How to Become an RN in Montana
Registered Nurses (RNs) in Montana must complete an approved nursing program and pass the Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). State law requires RNs be licensed before practicing in the nursing field. The Montana Board of Nursing (MBON) regulates the nursing profession including licensing and setting policies.
RN candidates are required to complete an approved nursing program at an accredited college or university and earn a minimum of an Associate’s degree (ASN) to qualify to take the NCLEX-RN. An approved nursing program includes both class work and clinical training.
After graduation, students are required to apply to the MBON to take the NCLEX-RN. The application includes documentation of passing an approved nursing program, a color 2”x2” photograph and proof of registration with Pearson VUE, the exam administrator. The MBON will review the applications to test and upon approval will issue the applicant an authorization to test (ATT). It is necessary to provide the ATT and proper identification on the day the exam is taken. Pearson VUE will notify the MBON when the exam has been taken and whether the applicant passed or failed. If the applicant passes the exam, an RN license will be issued. If the applicant fails, an exam performance review and an application to take the exam again will be issued.
An RN candidate can apply for a temporary RN license while in the NCLEX-RN process. The temporary license is valid for 60 days and cannot be renewed. The temporary license is automatically revoked if the applicant does not pass the NCLEX-RN.
All RN licenses expire on 31 December of even numbered years and are subject to renewal every two years. Notices will be mailed to the RN approximately 60 days prior to expiration. RNs are still required to renew their license even if no renewal notice is received. Notices will be sent to the address on file for each RN. As part of the renewal requirements, RNs are required to complete 24 hours of approved continuing education hours each renewal period. Hours exceeding 24 cannot be carried over to the next renewal period. RNs that have less than 24 hours cannot make them up during the next renewal cycle.
RNs find employment in a number of areas including hospitals and nursing homes, assisted care facilities and rehabilitative centers, educational and government facilities, sports and entertainment venues, insurance companies and teaching.
RNs undertake a variety of tasks and the tasks vary depending on the facility where employed. The duties include dispensing medication, preparing patient care plans, review medical claims, dress wounds and change dressings, perform emergency services, perform diagnostic testing, monitor patient care and supervise the nursing staff, including certified nursing assistants (CNA).
The average RN salary in Montana is $59,000 annually. The average entry level RN salary is $39,000 annually and the RNs who rise to a supervisory position can earn as much as $110,000 annually. Salaries tend to be higher in major metropolitan areas than in suburban and rural areas and RNs employed in hospitals tend to earn more than RNs employed in nursing homes or rehabilitative centers.
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