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Becoming an RN in Rhode Island

The projected shortfall of nurses is not due to lack of interest in this time honored field but to a variety of factors that limit enrollment. Like many states, Rhode Island is working on making nursing educations more effective and more accessible. This includes simulations and distance learning. There are three types of programs that lead to licensing as a professional nurse in Rhode Island: associate’s, diploma, and bachelor’s. A diploma differs from an ADN (associate’s in nursing) in that it is usually hospital based. The pacing is different, and coursework is usually completed over a three year period.

Both the ADN and the diploma reflect a slightly lower level of education than a BSN. They do include some general education courses, but not as broad of a liberal arts background. The BSN will also typically include more advanced nursing courses like community and public health nursing. While these more advanced concepts are not necessary to pass the NCLEX certification exam at the RN level, they do confer hiring advantages in some situations. If a person plans to go on to advanced practice, the BSN of course takes them one step closer to their goal.

Some Rhode Island students may choose to attend an institution in a neighboring state. As long as it is has similar standards and is approved by the board in its own state, it should be fine. Rhode Island is a Nurse Compact state. If a nurse already has a license in another compact state, he or she can practice in Rhode Island.

A Variety of RN Education Pathways

Students who already have a degree in another field can enroll in an accelerated BSN program. At the University of Rhode Island, the program is 77 units. This is longer than some other second degree programs, or at least seems so on the surface. The total units though, include courses like microbiology and anatomy -- courses that are considered prerequisites in other ABSN programs. Although there are differences in pacing from program to program, a student’s own academic background is a significant factor in determining actual program length.

Corpsmen and licensed practical nurses also have fast track options. At the Community College of Rhode Island, they may challenge lower level clinical courses by scoring well on an exam. LPNs are eligible to challenge two semesters while corpsmen are allowed only one. However, the college notes that it is only recommended that very experienced LPNs (those with five or more years in the field) try to test out on second semester clinical coursework. There are other LPN to RN programs in the region, and around the nation, that accept Rhode Island students. Policies vary.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in Rhode Island

Nursing is a career with good long-term potential. It is impacted somewhat by economic downturns but not as much as many occupations outside of health care. An impressive 19% growth rate was originally projected for the 2008 to 2018 reporting period. The actual figures may be somewhat lower. A senate commission recently studied the potential nursing shortage in Rhode Island. They presented their findings in April of 2009. The report noted that the economic downturn had lessened the immediate need for nurses, but that the commission believed that the nursing shortage had not been halted. Of concern were changing demographics, impending retirements of RNs, and insufficient nursing school capacity. Health care legislation, at the state and national levels, could also increase the demand for nursing professionals.

Tips for The Application to Nursing School Process

Nursing schools often have a multi-criteria selection process. This can be true at the diploma level as well as the baccalaureate level. St Joseph School of Nursing requires an essay, three references (personal, professional, and academic) and possibly an interview as well. Some other schools, though, use academics as the primary criteria. Students who enroll in the University of Rhode Island for general studies are ranked by GPA. It is important to do well in prerequisite courses.

BSN Nursing Programs in Rhode Island

School of Nursing at Rhode Island College

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, second degree BSN, RN to BSN, MSN - (Concentrations: CNS - Public Health/Community Leadership, CNS - Acute care / Critical Care)

  • Rhode Island College, 600 Mount Pleasant Avenue, Providence, RI 02908-1991, PH: 401-456-8000

University of Rhode Island College of Nursing

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited BSN and MSN programs.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, MSN - (Concentrations: Administration, Clinical Nurse Leader, Nursing Education, Clinical Specialist in Gerontology, Clinical Specialist in Psychiatric/Mental Health, Family Nurse Practitioner, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner), PhD, Post-Graduate Certificates

  • University of Rhode Island, 2 Heathman Road, Kingston, RI 02881-2021, PH: 401-874-2766

Salve Regina University

NLN accredited

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

  • 100 Ochre Point Avenue, Newport, RI 02840-4192, PH: 401-847-6650

ADN and Diploma Nursing Programs in Rhode Island

new england institute of technology

New England Institute of Technology

The Nursing Program holds candidacy status with the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) that began in January of 2009. The approval status takes 2 years. Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

Programs Offered: Associate in Science Degree in Nursing

New England Institute of Technology, 2500 Post Road, Warwick, RI 02886-2266

Community College of Rhode Island

Programs Offered: LPN, ADN

  • 400 East Avenue, Warwick, RI 02886-1807, PH: 401-825-1000

St. Joseph School of Nursing

Programs Offered: Diploma in Nursing

  • 200 High Service Ave, North Providence, RI, PH: 401-456-3050
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