Rhode Island is experiencing an increase in demand for nurses, just as everywhere else in the country. This makes it an interesting place to enter the nursing workforce, where you can also enjoy an average annual salary of $74,080. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that this salary is rising. So how do you become a nurse in Rhode Island?
ENTRY LEVEL PRACTICE NURSES
Entering the nursing workforce is a three stage process.
STAGE 1. CHOOSE WHETHER YOU WANT TO BECOME AN LPN OR AN RN.
The LPN (licensed practical nurse) should have completed a one year diploma program, while the RN (registered nurse) should have finished a two year associate’s degree (ADN) or four year bachelor’s degree (BSN). The longer you study, the better your job and growth prospects, and the better your salary.
STAGE 2. COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS.
These vary depending on the school. Most ADN and BSN programs will require you to complete a number of undergraduate courses.
STAGE 3. PASS YOUR NCLEX EXAM.
ADVANCED PRACTICE NURSES
According to the Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education, becoming an APN (advanced practice nurse) in Rhode Island is a four stage process.
STAGE 1. COMPLETE A GRADUATE DEGREE THAT IS REGIONALLY ACCREDITED, OR ACCREDITED BY AN AGENCY THAT THE BOARD RECOGNIZES.
You can check whether or not the program meets the necessary requirements through the U.S. Department of Education. In order for the program to be recognized, it must include didactic studies as well as a supervised clinical experience.
There are additional requirements for each recognized area of specialization, as follows:
- CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner) – you must complete a master’s degree (MSN) in nursing as a minimum.
- CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) – you must complete an MSN with a psychiatric and mental health nursing concentration.
- CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) – you must complete a program that is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
CRNPs may qualify for prescriptive authority if they have completed 30 hours in pharmacology in the past three years. A CNS must also complete 30 hours in pharmacology in the past three years, relating specifically to psychotropic drugs. A CNS is not able to apply for prescriptive privileges.
STAGE 2. BECOME NATIONALLY CERTIFIED IN YOUR AREA OF SPECIALIZATION.
You may choose to focus on a specific population. The national certification bodies recognized by the Board are:
• The National Board of Certification and Recertification for 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 AANP (American Academy of Nurse Practitioners), which recognizes the Adult Nurse Practitioner and the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP.
• 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).
STAGE 3. APPLY TO BE LICENSED WITH OR WITHOUT PRESCRIPTIVE AUTHORITY.
In order to do so, you must complete the relevant part(s) of the application form provided by the Board. You must also include various supporting evidence and documentation pertaining to your education, certification and identity. It will take between 7 and 10 weeks for you to receive your license.
Those who apply for licensure by endorsement are also able to apply for a 90 day Temporary Work Permit. However, they must hold a Rhode Island RN license and an advanced practice license from a different state. CRNAs must include transcripts of their program in order to receive the temporary permit. No prescriptive authority is granted on a temporary permit.
If you have also completed the relevant forms for prescriptive authority as a CNS or CRNP, you must also complete the Uniformed Controlled Substances Act Registration, which is in the application package. Once you receive your registration, you must apply for your DEA number and send a copy of this to the Board within 60 days of receiving it.
You must also pay all the necessary fees. The initial application is $130. Prescriptive privileges come with a fee of $50. Finally, if you want to prescribe controlled substances, the fee is $140. You may also need to pay a fee to the DEA.
STAGE 4. RENEW YOUR LICENSE BIANNUALLY BY MARCH 1.
You will receive a reminder of this by January 1. You can renew your RN license, APN license and prescriptive privileges online. You must also pay all the necessary fees, which are $90 for your RN license, $40 for your APN license, $40 for your prescriptive authority and $140 for your controlled substances.
You must also be able to demonstrate that you have maintained your national certification. This means complying with the continuous education (CE) requirements as set by your certification agency. The Boar has set additional CE requirements for all nurses, including those who are not currently practicing. 10 units of CE are required in each cycle of renewal. A unit is either 10 hours of CE or 100 hours of contact practice.
If you are a CRNP and hold prescriptive privileges, you must also demonstrate you took part in 30 hours of CE in pharmacology. As a CNS with prescriptive authority, you must also take part in 30 hours of CE in pharmacology, focusing specifically on psychotropic drugs. You must complete these hours every six years.
The CE hours can be completed online. They must, however, be part of a program recognized by the Board.
Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
RI Relay 711