LPN or RN: You’ll need to graduate from an accredited nursing program that was accredited by ACEN – Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or CCNE – Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Once you graduate you can then and only then be eligible to take the NCLEX exam. If you successfully pass the NCEX all you have to do is pay your licensure application fee and you’ll become a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nurse.
In Florida schools can be approved as well as accredited. A school can be approved to offer nursing programs but not be accredited.
In Florida Registered Nurses are required to successfully complete 24 hours of CE courses during your renewal period.
Nurses are in demand and it predicted to increase by 15%. The average salary according to the BLS for registered nurses is $62,720. The state has over 160,000 registered nurses with the highest 10% making over $81,000. The highest salaries in the state were in the following cities:
Boca Raton, FL - $66,250 salary
Fort Lauderdale $66,555 salary
Hollywood $67,450 salary
Tampa, FL $68,665 salary
Sarasota, FL $65,570 salary
Pensacola, FL $66,870 salary
Jacksonville, FL $67,680 salary
Critical Thinking Skills – Must be able to think on your feet regarding a patient’s health.
Pressure – Have the ability to stay calm under pressure and work in a fast paced environment.
Communication – You’ll be dealing with other nurses, patients and doctors on a daily basis and it is necessary to be a great listener.
Customer Service Driven – Have the knowhow to work with the families of patients and be professional with colleagues and management.
Certification – Become ACLS certified within 6 months of employment with great physical assessment skills.
Language - High level of written and oral communication skills with bilingual a plus (Spanish or Chinese).
How long is a typical registered nurse program?
The typical program takes 2 years to complete.
How do I pick the best school to attend?
Finding a school is easy but choosing the right one can be difficult since you do have so many to choose for in Florida. We recommend get a referral first from someone that you know and trust. An honest referral is the best way to make sure the school you are attending is a good school. If you don’t know a nurse you can always look online and solicit a referral from your local hospital. Local nurses probably all got their education from schools in the area. One thing to avoid is to simply conduct a search online and enroll in the top school that shows up. Typically for-profit schools are very aggressive with their marketing but that doesn’t mean they are the right choice for you.
Can I change nursing schools?
It depends on the program but you should be able to transfer to another nursing school if you have issues with the one you are in. Be sure to check the credit transfer policy for both schools.
Can I receive financial aid to attend nursing school?
You can always apply for federal financial aid if the school offers it and the approval rate depends on a lot of different factors. If you are looking for aid that you don’t have to pay back that is administered on a needs basis. You can also look for scholarships locally that could help with your overall tuition costs.
Is going to school to become an LVN or RN hard?
The simple answer is yes. Going to school to become a nurse isn’t easy. Unlike some vocational program becoming a nurse involves taking a very hard test once you are done with your training. Some schools might only have a 50% pass rate on the exam so it is important to try to find a school that has an opening for you that also has a high pass rate.
It nursing a good career path?
In Florida nurses are in demand and we do not see this trend reversing anytime soon. The Florida economy has been hurt over the years and current nurses are being recruited by other states that are offering more money. If you are a new nurse in FL it is a great opportunity for you to enter the market and have a lasting career at a good hospital. The healthcare industry nationwide has continued to grow bigger as people live longer and more people have healthcare insurance.
Where do I find a nursing job in Florida?
Depending if you are an LVN or RN you shouldn’t have a hard time finding employment in Florida, even if you just graduated. Before you even graduate you should be working with your school on your resume. Also during your externship you could be a good candidate for employment once you pass your NCLEX.
The healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing segments in the nation and demand is likely to continue going up for the foreseeable future. The pending retirement of many in the Baby Boomer generation is anticipated to result in increased vacancies in a wide range of professions, including those associated with the medical field, while also leading to higher demands for care as their population ages.
Additionally, the change in the number of people with medical insurance due to the Affordable Care Act has increased the demand for medical professionals across the nation even further, as medical services have become more affordable for certain parts of the population at large.
These shifts in demand will lead to a variety of opportunities to work in the medical field. Whether you want to provide care for the aging Baby Boomer population, help the members of Gen-X and Millennials start and care for their families, focus on the treatment of a particular condition that is close to your heart, or something else entirely, pursuing a career as a nurse can give you the opportunity to do just that.
As you increase your level of experience, and add new the credentials along the way, you can develop the skills necessary to excel in this growth industry, providing more opportunities for advancement and raising your earning potential too.
The requirements to become a nurse in the state of Florida vary depending on the kind of nurse you would like to be, though the majority require a level of education beyond a high school diploma or its equivalent. Additionally, many choose to continue advancing their educational qualifications as they work in the field. This allows a person to significantly increase their earning potential over the course of their life as well as providing a way to control the direction of their career through experience and applicable education.
Certain convictions in a person’s criminal history may prevent them from being licensed by the state of Florida. Depending on the results of the background check, the applicant may have the ability to provide additional information for consideration prior to a determination being made. Violent crimes and repeat offenders will automatically require a review by the Florida Board of Nursing.
A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, provides patients with a basic level of care under the direction and supervision of other nursing staff. They may assist with feeding and bathing the patient, assist in the moving and transport patients, and other duties as assigned. The primary focus of a CNA is patient care, leading them to work directly with patients quite often. In Florida, the mean annual wage is $24,510, with potential to make wages in the mid-$30,000.
Most commonly, a person interested in becoming a CNA will start by enrolling in a state-approved nursing assistant program through a local college, university or vocational school. Depending on the exact program selected, and the speed at which you can take courses, the total time to completion may range from a few credit hours to as much as two years.
In more traditional educational programs, courses on a variety of healthcare related subjects will be covered, including information regarding infectious disease management, anatomy and physiology, and professional ethics. Additional hands-on training will help ensure students have an opportunity to gain the skills necessary to perform the job duties successfully.
A state-approved training program is not required in order to take the state mandated examination unless you are under the age of 18. However, participating in a state approved program will help ensure you have been introduced to the skills and competencies necessary to pass the examination offered by the Florida Board of Nursing.
The examination is composed of two sections, one written and one skills oriented, both of which must be passed in order to secure certification. If you do not successfully pass the examination in the first three attempts, you may be required to participate in a state approved program in order to be eligible to test again.
Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is often the next step beyond working as a nursing assistant. As with other healthcare related positions, the need for LPNs is expected to rise at a rate of 16 percent (between 2014 and 2024). Based on the BLS assessments, the average annual pay rate for LPNs in the state of Florida was $42,320.
LPNs can perform all of the duties of a CNA, along with some more advanced techniques. Additionally, they will have responsibilities regarding overall patient comfort, performing basic health monitoring tasks, and assist in record keeping.
Unlike the CNA certification, graduation from an approved or accredited nursing program is required before the final examination can be taken. Programs to become an LPN often take around one year to complete, but may take more or less time depending on the exact program attended. The information covered will be both classroom and clinical based learning, conveying the necessary knowledge and skills required to successfully perform the duties that will be expected by most employers.
Once the approved program is complete, it will be necessary to pass the licensing examination offered by the Florida Board of Nursing. As with the CNA license, applicants will have no more than three attempts permitted before additional remedial coursework will be required. In order to be successfully licensed both the written and practical portions of the exam must be completed with a satisfactory score.
LPNs will have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments from larger hospital facilities to smaller clinics.
A Registered Nurse, or an RN, provides significant support to both doctors and patients. They have the knowledge and skills necessary to create and modify treatment plans regarding patient care, as well as administer medications and various treatments. Additionally, they can operate certain pieces of medical equipment and perform specified tests and other diagnostics. Depending on the work environment, an RN may even supervise LPNs or CNAs.
Becoming an RN starts with a quality education, though the form of education may vary. Obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree, focused on Nursing, is a primary way to gain the knowledge and skills required to successfully pass the licensing examinations. Alternatively, certain Associate’s degree programs in nursing may provide the information needed, as well as an approved nursing programs that use an alternative educational model.
Regardless of the path chosen, all educational options will provide a mix of classroom and clinical learning opportunities designed to cover the materials needed to successfully perform the job duties most commonly associated with the positions an RN may hold.
Once the approved program is complete, it will be necessary to pass the Florida Board of Nursing examination at the proper level. As with the CNA and LPN licenses, RN applicants will have no more than three attempts permitted. After the third failed attempt, additional remedial coursework will be required. Both the written and practical tests must be completed.
In Florida, the average annual salary for an RN is $63,960. Most RNs work as part of a team of medical professionals, including physicians, LPNs, CNAs, and other specialists. Often, RNs are employed within various hospitals or clinics, focusing on either overall care or specializing in a particular niche. There also may be opportunities to provide services in other environments, such as various schools, ranging from elementary to high schools, or in certain research capacities in both the private and public sector.
A Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) is a form of RN that has completed additional work towards a specific medical specialty. They maintain the same rights and responsibilities associated with an RN, such as the ability to prescribe medication, administer diagnostic tests, and perform other relevant work, but have dedicated additional time to learning about a particular subspecialty within the medical community.
In the state of Florida, this often requires a minimum of a master’s degree along with the completion of a minimum amount of clinical hours relating to the specialty.
A CNS may specialize based on a variety of criteria. Some specialize based on a segment of the population, such as focusing in pediatric or geriatric care, while others specialize on a particular setting, such as emergency room or critical care.
Specialties can also be found in the treatment of particular diseases of conditions. A CNS may specialize in oncology, mental health, autoimmune conditions, or other medical subspecialties. Additionally, they may focus on treatment areas, such as wound care.
The level of specialization allows a CNS to provide consultative services to other medical professionals regarding their area of expertise, as well as provide care directly to patients and work as part of a larger medical team. Most CNSs earn an annual income between $65,000 to over $110,000 depending on the environment in which they work and their associated specialty.
An Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, or an ARNP, shares many job duties with RNs and CNSs, but have some additional options or abilities. In some states, Florida included, an ARNP can prescribe medication to patients in need, and may work relatively independently within their specialty, not requiring the direct supervision of a physician to conduct certain actions or make certain decisions. They have the knowledge necessary to diagnose certain conditions, as well as refer patients to specialists when necessary.
ARNPs may participate in general medicine as a Nurse Practitioner (NP), such as what is most often associated with family or internal medicine, or in an environment referred to as a general practice. ARNPs may also choose to specialize in particular areas, but may need to complete additional training in order to do so. Nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) have the training necessary to provide anesthesia and any associated care. Nurse midwives (CNMs) focus on providing health care to women, including care related to the fields of gynecology and obstetrics.
Becoming an ARNP requires a certain amount of formal education. First, you must complete the education necessary, and pass the requisite examination, to become an RN. While a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing is not always a requirement in order to enter the program, it is often preferred as the program is designed to effectively complete a Master’s Degree in Nursing. Some choose to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree instead of the master’s degree.
The classwork will include advanced understandings of anatomy and physiology, biology, and additional information on pharmacology. Other courses will focus on the student’s chosen specialty, providing the specific knowledge needed to perform within the particular field.
Outside of the classroom, additional clinical experience must also be acquired. The majority of students joining an ARNP program will have worked as an RN previously, providing them a level of hands-on experience prior to the beginning of the program, but additional hours may be mandated as part of the graduation requirements for the program.
Along with the higher levels of potential responsibility comes higher earning potential, with the mean annual salary in Florida for 2015 at $95,780. Unlike the other nursing professions, an ARNP will likely be required to purchase malpractice insurance depending on how and where their duties are performed. The majority of exemptions to the malpractice requirement include those who work solely for a government organization, function entirely in an instructional/teaching capacity at an approved locations, or do not practice within the state of Florida.
Aside from CNAs, all licensed nurses must complete specific continuing education requirements in order to be eligible to renew their licenses. The requirements are designed to make sure those performing nursing services have the latest knowledge regarding the field, as well as updates on any changes in applicable laws or regulations on a state or national level. All continuing education hours must be approved by the Florida Board of Nursing or an applicable national organization of a similar nature.