Ohio is a fantastic state to work in as a nurse. Demand is high and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the average annual salary for a registered nurse (RN) in 2013 was $61,750 and rising. So how do you become a nurse in Ohio?
ENTRY LEVEL PRACTICE NURSES
There are three general stages to become an entry level nurse in the state.
STAGE 1. DECIDE WHETHER YOU WANT TO BE AN LPN (LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE) OR RN.
LPNs need to complete a one year diploma program. While this sounds interesting due to the short duration, job prospects and salary are not that good. Hence, most will choose to be an RN by completing a two year ADN (associate’s degree) program, or a four year BSN (bachelor’s degree) program.
STAGE 2. MEET THE PREREQUISITES.
Besides getting your high school diploma or GED, ADN and BSN programs will often require you to complete a number of undergraduate courses as well. You must try to do well on these, as admission is very competitive.
STAGE 3. PASS THE RELEVANT NCLEX EXAMINATION.
The NCLEX examination for LPNs is the NCLEX-PN and for RNs, it is the NCLEX-RN
ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSES
Once you have obtained your RN license, you may want to consider studying on towards becoming an advanced practice nurse (APN). The Ohio Board of Nursing describes this as a four stage process.
STAGE 1. EARN A GRADUATE EDUCATION AT MASTER’S LEVEL.
This degree must prepare you for a national certification examination recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Additionally, the Board has set minimum standards for the curriculum requirements for these programs. As such, they must include:
- Advanced pathophysiology
- Advanced health assessment
- Advanced pharmacology
Furthermore, as Ohio is part of the Consensus Model, you have a choice of six different population foci to specialize in. These are adult health and gerontology; family/individual health across the lifespan; pediatrics; neonatology; psychiatric mental health; and women’s health and gender-related health.
You may apply for prescriptive authority as an APN in Ohio. To obtain this, you must have completed advanced pharmacology courses, including clinical application and pharmacokinetic principles. These courses must be at least 45 hours. Thirty-six of these must focus on clinical application, pharmacokinetics and using therapeutic devices and drugs. The other six must focus on the ethical, legal and fiscal implications of prescribing medication.
STAGE 2. BECOME NATIONALLY CERTIFIED IN A RECOGNIZED AREA OF SPECIALIZATION.
The four roles accepted by the Board are:
- CNM – Certified Nurse Midwife
- CNP – Certified Nurse Practitioner
- CNS – Clinical Nurse Specialist
- CRNA – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
The following national certification agencies are recognized by the Board:
• The National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA), 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 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 CNS, 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 National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses (NBCHPN), which recognizes the Advanced Practice Hospice and Palliative Nurse (APHCN), the Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse Practitioner and the Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.
STAGE 3. GET YOUR CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY.
Sign and notarize the affidavit and complete all relevant documents in the Certificate of Authority. You must include supportive documents and relevant fees.
If you also want to apply for prescriptive authority, you must complete form CTP-E in the application package. Additionally, you must include relevant documentation and the necessary fees. The first form you will receive allows you to work in an externship that must include at least 1,500 hours of supervision. Once this has been completed, you will hold full prescriptive privileges.
Some APNs are given enhanced authority to allow them to prescribe controlled substances. You must complete six hours of continuing education (CE) in order to receive the relevant CTP for this.
As a CNM, CNP or CNS, you must enter into a standard care arrangement with a physician. As a CNS with psychiatric mental health or mental health specialization you have to identify a collaborating physician, but you do not have to enter into a standard care arrangement.
STAGE 4. RENEW YOUR CERTIFICATE OF AUTHORITY.
Do this every other year in odd numbered years before July 1. This can be completed online. You must pay the relevant fees for this as well. Furthermore, you must meet the CE requirements as set by the state. To renew your RN license, you must complete 24 hours of CE in that time period. These also count towards your APN license. You must also complete all the CE requirements as set by your national certification agency. If you wish to keep prescriptive privileges, you must also complete 12 hours of advanced pharmacology education.
Ohio Board of Nursing
17 South High Street Suite 400
Columbus, Ohio 43215