Becoming an RN in Maine

Nursing education is changing. Schools like the University of New England boast high tech patient simulators that allow nursing students to envision themselves in an operating room. This is not the only innovation. Nursing schools are not only becoming more high tech, but more flexible. This is so that they can accommodate more able and dedicated candidates, including those from nontraditional backgrounds.

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One becomes a registered nurse in Maine by completing a degree program at the associate level or higher. The Maine State Board of Nursing currently lists eight associate level programs and five baccalaureate programs. The schedule of classes may look a lot different from program to program. For instance, some programs have nine- or ten-unit classes in nursing across the lifespan while others have shorter classes in pediatrics, maternal nursing, and adult care. All professional nursing programs though, cover core medical-surgical and mental health topics that will be tested on the NCLEX-RN exam. Baccalaureate programs go somewhat above the minimum, providing a better foundation for management and community health positions and for further education down the road. St Joseph’s notes that magnet hospitals now have quota for BSN level nurses.

Pre-Licensure RN Education Options in Maine

Some Maine nursing programs have both multiple entry points and multiple exit points. Licensed practical nurses can expect a shorter program.

Maine values prior education, even if it was not in the nursing field. Second degree students can expect to get credit for general studies that were completed in the past. The overall program length may be much shorter than for traditional BSN students. Some second degree students elect to enroll in accelerated BSN programs, which are year-round intensives. Others opt to go straight into a master’s program. This can result in a lengthier program, but ultimately a student may have both a basic RN license and an advanced practice specialty. At the University of Southern Maine, direct entry master’s students complete their first year with BSN students and then transition into a master’s level program.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in Maine

The healthcare sector is one of the strongest industries in Maine. Vacancy rates for RNs have gone down during the recession, but not to the extent that they have in the average occupation. The Maine Department of Labor describes healthcare as recession resistant.

According to a 2010 workforce analysis, registered nursing showed some signs of shortage. There were actually more RNs per 100,000 people than in the nation as a whole, but the hiring demand was much higher. One reason for this may be that Maine hasn’t yet made the switch that a lot of the nation has — there are still a lot of services taking place in hospitals and nursing facilities that have moved to ambulatory care in other states. Of course, Maine may also be doing a better job providing healthcare for its citizens! The Department of Labor notes that demographic changes, including an aging Boomer population, can be expected to further drive up demand. Applicants should be aware that jobs vary quite a bit by region of the state.

The Nursing School Application Process

Expect a competitive process that will vary somewhat by level of program. Some community colleges do admit qualified students on a first come, first serve basis. In this case, qualified may mean passing an admission test, being admitted to the school, and maintaining an adequate GPA while taking prerequisite courses. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is typical for a community college. Some universities accept nursing students with GPAs at this level as well. However, a candidate should realize that he may be competing against students with much higher grade point averages.

ACT or SAT scores may be considered in addition to admission tests. Universities sometimes consider many criteria when making admission decisions.

Maine State Board of Nursing Approved Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) Programs 

Central Maine Community College

1250 Turner Street
Auburn, ME 04210
755-5408 FAX: 755-5496
Central Maine Medical Center

70 Middle Street
Lewiston, ME 04240
795-2840 FAX: 795-2849
Eastern Maine Community College

354 Hogan Road
Bangor, ME 04401
974-4657 FAX: 974-4608
Kennebec Valley Community College
92 Western Avenue
Fairfield, ME 04937-1367
Northern Maine Community College

33 Edgemont Drive
Presque Isle, ME 04769-2099
Southern Maine Community College

Fort Road So. Portland, ME 04106
University of Maine at Augusta

46 University Drive
Augusta, ME 04330-9410
University of New England

716 Stevens Avenue
Portland, ME 04103
797-7688 Ext. 4476

Maine State Board of Nursing Approved Nursing Baccalaureate (BSN) Programs

Husson College/E.M.M.C.
1 College Circle
Bangor, ME 04401-2999
RN to BSN program
RN to MSN program
St. Joseph’s College
278 Whites Bridge Road
Standish, ME 04084-5263
University of Maine
5724 Dunn Hall, Room 217
Orono, ME 04469-5724
RN to BSN program
RN to MSN program
Post-master’s certificate for FNP
University of Maine at Fort Kent
23 University Drive
Fort Kent, ME 04743-1292
RN-BSN program
University of Southern Maine
96 Falmouth Street
P.O. Box 9300
Portland, ME 04104-9300
RN to BS program
RN to MS program