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Becoming an RN in the District of Columbia

During the week of May 11 to May 16, Washington DC will celebrate National Nurses Week. The theme is that nurses are trusted to care. This theme captures one of the main reasons that people go into nursing. The field has always attracted competent, caring people. Professional nursing -- nursing at the RN level -- is particularly attractive for those who also have an aptitude for science and inquiry.

A person becomes a registered nurse by completing a program of study that has been approved by the DC Board of Nursing or by completing a similar program that has been approved by the Board of Nursing of a U.S. state. (Graduates of foreign universities may also be eligible, but there are some additional requirements.) Approved programs have certain commonalities. They teach nursing concepts throughout the lifespan, from perinatal to geriatric. They include coursework in mental health as well as medical and surgical nursing. Candidates can expect clinical experiences in a variety of settings.

After graduation, an RN candidate turns in an application to the District of Columbia Board. Licensure requires passing scores on the NCLEX-RN. If a candidate doesn’t pass the exam within six months of initial eligibility, a review course is required. There are additional educational requirements required at the two- and three-year marks. Nursing graduates may practice for up to 90 days as a Graduate Nurse unless their application for licensure is denied by the Board.

Many Educational Pathways for Registered Nurses

Professionals from other fields have a track record for academic success and are highly sought after in the nursing field. They have two additional options: the second degree BSN and the direct entry master’s. There are several accelerated BSN programs in DC. The AACN site does not list any direct entry master’s programs in DC. There is, however, one in Maryland; there are also a limited number of distance programs. (Strong performance in an accelerated BSN program can of course make a person an attractive candidate for master’s programs down the road.)

Licensed practical nurses can also expect to receive some credit for past learning. This may be dependent on examination or completion of validation coursework.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in the District of Columbia

What are job prospects like during an economic downturn? Across the nation, nursing graduates have fared better than most graduates outside of the health industry. A 2010 AACN report suggests DC’s graduates are doing quite well, at least those with degrees at the BSN level and higher. College deans in the region reported that over the previous two years, 98% of graduates had offers of employment within that crucial first six months.

Official government figures have projected that during the 2008 to 2018 decade, the growth in demand for RNs in DC will be well below that of the surrounding areas and of the nation as a whole. Nursing students should put this in perspective, however. DC is part of a large metropolitan area which incorporates three municipalities. DC nursing graduates will want to consider their prospects and determine whether it’s a good idea to pursue licensing in Virginia or Maryland as well. Salaries are higher than in DC than in many of the surrounding areas -- an attraction for experienced workers, but not necessarily for new graduates

Tips on The Application Process for Nursing Schools

Nursing schools are competitive; how much so depends on the institution and level of program. Radians College describes the successful undergraduate candidate as one who has satisfactory references and above average grades.

Accelerated BSN programs want to know that a person is committed to the field and that they can handle a heavy courseload of both theory and clinical classes. Jewell University reports that interviews are carried out well in advance.

District of Columbia Board of Nursing Approved Associate's Degree Nursing Programs

Radians College

Programs Offered: Associate's Degree in Registered Nursing

  • 1025 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005, PH: 202-291-9020

University of the District of Columbia - Department of Nursing & Allied Health

The RN to BSN nursing program is NLNAC accredited.

Programs Offered: AASN, RN to BSN

  • University of the District of Columbia - Department of Nursing and Allied Health, Building 44, 102, Washington, DC 20008, PH: 202-274-5940

District of Columbia Board of Nursing Approved BSN Programs

catholic

Catholic University of America - School of Nursing

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, Accelerated BSN, RN to BSN, MSN - (Tracks: Clinical Nurse Specialist Programs - Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Educator, Community/Public Health Nurse Specialist Educator Program, Immigrant, Refugee, and Global Health Clinical Nurse Specialist, Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist & Nurse Practitioner Programs - Adult Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner), PhD, DNP

The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, DC 20064, PH: 800-673-2772

georgetown

Georgetown University - School of Nursing & Health Studies

Programs Offered: BSN, Accelerated 2nd degree BSN, MS - (Options: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Acute & Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse-Midwifery, and Nursing Education), Post-Master's Certificate

Georgetown University - School of Nursing, 3700 Reservoir Rd, NW, Box 571107, Washington, DC 20057-1107, PH: 202-687-2781

Howard University - Division of Nursing

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, BSN - 2nd degree, RN to BSN, MSN - (Tracks: FNP), Post-Master's certificate - FNP

  • Howard University - Division of Nursing, 501 Bryant Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20059, PH: 202-806-7456

Trinity Washington University

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

  • Trinity Washington University, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017 PH: 202-884-9000
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