How To Become A Nurse In Kansas

Nursing is a stable career that allows you to work on a variety of levels, in a variety of settings but gives you job security. Health care professionals are always in demand and rarely laid off. Becoming a nurse allows you to work in the medical field at a level that is comfortable for you, as well as work in nursing management and other high-level positions. For those who have never worked in the medical field, you can spend 12 to 18 months in school and become an LPN or Licensed Practical Nurse, and be able to provide basic care to patients and use the experience to decide if you want to further your nursing career. If you already are an LPN or have worked in the medical field, you can go to school to become an RN or Registered Nurse with a two-year or four-year degree. While finances will play a part in the level of nursing you attain, your career goals should be the biggest factor when choosing how far you want to go in your schooling to be a nurse. If you are unsure if you are even cut out for the medical field, becoming an LPN requires the least amount of school and the least investment. LPN programs are offered at most community colleges, vocational and technical schools and the entire program is relatively inexpensive. It allows you to get your foot in the door and work at a level that you can determine if nursing is the right career for you or not. If you decide you do want to further your career, many employers offer tuition assistance programs that allow you to attain a higher degree without the worry of the financial burden it will create. If you choose to become an RN with an associate’s degree, you will be able to work in any general nursing area in a variety of facilities. Becoming an RN with a bachelor’s degree allows you to work in a nursing specialty, or even in a nursing management for facility supervisor position. Unless you are sure you want to work in a specialty or management, it is smart to get your associate’s degree, work in the nursing field to gain experience and try to find a facility that offers tuition assistance if you choose to further your nursing career. No matter which degree you choose, you should apply to a four-year college or university. This allows you to return to the same school to continue to your bachelor’s degree and you will enter familiar surroundings.

No matter what level of nursing you decide on LPN or RN you want to make sure that the school is accredited by the Kansas Board of Nursing. The Kansas Board of nursing is responsible for making sure that all schools that offer any nursing training provide a complete curriculum that allows you to successfully pass the state exam you must pass in order to get your nursing license to work in Kansas. As an LPN, you will be required to take the NCLEX-PN or the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical Nurses. As an RN at either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree level, you will need to pass the NCLEX-RN or National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses. These tests are administered by the Kansas Board of Nursing and are made up of four sections, each of which you must pass in order to pass the exam as a whole and attain your license to practice nursing in the State of Kansas. The following will provide you information on what is involved in becoming a nurse and what to expect when you start in the field.

LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse)

Choosing to become an LPN is a good choice for someone who has no medical experience. It allows you to learn basic nursing skills, but not invest a long time in school or a lot of money. LPN training is offered at most community colleges, vocational and technical schools, which allows you more flexibility in classes so you can continue to work while you go to school. Depending on whether you attend full time or part time, you can complete an LPN program in 12 to 18 months. Do not be discouraged if you apply to school and are put on a waiting list, this is very common with LPN programs due to their popularity and the affordability of community colleges. While you are on the waiting list, you can take all the other classes you are required to take, which helps you to move up on the waiting list as long as your GPA is higher than the limit to enter an LPN program, which in most schools is a 2.0. Again, before you apply to a school, you want to make sure that the program is accredited by the Kansas Board of Nursing so that you are learning all the skills and information to need to pass the state licensing exam.

Working as an LPN your scope of practice, or care you are permitted by law to provide, will be quite narrow. You will be allowed to administer basic care, none of which will require any nursing judgment or decisions. An RN will supervise all tasks you perform as well. With additional training, you can be certified to pass medications and start and provide IV (intravenous) therapy. These courses are usually offered by state licensed facilities and depending on where you gain employment, they may assist you in gaining these certificates.

RN (Registered Nurse)

If you are already an LPN or work in a medical environment, you are aware of what being a nurse involves. In this case, applying to school to attain your RN degree is a good choice. As mentioned above, whether you decide on a two-year or four-year degree initially, you will want to try to attend a four-year college or university. This makes it much easier to return to the same school to attain a higher degree in the future and not go through all of the admissions process again. You want to make sure that the school is provided a nursing education that is accredited by the Kansas Board of Nursing. You want to make sure that when you graduate with either degree, you will have the knowledge and skills to pass the state proctored exam and attain your license to practice as an RN in the State of Kansas. If you decide on your associate’s or two-year degree and successfully complete the program and attain your license, you will be able to work in any general nursing area. You will have the ability to work in a number of facilities as an RN providing patient care that requires nursing judgment and decision making, as well as supervising LPNs. If you work in general nursing for a period of time and decide there is a specialty you want to work in, you can return to school, usually with tuition assistance, to attain your bachelor’s degree. When graduating with a bachelor’s degree you have many more options. You can work in general nursing at an RN or nurse management level, or you can work in a medical specialty such as Geriatrics or Pediatrics. Usually it is easier to attain your associate’s degree and spend time working in the field to see what direction you want take your bachelor’s degree.

Working as an RN, you have a large scope of practice that includes not only caring for patients, but also assessing them and making decisions and suggestions about their care. You will be able to provide a wide variety of care including passing medications, starting and maintain IVs as well as providing specialized care such as using machines like ventilators and heart monitors. As an RN with a bachelors you can provide patient care in a specialized area, or work in areas with minimal or no patient care such as nursing management or even become a director of nursing overseeing all other nurses in a facility.

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

Choosing between an associate’s and bachelor’s degree should first be based on your career goals, then take finances into account. While most people do not have four years to devote to school if they need to work, attaining an associate’s degree gives you the opportunity to work in nursing as an RN, but still have the option of becoming an RN with a bachelor’s degree with tuition assistance. Larger medical facilities would rather provide tuition assistance to employees than hire employees from the outside to fill higher-level nursing positions. Some people find working as an RN with an associate’s degree fulfilling and never return to school, while others want to move more into management and care planning with a bachelor’s degree and be less involved in direct patient care.

All medical professionals including nurses are required to complete Continuing Education (CE) credits throughout the year. These usually monthly seminars provide you updates in all areas of nursing that help you keep up to date in your skills. While larger facilities offer these on-site to their staff, they are also available online if you are unable to attend or your facility does not offer them. They are mandatory, as you must have a set number of credits, which is determined by the State of Kansas to renew your license every two years.

Nursing Schools in Kansas

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

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Nursing School Locations

University of Kansas
Mail Stop 2029
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone number: (913)588-1619

Wichita State University
1845 Fairmount
Wichita, KS 67260-0041
Phone Number: (316) 978-5704

Fort Hays State University
600 Park Street
Hays, KS 67601-4099
Phone Number: (785) 628-3478

Pittsburg State University
McPherson Building
Pittsburg, KS 66762-7500
Phone Number: (620)235-4431

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