Louisiana is a great state to work in for those who are in the health care profession. Demand is high and there are many different opportunities. Let’s take a look at how to become a nurse in this state.
ENTRY LEVEL PRACTICE NURSES
STAGE 1. CHOOSE YOUR ENTRY LEVEL OPTION.
You can become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) by completing a one year diploma program. Or you can also become a Registered Nurse (RN), by completing either a two year associate’s degree (ADN) or a four year bachelor’s degree (BSN).
STAGE 2. COMPLETE YOUR EDUCATION PROGRAM.
With all three programs, the first year, which is the only year for the LPN, is about basic patient care and basic nursing skills and knowledge. In the second year, which is the final year for ADN students, you will learn more in depth knowledge and take some specialized courses. The final two years of a BSN program go even further in-depth, looking at topics, such as pharmaceutical research, public health policy, or radiology.
STAGE 3 – PASS THE NCLEX EXAMINATION.
Passing the NCLEX-PN exam allows you to get to work as an LPN. On the other hand, the NCLEX-RN exam allows you to start working as an RN. Because these are national exams, they offer you the opportunity to move to other states as well.
ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSES
To become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), you will need to complete the following stages.
STAGE 1 – EARN A GRADUATE DEGREE.
The Louisiana State Board of Nursing determines which programs meet the necessary standards. To qualify, the degree program must be at master’s level or above. It must also be nationally accredited. A full list of approved programs can be found online. They also have stringent requirements in terms of the courses that have to be included in the curriculum. These courses are:
- Advanced pharmacology
- Advanced pathophysiology
- Management of health care states
- Advanced assessment and diagnostic reasoning
- The completion of a 500 hour supervised clinical preceptorship in direct care. If you study towards a specialization, you will need to complete a longer preceptorship. Various specializations exist, looking either at population foci or disease types.
You can have prescriptive authority if you are a licensed nurse practitioner (LNP). However, you must demonstrate that you have completed 3 credit hours (the equivalent of 45 credit hours) of physiology/pathophysiology training and a further 3 credit hours of advanced pharmacotherapeutics.
STAGE 2. BECOME NATIONALLY CERTIFIED BEFORE YOU OBTAIN YOUR LICENSE TO PRACTICE.
Various national certification agencies exist that have their own eligibility standards and examination requirements. The Board recognizes four APRN roles:
- NP – Nurse Practitioner
- CNM – Certified Nurse Midwife
- CRNA – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
- CNS – Clinical Nurse Specialist
The following agencies are recognized by the Board:
• The ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center), which recognizes the Adult Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP), Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (GNP), Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner PNP) and the Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).
• The AANP (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners), which recognizes the Adult Nurse Practitioner and the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP.
• The AACN (American Association of Critical-Care Nurses), which recognize the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.
• The NCC (National Certification Corporation for the Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing Specialties) , which recognizes the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) and the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP).
• The National Certification Board of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Nurses (PNCB), which recognizes the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP).
• The AMCB (American Midwifery Certification Board), which recognizes the Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM).
• The National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA), which recognizes the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
STAGE 3 – APPLY FOR LICENSURE.
You can apply for your initial license through the Application for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Initial Licensure by Examination. If you want to add an additional APRN role, you must complete the Request for Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Licensure in an Additional APRN Role/Population Focus/Specialty. Finally, if you want to earn your license by endorsement, you must complete the Application for APRN Licensure by Endorsement. Each of these documents requires you to provide different types of documents as well.
To become licensed, you need to have a criminal history background check. Please visit your local law enforcement office to have your fingerprints taken. You can also find blank FBI fingerprint cards in the pack for those who wish to become licensed by endorsement, should your sheriff’s office not have them. Alternatively, you can use the LiveScan facility offered by the Board.
If you want to have prescriptive authority, you must enter into a collaborative agreement with a physician. This form must be submitted to the Board.
If your application is pending, you can choose to request for a Temporary Permit to be granted to you. This allows you to work for 90 days, while you wait for your license to come through.
STAGE 4. RENEW YOUR LICENSE EVERY YEAR, TOGETHER WITH YOUR RN LICENSE.
You will receive an email reminder and you can complete your renewal completely online.
In terms of continuous education (CE), you must maintain the standards set out by your national certification agency. Additionally, if you wish to maintain prescriptive authority, you will need to meet CE requirements of 6 contact hours in pharmacotherapeutics.
Louisiana State Board of Nursing
17373 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70810