How to Become a Registered Nurse in Kentucky
The Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBON) regulates the field of nursing in the state. The board manages nursing licenses including renewals and makes health care policies to assure patients nursing care is the best it can possibly be. The policies of the KBON keep nurses up to date with the latest techniques and methods and provide refresher courses for skills that may not be used on a regular basis. Kentucky is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact.
Nursing candidates are required to complete an approved nursing program and receive a minimum of an Associate’s degree, which typically takes 2 years to complete, to qualify to take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Graduates are now required to take and pass the jurisprudence examination, as well.
Students must complete an application for licensing prior to taking the jurisprudence exam. Once the nursing board receives the exam application, along with the fingerprint card and criminal background check information, the applicant will be allowed to take the NCLEX exam and then the jurisprudence exam. The nursing programs include class work and clinical training, as well as prepare the student to take the NCLEX-RN and the jurisprudence exam.
Pearson VUE is the exam administrators and applicants must register with them at the same time as submitting an application to test to the KBON. When the application is approved, the Board will notify Pearson VUE and Pearson VUE will issue the applicant an authorization to test (ATT). Once the applicant has the ATT, they have the ability to schedule a date to take the exam. The applicant will be notified with 10 days of taking the exam of pass or fail.
Kentucky RNs are required to renew their license every two years, and the renewal period is 15 September and 31 October. RNs must submit a renewal application and documented proof of taking 14 continuing education hours approved by the KBON or 7 continuing education hours in addition to an employment evaluation that covers at least six months of the earning period.
The average salary for an RN in Kentucky is $65,500 annually. Entry level RNs recently graduated from nursing school can expect a beginning salary of $42,000. Nurses will earn higher salaries near major cities and in larger facilities. Nurses who rise to positions of responsibility such as director of nurses or unit managers, command higher salaries and may top out about $115,000.
RNs find employment in a variety of facilities including private duty and home care, hospitals, nursing homes and assisted care facilities, visiting nurse and hospice organizations, public health clinics and occupational healthcare facilities. RN duties continue 24 hours a day and nurses work one of three daily shifts. Nurses who work the night shift typically earn a slightly higher hourly rate than nurses who work the day or evening shift.
RNs perform a variety of tasks including leading the patient care team, performing in depth assessments, dispense medication including injections, monitor vital signs, perform emergency procedures, dress wounds and change dressings, assist doctors in surgical procedures and supervise the nursing staff, including the nursing assistants.
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