If you are considering employment as a nurse in Oklahoma, an interesting career awaits you. As a mainly rural state, there are many underserved areas and demand for nurses is high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for a registered nurse (RN) in Oklahoma was $57,130. This is below the national average, but it is rising. Additionally, the cost of living in the state is below the national average. So how do you become a nurse in Oklahoma?
ENTRY LEVEL PRACTICE NURSES
The steps towards entering the nursing workforce are threefold:
STAGE 1. CHOOSE WHETHER YOU WANT TO BECOME AN LPN (LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE) OR RN.
While it takes just a one year diploma program to become an LPN, job prospects and salaries are low, so it is not a popular choice. Prospective nurses usually want to be an RN by completing a two year associate’s degree (ADN) or four year bachelor’s degree (BSN) instead.
STAGE 2. MEET THE REQUIREMENTS.
Most ADN and BSN programs will want you to complete some undergraduate courses in areas such as statistics before enrolling.
STAGE 3. PASS THE APPROPRIATE NCLEX EXAM.
The NLCEX exam for those who aspire to be LPNs is the NCLEX-PN while the NCLEX-RN exam is those who want to become RNs.
ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSES
STAGE 1. EARN A GRADUATE DEGREE IN ONE OF THE FOUR RECOGNIZED AREAS OF SPECIALIZATION.
These are the:
- CRNA – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
- CNM – Certified Nurse Midwife
- CNS – Clinical Nurse Specialist
- CNP – Certified Nurse Practitioner
Two semesters of the program at least must be dedicated to that area of specialization. Additionally, three core competency courses must be included across the board, which are:
- Health/physical assessment
- Advanced physiology/pathophysiology
The program must be fully accredited by a body that is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation or by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Additionally, it must recognize at least one population foci from the following:
- Family/Individual across the lifespan
- Psychiatric/mental health
- Women’s health/gender-related
Accreditation must be from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs or the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education.
As an APRN you may obtain prescriptive authority in Oklahoma. To be eligible, you must have completed 3 academic credit hours (45 contact hours) in the past three years in the use of pharmacological agents in the prevention of illness, pharmacotherapeutics in a clinical application and the use of pharmacological agents in the restoration and maintenance of health.
As a CNS, there are further requirements for prescriptive authority, being the completion of at least 30 contact hours (2 credit hours) in the management of pharmacotherapeutics relevant to your specialization; as well as a 320 hour preceptorship.
As a CRNA, you must also complete 15 units of pharmacology continuous education (CE) in relation to administering anesthesia.
STAGE 2. BECOME NATIONALLY CERTIFIED.
The Board recognizes the following national agencies:
• The NBCRNA.
• The ANCC.
• The PNCB.
• The AANP.
• The NCC.
• The AACN.
• The AMCB.
• The HIV/AIDS Nursing Certification Board.
• The ONCC.
• The Addictions Nursing Certification Board.
• The American Board of Neuroscience Nursing.
• The American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing Certification.
• The Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing.
• The Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board.
• The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators.
• The Nephrology Nursing Certification Commission.
• The ONCB
• The RNCB.
STAGE 3. APPLY FOR THE APRN LICENSE.
This is done through the online system. You must supply all relevant documentation and the necessary fees.
If you are also looking to gain prescriptive authority as a CNP, CNS or CNM, you must complete an additional form and include necessary documentation and fees. This includes a written statement from a licensed physician outlining your duties and responsibilities in terms of medication and drug management. If you also wish to prescribe Schedule III to V substances, you must apply for a DEA number, complete the affidavit in the application form and submit an additional fee.
CRNAs also have to complete a separate form if they wish to obtain prescriptive privileges. They are only able to administer anesthesia, and only while supervised by a licensed physician.
STAGE 4. RENEW YOUR LICENSE BIANNUALLY TOGETHER WITH YOUR RN LICENSE ON EVEN NUMBERED YEARS.
You must include evidence of your national certification with your renewal application. The fee for your APRN license renewal is $40 and for your RN license is $75. Additionally, if you wish to renew your prescriptive authority, a additional fee of $40 is needed. Your renewal can be completed fully online. You will receive a pocket license card from the Board within around three weeks of having renewed your license.
As a CNP, CNM or CNS, you must have taken part in 1 academic credit hour (15 contact hours) or CE in pharmacotherapeutics, using pharmacological agents and clinical application in the past two years in order to maintain your prescriptive authority. Additionally, you must include a written statement from a physician.
As a CRNA, you must complete 8 units of CE in advanced pharmacology focusing specifically on administering anesthesia within the past two years in order to retain your prescriptive authority.
There are no other CE requirements set by the Board. However, your national certification agency is likely to have various CE requirements that you must meet in order to maintain your certification.
Oklahoma Board of Nursing
2915 N Classen, Ste. 524
OKC, OK 73106
TEL: 405.962.1800 FAX: 405.962.1821