the date and time to take the exam. When arriving for the exam, applicants will have to provide the ATT, identification and provide a signature, palm scan, fingerprint and take a picture. Results will be mailed to the applicant two weeks after taking the exam. Upon passing the exam, the newly licensed RN will be required to pay a license fee.
RNs are required to renew their license every two years during the odd year. All licenses expire on 30 June, but all renewals must be received by the HBOB by 30 May. Renewal applications not received by the end of May will result in the expiration of the license and the applicant will have to renew their license using the expired license procedure. An additional fee, along with the renewal fee will be assessed.
Nursing opportunities are almost limitless and include employment in hospitals and nursing homes, occupational healthcare centers, blood collection agencies, travel clubs, assisted care facilities, clinics, doctor’s office, insurance companies and nurse help call centers.
RN duties vary according to facility where employed, but typical RN duties include dressing wounds and changing dressings, performing emergency tasks, assisting doctors, preparing patient care plans, supervising the nursing staff including nursing assistants, tracking vital signs and monitoring patient progress.
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