Nebraska’s RNs and LPNs are licensed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_nursing_rn-lpn_rn-lpn). The state currently has 25,508 RNs and 7,335 LPNs.
Nebraska is a member of the nurse licensure compact states. Nurses who have residency (and hold licensing) in another compact state are permitted to practice in Nebraska under a multistate license issued by their own state board. Nurses licensed in non-compact states must get a Nebraska license; this process is called endorsement. A license is required to offer nursing services to Nebraska patients, even if they are offered by electronic means rom afar.
First time nursing candidates must take and pass the NCLEX at the PN or RN level. There are review courses for those who need them. The Nebraska Department website includes a link to review materials offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (http://learningext.com/).
The Nebraska Nurses Foundation has some scholarships available at the undergraduate level (http://www.nebraskanurses.org/). The Nebraska Health Care Foundation also offers small scholarships to individuals interested in pursuing a nursing career (http://www.nehca.org/aspx/general/). The state of Nebraska is a potential source of forgivable loans.
In order to be licensed as an LPN, a candidate must complete an approved program. Nebraska does not license candidates who have completed alternative education (military corpsman who did not complete approved nursing programs or students who have partially completed registered nursing programs). The Department does, however, authorize international candidates to take the NCLEX-PN when they have completed first-level nursing programs but failed the NCLEX-RN. There is contact information available on the department site for candidates who have licensing questions (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_nursing_rn-lpn_examination.aspx).
A list of approved Nebraska programs can also be found on the department site (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_nursing_rn-lpn_edprograms).
The graduate will turn in an application to the department (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_nursing_rn-lpn_apps.aspx). The candidate will need to document age and citizenship or lawful presence in the United States. The candidate must have transcripts sent directly from the school of nursing.
In most cases, the fee will be $123 (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_nursing_rn-lpn_fees.aspx). If the applicant is submitting the paperwork in the final six months of the two year renewal cycle, though, it will be just $30.75. (The application packet itself includes a chart that shows what to pay.)
The candidate will also need to submit registration to take the NCLEX-PN (www.vue.com/nclex). There is a $200 fee due with registration. The testing company and the Nebraska Department will communicate and if all eligibility requirements are met, the candidate will be authorized to schedule the exam. The ATT grants a 90 day window.
Although membership is not tied to licensure, practical nurses may also want to join the Licensed Practical Nurse Association of Nebraska (http://www.nehca.org/aspx/lpnan/).
A nurse who has been licensed in another jurisdiction may be eligible for license by endorsement. Nebraska accepts, in addition to the NCLEX, the state pool exam (a predecessor to the NCLEX).
If the applicant is currently licensed, the candidate may be granted a temporary permit once the candidate has submitted the application, fee, proof of citizenship or lawful status, and a notarized copy of the license. There is no additional fee for the temporary permit, but the candidate should indicate that the candidate wants it.
The candidate will need transcripts and official license verification before the permanent license can be issued. License verification can be done online provided the state where the nurse is licensed uses Nursys.com. In this case, verification will be a quick process. If the candidate is not from a Nursys.com state, the candidate will submit a paper form to the board.
If a nurse has not practiced at least 500 hours in the previous five years (and did not graduate in the previous two year period) the candidate must take a refresher course. The requirement for theory is 45 contact hours; the clinical requirement is 30 contact hours. A list of approved courses is available (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_nursing_rn-lpn_refresher.aspx).
International LPN candidates must also demonstrate English proficiency by taking the TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC.
An international LPN candidate who has not yet taken the proficiency exam, or is found to have educational deficiencies, may seek registration as a nursing assistant or medication aide so the candidate can work while the candidate completes the additional requirements.
An RN completes a two- to four year program in professional nursing, then applies to the Department. The candidate must have officially transcripts sent from any institution where the candidate took courses that were applied toward the nursing degree.
An RN candidate must submit all the required documentation even if the candidate has previously applied and been licensed as an LPN. The application fee will vary, depending on what stage it is in the license renewal cycle.
The candidate will need to register separately to take the NCLEX-RN (www.vue.com/nclex). There is a $200 testing fee. Once candidacy has been approved, the candidate will be issued an ATT. At this point, the candidate can schedule a testing session.
The Nebraska Nurses Association is an additional organization that supports the state’s RNs (http://www.nebraskanurses.org/). Membership is voluntary.
A candidate who is, or has been, licensed in another state can apply by endorsement. The candidate will need to supply license verification in addition to the usual application materials. If the state does not utilize the Nursys online system, the candidate will fill out the upper portion of the verification form found in the application packet and send it to the licensing agency (along with whatever fee that state requires). If the candidate wants to practice under a temporary permit while materials are being received and processed, the candidate will need a notarized copy of a current license.
A nurse must show continuing competency by having practiced or taken a refresher course in the prior five years (unless the candidate is a relatively recent graduate). If a candidate has not already met the minimum requirements, the candidate should enroll in an approved refresher course (http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/crl_nursing_rn-lpn_refresher.aspx). Approved courses include at least 75 total hours.
Before an internationally educated candidate can be authorized by Nebraska to take the NCLEX-RN, the candidate must show that the candidate has passed a qualifying exam. The Department will accept the CGFNS or the Canadian Licensing Examination.
Internationally educated professional nurses who have deficiencies (as determined by CGFNS) may pursue LPN licensing while they make up those deficiencies. Nursing assistant is also an option.
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