How to Become a Registered Nurse in Rhode Island
Nursing careers in Rhode Island are strong and the future demand is predicted to outpace supply. Becoming an RN in Rhode Island requires the completion of an approved nursing program and to pass the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). RN licensing is conducted through the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Office of Health Professionals Regulation and the Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration.
RN candidates must complete an approved nursing program and earn a minimum of an Associate’s degree. However, keep in mind the higher the degree earned the better the employment prospects will be when licensed. Some RNs complete an Associate’s degree program, which typically takes two years, become licensed and continue their education for a Bachelors or Masters degree in nursing.
In order to take the NCLEX, the RN candidate must complete an approved nursing program. The application to test includes an application to the Office of the Attorney General for a national background and fingerprint check and an official transcript from the nursing school with the date completed and the degree conferred. The application is submitted to the National Council of State Board of Nursing (NCSBN). If an applicant does not apply to test through the NCSBN, a date to test will not be given. Rhode Island is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact and graduates taking the exam must declare Rhode Island to be their home state. Once the application has been reviewed and all information verified as being correct the State will issue the applicant a date to test.
A graduate nurse may apply to the State of Rhode Island for a temporary RN license while in the NCLEX process. If granted, the RN candidate must work under the direct supervision of an RN. If the RN candidate passes the NCLEX a permanent license will be issued. If the RN candidate does not pass the NCLEX, their nursing practice privileges will be revoked. A graduate who does not pass the NCLEX will have the opportunity to take the exam again after a 45 day waiting period.
Once an RN is licensed, the license must be renewed every two years. Retired and non practicing nurses are required to renew their license if they wish to retain their RN status. Nurses are required to complete 10 continuing education hours every renewal period. The hours can be completed online or in a live classroom setting. The hours must be approved by the Rhode Island State Nurse Association or the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Suffering a hardship will allow the RN to request a six month extension to meet the continuing education requirements. RNs will be required to sign an affidavit attesting to the completion of the continuing education hours and retain documentation for completing those hours for four years.
The average annual salary for an RN in Rhode Island is $60,000. The average entry level salary is $44,000 and an RN in a position of responsibility such as Director of Nursing, will see an average salary of $100,000. The actual salary will vary depending on level of responsibility held, educational background, geographic location and specialty nursing field. In addition to salary an RN compensation package may include health benefits, tuition reimbursement, life insurance, short and long term disability and retirement contributions.
RNs will find employment in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted care facilities, occupational health care centers, blood banks, the American Red Cross, educational and government facilities, seasonal vacation venues, clinics, visiting nurse and hospice organizations and insurance companies. Nurses with experience and the proper credentials will become nursing school instructors.
RNs undertake a variety of tasks including dispensing medication, including injections, prepare patient care plans, perform diagnostic testing, assist doctors with advanced diagnostic testing, monitor patient progress and supervise the nursing staff, including certified nursing assistants. RNs also provide a valuable interface between patient, family member and doctor and makes sure everyone is on the same page and all involved understand the nature of the care plan.
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