If you are thinking about how to become a nurse in Kansas, you need to examine all the steps required to achieve your goal. You can also look forward to what being a nurse—especially a nurse in Kansas—will be like.
For those leaving one career field and moving into nursing, you need a plan to get the right education, follow the necessary steps for licensure, and look for job opportunities that suit you. Once you meet all the criteria to become a registered nurse, you will join 28,980 RNs currently licensed in Kansas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS shows that Kansas nurses earn an annual mean wage of $66,560.
Here are some factors that will help you make a thoughtful and informed decision about becoming a nurse in Kansas.
How to become a registered nurse
Registered nurses (RNs) must complete an accredited nursing program that teaches foundational nursing skills, including courses such as biology and pharmacology, nursing theory, patient safety, how to create and implement patient care plans, working in multidisciplinary teams, and hands-on skills and other functions. After completing their education, students must pass the National Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and apply for a Kansas Board of Nursing license.
Choosing the right educational program
There are three types of degrees that can prepare you to become a registered nurse:
- ADN — Associate Degree in Nursing (2–3 years to complete)
- BSN — Bachelor of Science in Nursing (4-year undergraduate program)
- ABSN - Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (as little as 16 months if you already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field)
If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing and want to move into your new career as a nurse as quickly as possible, an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program may be suited for you. An accelerated program gets you to your goal faster because your coursework is concentrated on nursing topics since you have already completed most of your general education requirements as part of your first bachelor’s degree. This lets you finish in less than two years rather than the typical four years for a traditional undergraduate BSN degree.
When you apply to an ABSN program, be sure to check on the prerequisite courses and GPA requirements. You will need to submit a transcript/proof of your first bachelor’s degree, certifying successful completion and GPA of specific courses, such as:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- General or Organic Chemistry
- Developmental/Life Span Psychology
What to expect from an accelerated BSN program
Some accelerated BSN programs are designed to let students take their coursework online. Although some people may worry that they won’t have enough interaction with their peers and faculty, some ABSN programs account for this by incorporating online peer group projects and virtual “office hours” with professors to foster camaraderie and good communication.
Online coursework will prepare students with foundational nursing knowledge derived from evidence-based practice. In addition to learning how to apply knowledge of anatomy and physiology, nursing students will learn to recognize pathophysiology—the signs of sickness or change in a patient’s condition and how to respond appropriately. Courses will also prepare RNs to take on leadership roles within their workplaces and the community.
One of the most exciting challenges of the BSN course of study is learning practical, hands-on nursing skills. Hybrid ABSN programs may require students to attend an on-campus residency where they will learn skills like taking vital signs, placing an IV, or resuscitating a patient in a specially designed simulation lab.
At the appropriate point in the program, students will apply their knowledge and skills in clinical settings with actual patients. Clinical rotations are an opportunity for nurse candidates to practice their techniques safely under the supervision of an experienced nurse preceptor. As students move from one department or clinical setting to another, they also get a better feel for the type of practice environment they would like to have in the future.
Preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam
Near the end of your ABSN program, you will begin preparing for the NCLEX-RN exam. Passing this test is required for all RNs throughout the U.S. and its territories. It is a benchmark exam to show that a candidate has all the necessary knowledge to practice nursing safely and in the patients’ best interests.
The test has a multiple-choice format. These topic areas make up the NCLEX-RN exam:
- Safe and Effective Care Environment
- Management of Care
- Safety and Infection Control
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Physiological Integrity
- Basic Care and Comfort
- Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
- Reduction of Risk Potential
- Physiological Adaptation
A good ABSN program will help you prepare for the NCLEX with practice tests and study tips.
When you approach graduation, several steps must happen at roughly the same time. When you apply for licensure with the Kansas Board of Nursing, you must submit:
- An official transcript from your educational institution
- A fingerprint report and background check fee
- Proof of registration for the NCLEX-RN
There are fees attached to these process steps, and some have time constraints (for example, the authorization to take the NCLEX is only valid for 90 days), so be sure to have all applications lined up and ready to go as soon as you are eligible. It is best to work with a student support advisor through your nursing program to help you with these final steps.
Types of health care settings where Kansas RNs work
Depending on their area of interest or expertise, RNs can choose from several types of roles and places to work. Most nurses in the country are employed by hospitals, and there are over 100 hospitals in Kansas. Some are extensive facilities operating in cities, while many more are small and serve rural areas. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services tracks the number of long term care facilities and lists 298 nursing facilities and 222 assisted living/residential facilities in the state. (Some facilities may provide both types of services.) Kansas nurses also work in government hospitals, private clinics, schools, and other settings.
Become a registered nurse in Kansas with an ABSN from Rockhurst University
Take advantage of an accredited nursing program to prepare you to succeed as a nurse in Kansas. Saint Luke's™ College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Rockhurst University offers its Hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field and want to join this rewarding profession. The online, full-time program prepares graduates in as little as 16 months, including one 10-day skills residency at its Kansas City, Missouri, campus. The program has a 100% graduate employment rate and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Start your journey to becoming a nurse in Kansas with Rockhurst’s online nursing programs.