How to Become an RN in New Jersey
The nursing profession is one career that is experiencing growth and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing will continue to grow at a very aggressive rate, bringing more healthcare employment opportunities to the state. The field of nursing is expected to grow by a rate of 18% through the year 2020. The growth of the field of nursing is attributed to an aging population and increased longevity and with the advancement of medical technology, there are more health care options available.
Registered Nurses (RNs) find employment in a variety of facilities and include visiting nurse and hospice organizations, blood donation centers, hospitals, assisted care facilities and nursing homes, occupational healthcare centers, rehabilitative centers, government and education facilities, children’s summer camps and other seasonal vacation venues, clinics and doctor’s offices. For RNs who would rather not work in a health care facility will find employment with insurance companies to review medical claims or work for a nurse call center and provide healthcare information to callers.
The New Jersey Board of Nursing (NJBON) oversees the nursing profession and sets policies to always improve and maintain the quality of care afforded to patients. RN candidates must complete a nursing program approved by the NJBON and pass the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. RNs cannot practice nursing without being licensed.
RN candidates must complete an approved nursing program awarding at least an Associate’s degree. The program must include class work and clinical training. Nursing programs are designed to prepare the RN candidate to take the NCLEX-RN. Upon completion of the educational requirements, graduates must apply to the NJBON to take the NCLEX-RN. The application includes a 2”x2” passport type photograph taken within six months prior to application submission and a criminal and fingerprint background check. The applicant will not be allowed to take the exam until the NJBON receives the criminal background and fingerprint check report.
The application also includes a letter of program completion from the nursing school and sent directly to the NJBON. The applicant also has to register with Pearson VUE Testing Services, the exam administrator. The Board will review the application to test and if all the information is complete, the applicant will receive an authorization to test (ATT). The applicant will then schedule a date to take the exam. If the applicant passes the exam, a license will be issued and if the applicant does not pass the exam the applicant will receive an application to take the exam again.
RNs are required to renew their license every two years and licenses expire on 31 May, two years from the date of license issue. RNs are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education hours and for licenses that expire in 2014 and 2015, 1 of the continuing education hours must be Organ and Tissue Donation and Recovery. Licenses can be renewed and verified online through the NJBON website. Licenses that have lapsed cannot be renewed online.
The average RN salary in New Jersey is $72,000 annually. The average entry level RN salary is $48,000 and the average salary for an RN in a position of supervision is $100,000. Actual salary often depends on level of education, years of experience, responsibility assumed, facility where employed and geographic location. Along with salary, compensation often includes health and dentist benefits, retirement plan contribution, tuition reimbursement, life insurance and sort and/or long term disability.
RNs take on a variety of duties and those duties will often vary depending on the facility where employed. Typical RN duties include dispensing medication including injections and, preparing patient care plans, monitoring patient progress, performing diagnostic tests, performing emergency procedures, monitoring vital signs, dressing wounds and changing dressings and supervise care provided by the nursing staff and the certified nursing assistants (CNA). RNs also provide health information and education, interpret patient information and make decisions regarding necessary actions, conduct research to support improved practice and patient outcomes.
RN Degree Programs in New Jersey
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