How To Become A Nurse In Hawaii

Nursing is a career choice that allows you to move up at your own level based on your career goals. If you have not medical experience, limited time or finances, you can choose to become an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse. You can finish training as an LPN in as little as 12 to 18 months, and it gives you a foot in the door of the medical field. If you are already an LPN, or working in any other area of medicine, you can become an RN with either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in as little as two years for the associate’s degree or four years for the bachelor’s degree. Choosing between the two or four year degrees again is based on your career goals and financial means to attend school. While working as an LPN you will only be able to provide basic nursing care and be very limited, it can be a stepping-stone to work further up in your nursing career. Not everyone is able to handle working as a nurse, and it is much better to find out after a year of school than four years of school. Even if you attain your LPN and find that nursing is not for you, you can take your medical knowledge and work in other areas of medicine that do not include patient care, so you better your employment position either way. LPN programs are also very affordable as they are offered mostly by community colleges, vocational and technical schools. It also allows you to have a flexible school schedule so you can continue to work and have an income while you are in school. Becoming an RN requires more commitment to school, but many people are still able to work and become an RN at the same time. A two-year degree will enable you to work in various areas of nursing, as well as supervise LPNs. A four-year degree will enable you to work in general nursing, a specialty area of medicine, or in nursing management. The one thing that is common among all training programs is that you make sure that they are accredited by the Hawaii Board of Nursing. The Hawaii Board of nursing is responsible for assuring that any program you enroll in offers the correct curriculum to ensure that you pass the state proctored exam to attain your license to practice as an LPN or RN in Hawaii. To attain your license to practice as an LPN, you must pass the NCLEX-PN or the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses. To attain your license as an RN, you must pass the NCLEX-RN or the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

If you have never worked in any type of medical field, choosing to become an LPN is a good start. It allows you to work as a nurse, but requires the least amount of education and financial obligation. Even if you become an LPN and after working, decide it is not the field for you, your medical skills can be used to work in other areas of the medical field that do not require direct patient care. Most community colleges, vocational school and technical schools provide LPN training. This allows you to still work, as most provide a flexible schedule, and is not a large financial obligation. It is very common to be put on a waiting list when applying to a community college to take your actual nursing courses, as it is a popular field. Even if you are put on a waiting list, you can continue to take your other required courses in the meantime. You still want to make sure before you apply to any school that is accredited by the Hawaii Board of Nursing, so you can be assured you can attain your license after you successfully complete the program. The Hawaii Board of Nursing assures that the program provides you with adequate training to pass the NCLEX-PN exam.

While working as an LPN provides you with only limited care you can provide, or what is known as scope of practice, it is a great way to start in the medical field. As a basic LPN you cannot pass medications, start, or administer IV (intravenous) therapy, but you can provide basic nursing care under the supervision of an RN. You can however, attend additional training to become certified to pass medication and start and maintain IV therapy. Depending on your place of employment, they may even provide financial assistance for you to complete this additional training to help them create a more diverse nursing staff.

RN (Registered Nurse)

If you are already an LPN, or work in the medical field in any other way, becoming an RN is the logical choice. Deciding on which degree you should attain as an RN should be a decision based on your career goals and financial ability to attend school. No matter which degree you decide on, you should apply to a four-year college, so if you decide to return for your bachelor’s degree, the application process will be much quicker and easier. An RN with an associate’s degree is very versatile and can work in many areas of medicine as well as provide a variety of care. Working as an RN with either degree, you are expected to provide patient care using your nursing judgment and skills as well as contribute to patient care plans. If you are unsure if you want to work in a specialty area of medicine or in nursing management, you should spend some time working with your associate’s degree to give you an opportunity to decide on your career goals. Larger facilities that employ nurses also offer tuition assistance for their nursing staff, which can help you attain your bachelor’s degree with less of a financial burden. If you decide you want to work in a specialty or in nursing management, you can return to school and attain your bachelor’s degree. Once you successfully complete either your associate’s or bachelor’s degree, you must take the state proctored NCLEX-RN and pass it to work as a licensed RN in Hawaii.

An RN with either degree has a much larger scope of practice than an RN, and is usually responsible for supervising LPNs. RN’s are required to use not only their skills, but their nursing judgment to provide immediate patient care as well as contribute to planning their continuing care. You will also be responsible for monitoring and assessing patients. With the larger amount of responsibility does come more stress, but most RN positions provide you with a well above average income.

Becoming an RN – Associate’s versus Bachelor’s degrees

As mentioned above, deciding on what degree you should attain should depend on your career goals and financial situation. If you attain your associate’s degree and find a job working in a facility that offers tuition assistance, if you decide to return to get your bachelor’s degree, there will be less of a financial burden. If you are unsure if you want to work in a specialized area of nursing or in nursing management, it is again better to attain your associate’s degree and work in the field for a period of time to decide if you want to further your education or not. Some people are happier working in a variety of nursing areas and providing direct patient care, which your associate’s degree provides. If you decide you want to work in a specialty or get away from direct patient care and work in management, a bachelor’s degree will allow you to do this. It is very common for people to become and RN with an associate’s degree, work for a period of time, then return to school at some later point to attain their bachelor’s degree.

Both LPNs and RNs are required to continually keep their skills current. This is done by completing a certain number of CE or Continuing Educations credits per year. Larger facilities will usually offer opportunities to attain these credits on site, but if you work in a facility does not offer them or they are not at a convenient time, you can accrue them through classes online as well. The Hawaii Board of Nursing sets the number of credit hours required per year that you must complete in order to renew your nursing license every two years.

Nursing Schools in Hawaii

While the LPN program is offered at a majority of technical schools, vocational schools and community colleges in Hawaii, the following schools are based on those attending for an RN degree of any level.

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Nursing School Locations

University of Hawaii Manoa
2528 McCarthy Mall
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone Number: (808) 956-8523

Hawaii Pacific University
45-045 Kamehameha Highway
Kaneohe, HI 96744
Phone Number: (808) 544-1135

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