Maine’s registered nurses and licensed practical nurses are regulated by the Maine State Board of Nursing. Maine is a member of the nurse license compact, so nurses who live in another compact state (for example, New Hampshire) may work in Maine under a multi-state license issued in their own state. Other nurses may apply by examination or endorsement.
During the 2011 fiscal year, the Maine Board licensed 669 registered professional nurses and 103 licensed practical nurses. The Board also endorsed 715 RNs from other U.S. states, 6 from Canada, and 11 from other countries. 59 LPNs were endorsed from other states, and one from Canada. The National Nursing Database reports that Maine currently has 22,560 RNs and 2,584 LPNs who hold active licenses.
The Board is a source of various educational and practice resources, including social media guidelines for nurses. Licensing and practice rules do periodically change. Nurses can see proposed rule changes on the Board site.
The NCLEX exam is a licensing requirement. The Maine Board has periodically published NCLEX pass rates by school (http://www.maine.gov/boardofnursing/NCLEX/). The most recent figures are from 2011. Between October of 2010 and September of 2011, 87.5% of graduates who attempted the NCLEX-PN for the first time were successful. 90% of those attempting the NCLEX-RN were successful.
There are several professional organizations that Maine’s nurses will want to be aware of. One is the Maine State Nurses Association. The American Nurses Association – Maine is another. It provides continuing education and other professional resources (http://www.anamaine.org/). ANA-Maine has a small scholarship competition each year. Nursing students can also find information about national financial aid on the site (http://www.anamaine.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=25).
LPNs should complete an approved program in practical nursing. There is a list of approved programs, with contact information, on the Board site. Currently the state has just two LPN programs, at Central Maine Community College and Interstate Career Institute.
There are several factors to consider prior to selecting a practical nursing program. The article, LPN programs in Maine, will help you better understand these factors during your LPN program selection process.
Later the graduate will fill out an application for examination and licensure. The candidate may also request forms by calling (207) 287-1133. The application includes professional fitness questions. The applicant must attach a photo, have the application notarized, and submit it with a $50 fee. The candidate will declare the state of primary residency – if it’s a compact state other than Maine, the candidate shouldn’t be applying to the Maine Board.
The candidate must also register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX-PN (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex). A $200 fee will be assessed. After the candidate receives authorization from Pearson, the candidate will schedule a computerized exam. Details are found in the candidate handbook, which can be downloaded from the Pearson site.
After the candidate fulfills all requirements, the candidate will be sent a license. Although the paper license does not show an expiration date, it does need to be renewed annually. Employers can verify the current status of the license online at www.maine.gov/boardofnursing. LPNs can also find information about scope of practice on the Board site. An LPN will need to complete an additional approved course to perform certain IV procedures. Some are reserved for registered nurses.
An out of state LPN may be eligible for endorsement if the candidate has graduated from a program approved by the licensing agency in another U.S. state or territory. The candidate will need license verification. Many states handle license verification through Nursys.com; the Board has provided a list of these states. If licensing is in another state, the nurse should use a paper form. The form includes questions about the LPN’s educational background. A $50 fee must be submitted with the application. Endorsement candidates are sometimes issued a letter from the Board that allows them to practice while going through the endorsement process.
LPNs from Canada and other nations should be aware that the NCLEX will be required. International nurses must have a four year high school education as well as acceptable nursing education. A nurse who does not have a green card, occupational license, or social security number and current license in another U.S. state, is not ready to apply. The candidate may call the Board at 207-287-1133.
An RN candidate should enroll in an approved program. The Board site lists programs at the associate and baccalaureate levels.
Read the "RN Programs in Maine" article to learn about factors to consider when choosing a Registered Nursing program.
Later, the RN candidate will submit an application to the Board along with a $75 fee. Download the application by clicking here. The application must be notarized and include a 2 by 2 photo taken some time in the previous two years. Transcripts will be required only if the student graduated from an out of state program.
The candidate must also register for the NCLEX-RN exam. This will entail a $200 fee. The candidate will wait to receive an Authorization to Test, then schedule an exam.
RNs licensed in other states may apply by endorsement. They must obtain verification from their Board that their license is in good standing. Additionally, they must show evidence of having completed at least a two year program in nursing. In many cases, the license verification will provide this information. In other cases, transcripts will be required. They will be needed if an RN entered the field through a less traditional route (LPN to RN or completion of the certificate portion of a master’s program) or if the license verification does not include the required information. In the case of LPN to RN, both practical nursing and professional nursing transcripts are required.
Endorsement applications must be accompanied by a $75 nonrefundable fee (http://www.maine.gov/boardofnursing/Licensing/RN/lic_endorsement_rn.htm). If an applicant was not licensed on the basis of passing the NCLEX, the NCLEX will be required at this time. A 90 day letter may be issued to a candidate who is going through the endorsement process.
International nurses (with the exception of those from Canada) face additional requirements. They will need to pass an exam given by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools before they can request permission to take the NCLEX (http://www.maine.gov/boardofnursing/Licensing/Foreign/foreign_rn.htm). They should submit their transcripts in English.
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