If you are interested in becoming a nurse in Nebraska, you will need to apply through their state board of registered nursing. The Board is the state governmental agency that is responsible for implementing and enforcing all of the laws pertaining to nurse education, licensure, practice and discipline.
Nebraska is a great state to work in the health care system. Demand is high and set to grow even further as the population ages. Let’s review how you can become a nurse in Nebraska.
ENTRY LEVEL PRACTICE NURSES
STAGE 1 – CHOOSE YOUR ENTRY OPTION.
Most students choose to become an RN (registered nurse), which can be achieved through a two year ADN (associate’s degree) program or a four year BSN (bachelor’s degree) program. Both these programs often offer early exit options after one year, which allow graduates to work as an LPN (licensed practical nurse). Generally speaking, both ADN and BSN programs will require prospective students to have completed a number of undergraduate courses.
STAGE 2. COMPLETE YOUR TRAINING.
During your first year, you will focus most strongly on hands-on care. The second year is more on theory and management in nursing. In the BSN program, the final two years look at more advanced practices and allow students to take elective specialization courses.
STAGE 3. PASS THE NCLEX EXAMINATION.
LPNs must pass the NCLEX-PN and RNs must pass the NCLEX-RN. Pass rates in the state are above 85%, on par with the national average.
ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSES
To become an APRN (advanced practice registered nurse) in Nebraska, the following stages must be completed:
STAGE 1. EARN A GRADUATE DEGREE AT MASTER’S LEVEL AS A MINIMUM.
Exempted from this are neonatal MSN nurse practitioners, women’s health nurse practitioners and those who obtained their degree before July 19, 1996. The program must be nationally accredited and recognized by the U.S Department of Education. All APRNs must become licensed through an agency that is also recognized by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Board of Nursing. The Board follows the national APRN Consensus Model, which means that accepted courses must include the following topics in their curriculum:
- Advanced pathophysiology/physiology
- Advanced health assessment
- Advanced pharmacology
Additionally, the course must be made up of didactic hours, as well as a preceptorship of at least 500 contact hours. Furthermore, the curriculum must include relevant course work on the chosen specialization. Finally, at least 30 hours of the course must be spent in pharmacotherapeutics.
STAGE 2. BECOME NATIONALLY CERTIFIED IN THE NURSING SPECIALIZATION YOU HAVE CHOSEN.
The Board recognizes the following categories:
- CNS – Clinical Nurse Specialist
- NP – Nurse Practitioner
- CRNA – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
- CNM – Certified Nurse Midwife
The Board recognizes the following national certification bodies:
- The NBCRNA (National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists), which recognizes the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
- 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 PNCB (Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, which recognizes the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Acute Care and Primary Care.
- The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, which recognizes the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP and the Adult 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 AACN (American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, which recognizes the Pediatric Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, the Adult Critical Care CNS and the Neonatal Critical Care CNS.
- The AMCB (American Midwifery Certification Board), which recognizes the Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM).
- The ONCC (Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation), which recognizes the Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS).
STAGE 3. APPLY TO BECOME LICENSED.
For the CNS license, you must complete the Application for Clinical Nurse Specialist; for the NP license, you must complete the Application for Nurse Practitioner; for the CRNA license, you must complete the Application for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist; and for the CNM license, you must complete the Application for Certified Midwife. Each of these will require you to include a number of pieces of documentation.
You an also apply for a temporary permit if you know your exam results. It is valid for 60 days. You can also apply for this if you are waiting to take your examination. If you have unforeseen hardships, you can extend this for 120 days.
Prescriptive authority is offered as standard to CNMs, CRNAs and NPs. CNMs are able to prescribe a Schedule II Controlled Substance, but this is heavily regulated in terms of which drugs and how long they can prescribe them. They do not have to be directly supervised or co-sign. NPs can prescribe Schedule II – V substances, but they must first complete a criminal background check in order to be allowed to do this. CNRAs can deliver complete anesthesia care, with relevant prescription drugs. However, they must collaborate and consult with a licensed practitioner. They can also prescribe Schedule II – V drugs. Nebraska does not issue a state-controlled substance registration itself. Rather, you must apply for this through the DEA.
STAGE 4. RENEW YOUR LICENSE.
This is done online every even numbered year by October 31. You will receive a postal reminder for this in August. You can place your licensed as “lapsed” if you do not wish to renew it. There are stringent continuing competency requirements in the state, above and beyond the continuous education (CE) requirements set by your national certification board. These are:
- Proof of recertification or original certification.
- Your APRN graduation must be less than 5 years old, or you must have gained relevant work experience in the past 5 years.
- You must complete at least 2,080 hours of relevant practice in the past 5 years.
- Complete at least 40 contact hours of CE in the past 10 years in your specialization. Ten of these hours must be related to pharmacotherapeutics.
As a CNM, you do not have to complete any CE requirements, but you do have to prove competency through a reference from a licensed practitioner. CRNAs do not have to meet any CE requirements either, other than those set by their registration body.
Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Board of Nursing, Division of Public Health Licensure Unit
301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, Nebraska 68509 (402) 471-3121