How to Become a Registered Nurse in Louisiana
Nursing candidates in Louisiana must earn a minimum of an Associate’s degree in nursing to qualify to take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). The chosen nursing program must be taken at a college or university accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and approved by the Louisiana Board of Nursing (LBON). An approved nursing program includes class work and clinical training.
Following the completion of the educational requirements, the graduate submits an application to the LBON to take the NCLEX-RN. The application includes a criminal background check and the submission of a fingerprint card and an official transcript from the school of choice. The board of nursing will review each application and when deemed complete, the applicant will be issued an authorization to test (ATT). Before the exam can be scheduled, the graduate must register with Pearson VUE, the exam administrator. The graduate will have 90 days from the issuance of the ATT to take the exam. Graduates may also apply for a temporary, 90 day RN license to allow them to work during the exam process. If the graduate holds a temporary license and has found employment, but does not pass the NCLEX-RN, the temporary license expires and the graduate must stop work.
The NCLEX-RN results are made available approximately three weeks after the exam. All results will be sent via postal mail to the graduates. Results will not be delivered by telephone. Graduates who do not pass the NCLEX-RN will have the opportunity to take the exam again in 45 days. Graduate nurses may not practice nursing until the NCLEX-RN is passed.
RN licenses must be renewed every 2 years. RNs are also required to complete a certain number of continuing education hours based on the number of hours worked during the calendar year. RNs who work 1,600 hours or more per calendar year are required to complete a minimum of 5 approved hours. RNs who work at least 160 hours but less than 1,600 hours are required to complete 10 hours and RNs who work less than 160 hours are required to complete 15 hours.
RN salaries average $61,500 and the starting entry level salary for an RN is $40,000. Supervisors will earn a higher salary than a staff RN and depending on geographic location, years of experience and level of education completed; the average salary will approach $120,000 annually.
RNs will find employment in a variety of areas including clinics, private duty assignments, visiting nurse organizations, blood collection centers, the American Red Cross, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, government and educational facilities, doctor’s offices and insurance companies evaluating medical claims. RNs with advanced degrees and a certain level of experience will be qualified to teach.
RNs undertake a variety of tasks and include dispensing medication, including injections, dress wounds and change dressings, establish, implement and monitor patient care plans, monitor patient progress, perform diagnostic tests, assist doctors with testing, perform emergency services and supervise the nursing staff including certified nursing assistants (CNA).
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