How To Become A Nurse In Nebraska

Nurses are at a premium in Nebraska, which is famous for its insurance company headquarters. There has been a steady rise in demand for nurses in the state even though the number of active licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs) has increased there by about 20 percent in the past decade.

Only graduates of approved nursing programs are eligible to be licensed in Nebraska, which requires two to four years of education at a college, university or hospital. The two paths to becoming an RN in the state are through a two-year associate degree in nursing or a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing. RNs in Nebraska may practice independently.

LPNs must practice under the supervision of an RN or other licensed practitioner. In order to be eligible for licensure they must have completed nine months to a year in a nursing program typically offered at a community college. Nebraska has 30 schools for those interested in a nursing career to consider.

The state in the heartland of America also has a range of settings for a nurse live and practice in, from the many small towns dotting its Great Plains to hospitals in larger cities like Omaha and Lincoln, the capital city.

Nebraska Needs over Five Thousand Nurses by 2012

As long ago as 2000, when the state began to experience a nursing shortage, the legislature created the Nebraska Center for Nursing to address the problem and develop a strategic plan to come up with solutions. The center analyzes the numbers of licensed nurses and projects the supply and demand. According to its models of projected estimates, the state will need 5,581 new nurses by the year 2020.

That need — coupled with an anticipated increase in health care professionals required by many national health care reform changes that will insure more people — will open more doors for anyone interested in nursing in Nebraska. More than 57 percent of Nebraska’s nurses work in hospitals and state officials say the nursing shortage will impact the rural areas the most.

It is also expected that nurses will gain more autonomy in practicing in Nebraska, which is facing a loss of doctors. According to a study by the Center for Rural Health Research, nearly half of the doctors in the state are expected to retire within the next decade.

Nebraska nurses also can practice across state lines, because the Cornhusker state has been a member of the national Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) since 2001. The NLC provides for a mutual recognition licensing system that allows RNs and LPNs to hold a multi-state license that enables them to practice in any compact state. Other member compact states that are contiguous to Nebraska are South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri and Colorado.

State Colleges and Universities Preparing to Educate More Nurses

Several of Nebraska’s public and private educational institutions which offer nursing programs are also stepping up to meet the challenges of the increasing demand for nurses.

The School of Nursing at Creighton University, a Jesuit Catholic college established at Omaha in 1878, has an accelerated nursing program that is designed for students who already have a bachelor’s degree to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 12 months.

Nebraska Methodist College, ranked one of the 25 top nursing colleges in the nation, has a similar program that is ideal for students who already have degrees, but want to change to nursing careers without starting over.

The University of Nebraska is building to train more medical workers, including nurses. Among the projects are a $15 million addition for nursing at its Kearney campus and a $17 million education and research facility in Lincoln.

Top Nursing Schools in Nebraska

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Nursing School Locations

Creighton University
School of Nursing
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
(402) 280-2000

Metropolitan Community College
PO Box 3777
Omaha, NE 68103-0777
(402) 457-2400

Nebraska Methodist College
720 North 8th Street
Omaha, NE 68114
(402) 354-7000

University of Nebraska
1400 R Street
Lincoln, NE 58588′
(402) 472-7211

University of Nebraska Medical Center
College of Nursing
985330 Nebraska Medical Center
4111 Dewey Avenue
Omaha, NE 68198-5330

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