How To Become A Nurse In Michigan

Like many states, Michigan is experiencing a nursing shortage and is looking at innovative ways to train and recruit new nurses.

In addition to a growing aging generation placing demands on the healthcare system, baby-boomer nurses themselves are retiring, leaving a gap in the workforce which needs younger nurses. Michigan is below the national average in registered nurses per capita and is seeking qualified applicants.

The healthcare industry has grown tremendously in the Great Lakes state and is the single largest employer in many communities, especially those with hospitals. According to a Michigan Center for Nursing survey in 2012, the state has nearly 165,000 licensed nurses. Of those, 70 percent are registered nurses working in hospital in-patient or out-patient facilities.

Only about 17 percent of Michigan’s licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are working in hospitals, with nearly half employed in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

New Teaching Opportunities for Nurses in Michigan

In addition to losing retirement-age nurses, Michigan reports half of the nursing faculty in many state schools are eligible to retire. To help students move on to teaching positions, the governor established the Michigan Nursing Corps. It has $7 million to train clinical and classroom faculty. Participants receive tuition and stipends in return for agreeing to teach in Michigan nursing programs.

As a result Michigan has added 277 new clinical instructors and 150 new faculty-in-training since 2005. Higher education is valued in Michigan, which has invested $1 billion in biotechnology, which is an important part of the state’s economy — up there with automotive manufacturing.

The state has 120 companies in the life sciences industry located in the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, which invests in biotech at three internationally recognized research institutions in the state. Those three colleges — the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University — all offer nursing programs that U.S News ranks among the top 50 in the nation. The University of Michigan’s nursing school is No. 6 nationally.

Additionally, Michigan has scores of accredited colleges and community colleges on the list of the Michigan Board of Nursing’s approved educational programs.

State Developing Programs to Interest New Nurses

Michigan is not a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) where nurses have the ability to practice across state lines, but a Michigan Department of Community Health task force has recommended the state join in order to entice more nurses.

There is a multi-tiered process for a nursing graduates in both registered and practical nursing to obtain their two-year Michigan license to practice. The state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) oversees the state Board of Nursing which approves nursing schools.

The Bureau of Health Professions under LARA is one of three divisions within the state’s newly created Bureau of Health Care Services. That is where nursing graduates register to take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Exam) which is administered by Pearson Professional Testing for the state. If an applicant has a nursing degree or certificate from an institution that is not on the Board of Nursing list, they are not eligible to sit for the NCLEX in Michigan.

The non-profit Michigan League for Nursing also provides information on nursing education and has a scholarship fund for state students. The Michigan Nursing Students Association also has a wealth of information to assist prospective nurses in making their career decisions.

Nursing Schools in Michigan

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Nursing School Locations

Grand Rapids Community College
143 Bostwick Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 234-4722

Lansing Community College
419 North Capitol Avenue
Lansing, MI 48901
(517) 483-1957

Michigan State University
College of Nursing
A117 Life Sciences Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1317
(517) 353-4827

University of Michigan
School of Nursing
400 North Ingalls
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5482

Wayne State University
College of Nursing
5557 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202

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