Training to Become an RN in Washington
A career in nursing is an exciting and challenging choice, especially for anyone interested in the fast paced world of healthcare. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics opportunities for registered nurses (RN) will continue to grow at a rate of 22% through the year 2020.
The average RN salary in Washington is $75,450 annually and the average entry level RN salary is $44,000 annually. Salaries will vary throughout the state and RNs will find slightly higher salaries in major metropolitan areas. RNs who elevate to positions of administration or supervision will find the average salaries to be about $120,000 annually. In addition to salary, RNs will often find other benefits offered as part of the total compensation package and may include health and dental care, short and/or long term disability, life insurance, tuition reimbursement and retirement contributions. Employers may also offer employees a signing bonus and salary increases based on performance rather than just cost of living.
RN candidates are required to successfully complete a nursing program approved by the Washington State Board of Nursing and earn at least an Associate’s degree in nursing. An Associate’s degree takes two years to complete. It is important to note RNs who wish to pursue advanced practice nursing will be required to earn a Master’s degree in nursing in the area of specialty desired.
After the educational requirements have been met, the candidate will be required to pass the licensing exam. The application to test will include a criminal background and fingerprint check, identification, and an electronic certificate of completion from the nursing school attended. An official transcript will be submitted to the Board once the applicant passes the licensing exam. The application will be sent to the Nursing Commission and the appropriate fee will be sent to the Washington Department of Health.
After the application to test is sent to the Nursing Commission, the applicant is required to register with Pearson VUE to take the National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), the state mandated licensing exam. The Nursing Commission will notify Pearson VUE when the review of the application is complete and Pearson VUE will issue the applicant an authorization to test (ATT). As soon as the ATT is received, the applicant can schedule a date to take the NCLEX-RN. The Nursing Commission is notified of the results 24 hours after taking the exam and in turn notifies the applicant of pass or fail. When the applicant passes the exam, an RN license will be issued and a hard copy will be sent to the newly licensed RN in 7 10 business days.
Washington RNs are required to renew their license every year. Every three years RNs will be required to sign an attestation to demonstrate they are in compliance with the requirements for nursing practice and continuing education hours. The requirements include 45 hours of continuing education hours and 531 hours of active practice every three years. Active practice can be paid employment or unpaid or volunteer service performing the duties of an RN. Beginning in 2014, the Nursing Commission will begin random audits for compliance. RN licenses expire on the RNs birthday.
Once the RN is properly licensed, they will find employment in facilities such as rehabilitative centers, occupational healthcare facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, assisted care facilities and educational and government facilities. RNs will also find employment with amateur and professional sports leagues, traveling nurse agencies, temporary staffing agencies, visiting nurse and hospice care organizations, recreational and vacation venues and insurance companies.
RN duties will depend on the facility or type of employment engaged, but typical RN duties include performing emergency procedures, conducting diagnostic testing, completing patient history, formulating, initiating and monitoring patient care and treatment plans, coordinating healthcare with other departments and facilities, dispensing medication including injections and monitoring reaction, dressing wounds and changing dressings, supervising the nursing staff including certified nursing assistants and provide information and understanding of treatment, care and procedures to the patient and family members.
Schools With RN Programs in Washington
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- 11 Core Modules
- 2 Bonus Modules
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- 28 ANCC Continuing Nursing Education Credits
- Wound Care Certification
- Wound Care Certification
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