How To Become A Nurse In Missouri

Good nurses care for their patients and in Missouri, one of many states facing a shortage of qualified nurses, the state government has launched a program called “Caring for Missourians” to train more nursing students to enter critical-need healthcare fields.

That means this is a good time for anyone considering nursing as a career to get in on the ground floor in Missouri, where in the past students were being turned away from nursing programs in the “Show Me” state.

Missouri has nearly 13,000 unfilled nursing positions, falling tenth among states with the most severe nursing shortages.

In 2009 the state legislature showed its commitment to prospective nursing students by providing $40 million to help Missouri’s two- and four-year public colleges and universities expand their healthcare training programs to ensure necessary primary care for state residents. As many as 95 of Missouri’s 114 counties are seeing health professional shortages, while the hospitals need more than 1,500 more registered nurses.

The state’s investment resulted in educational support for 1,100 students in healthcare training where 85 percent of them received their associate degrees or certification to enter the field as nursing assistants.

Missouri Spending Millions for New Nursing Programs

Last year the Missouri governor announced plans to spend another $3 million to fund grants to hire more nursing instructors, estimating the money will pay for about 13 full-time positions each year. The funds are coming from nurse licensing fees that current nurses pay to the state Board of Nursing.

State law regulates the licensed nursing profession, sets standards for the approval of nursing schools in Missouri, determines the scope of practice of licensed nurses, and defines who may use the title of registered nurse (RN) and licensed practical nurse (LPN) in the state.

RNs perform nursing duties under the supervision of doctor or dentist and the physician may delegate an RN to order, receive and dispense medicines. An LPN practices under the supervision of an RN, physician or dentist.

There are several different paths to becoming an RN, beginning with getting an Associate of Science in Nursing degree, which usually takes two years at a college or other program and Missouri has dozens of schools and community colleges offering certification for LPNs.

The State of Missouri has approximately 70,000 licensed RNs and 24,000 LPNs working in a variety of healthcare settings. The Board of Nursing examines the applications of graduate nurses who request to be licensed in Missouri, after passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure) examination. Nurses who apply for endorsement of their nursing license from another state or country also go through an evaluation process.

Missouri’s Nurses Can Also Work in Neighboring States

Missouri has been in the national Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) since 2010 and that also allows nurses from other compact-member states to practice in Missouri. The pact expands the mobility of nurses as part of the nation’s healthcare delivery system.

Missouri’s abutting state neighbors in the NLC include Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky and Tennessee. In Missouri, state nursing licensees receive a two-year license, with the RNs renewing on the odd years and the LPNs renewing on the even years.

With many nurses retiring, Missouri is encouraging young people to choose a career in nursing. The state offers a Nursing Student Loan program to provide a means to education in nursing to those who cannot readily pay for it. At the same time, it provides access to health care for Missourians in designated shortage areas.

The loan requires the nurse to work full time in an area of need determined by the Department of Health. Funding is provided through a license surcharge collected by the Board of Nursing. Those funds are transferred to the Health Department to administer.

Nursing School Programs in Missouri

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Nursing School Locations

Chamberlain College of Nursing
1183 Westline Industrial Drive
St. Louis, MO 63146
(314) 991-6283

Cox College
1423 North Jefferson Avenue
Springfield, MO 65802
(417) 269-3401

Maryville University
650 Maryville University Drive
St. Louis, MO 63141
(314) 529-9300

Metropolitan Community College
3200 Broadway
Kansas City, MO 64111
(816) 604-1000

Washington School of Practical Nursing
1978 Image Drive
Washington, MO 63090
(636) 231-2141

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