How to Become a Registered Nurse in Maine
Becoming a nurse is a very rewarding, and challenging career choice. The duties a nurse undertakes, are varied and can be different from day to day. Men and women who choose to become a nurse will find stamina a must and the desire to help others at the top of the list of reasons to become a nurse.
Maine is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact. That means, once a nurse is licensed in their home state of Maine, they may practice nursing in another Compact state member without going through the licensing program.
The average salary for RNs in Maine is $64,000 and is slightly lower than the average RN salary nationally. The average RN salary in and around the immediate Bangor area is $68,000. The starting salary for an RN in Maine can range from $45,000 to $51,000. The actual RN salary will vary according to geographic location, type of facility where employed, years of experience, level of responsibility and area of expertise.
RN candidates are required to complete a nursing program that is approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing (MBON) and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Most nursing schools in Maine require RN candidates to complete a slate of prerequisite courses that include biology, math and psychology. Admission to nursing schools is highly competitive and passing the prerequisite courses with above average grades is critical to nursing school acceptance. The prerequisite classes must be taken before applying to nursing school.
Most nursing students have the options of pursuing an Associate’s or Bachelors degree in nursing. Most students opt for the Bachelors degree as the higher degree generally has more employment opportunities. An RN with an Associate’s degree will be the employment choice if they have a background as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or volunteered or worked in a healthcare facility.
Once the student has completed their studies, graduates are required to take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). It is a national standard test for all nursing students. All states, including Maine, require nurses to pass the test in order to become licensed, and work as an RN. On an average, 90% of nursing graduates pass the NCLEX-RN the first time the exam is taken.
The application to take the NCELX-RN exam is submitted to the MBON with the appropriate fee and includes a 2”x2” passport type of photo taken within 6 months prior to submission. The application is also required to be notarized. The graduate must also apply with Pearson VUE, the exam administrator, to take the exam. There is a separate fee paid to Pearson VUE to take the exam. Once the MBON approves the application to test, the applicant is issued an authorization to test (ATT) and is free to schedule the exam. The ATT must be presented, along with the appropriate identification, on the day of the test.
The duties of an RN vary depending on the facility, but typical nursing duties include dispensing medication according to the prescription plan, assessing patient’s medical needs, performing emergency procedures, conducting diagnostic testing, collecting and monitoring vital signs, educating the patient and family members regarding the patient’s condition and supervising the CNA staff.
RN Nursing Schools in Maine
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- Professional Medical Assistant