Nursing Programs in Alaska

Overview of Alaskan Nursing Needs

Alaska’s major cities of Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks house some of the country’s best hospitals. Unfortunately, these institutions lack the necessary number of nurses that they need to maintain their standards of quality care. The good news is that the state’s nursing shortage offers a major foot in the door for any prospective nursing student who wishes to take up practice in this chilly northwestern extension of the contiguous US. Although there are over two dozen hospitals in Alaska, there are only a handful of nursing degree programs in the state, making the call for qualified, trained nurses widespread throughout the state.

Licensed nurses through the Alaska Board of Nursing can earn a substantial living while serving citizens of the country’s largest and least populated state. The Board serves the nursing community by endorsing their qualifications through licensing, continuing education efforts, and maintaining high standards of practice that are consistent throughout the state. Those who are in the business of shaping the state’s health care are not alone in their endeavors. In fact, 7000 of the state’s nursing professionals from all levels are represented as a single empowered force by the Alaska Nurses Association, a community leader in health and safety.

Job Outlook for Alaska’s Nurses

Of the 26 hospitals in Alaska, all are suffering from a persistent shortage of nurses. If the average annual Registered Nurse income of $80,570 sounds appealing to you, head to Alaska to begin your nursing career with a starting salary significantly higher than that of more populated states. Astonishingly, the 90th percentile of annual wages for RNs in Alaska exceeds a triple-figure income. Because of the higher cost of living, remote access, and generally robust quality of education and career in Alaska, entering nurses are paid more in this state than in most others.

In Alaska, the demand for nursing professionals is high and the supply is running lower than ever. Those who get a certification or degree as a LP or RN in Alaska can expect to be quickly and gratefully employed and compensated well, though much of their work may involve those in remote locations, air travel, and challenges specific to a vast, cold land and a mix of rural and urban pathologies.

Nursing Jobs and Education in Alaska

Because the Alaskan land mass is so enormous and the population is comparatively tiny, nurses who are willing to travel on a daily or weekly basis are even more highly sought after than those who are stationary. Travel nurses who can visit rural clinics or far away towns can often increase their earnings by as much as 1/3 by offering their services to a diversity of locations.

The University of Alaska has locations in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Both branches of these major academic institutions offer a plethora of scholarships for outstanding students in their School of Nursing. Degrees from entry-level Associates to Master’s of Science can be achieved at UA with the help of scholarship incentives. Generous financial opportunities like the Western Institute of Nursing New Scholar Award or the Roger DeSmith Renal/Diabetes┬áResearch Award for Nursing Students are only available to those in the nursing program who are highly motivated and at the top of their class.

Providence Health and Services and their associated medical center in Anchorage is the largest employer of nurses in the state. Other highly respected employers can be found through the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA).

Average Salaries for Nurses in Alaska

Data from BLS 2012 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Registered Nurses $60,290.00 $80,570.00 $105,970.00
Licensed Practical Nurses $37,850.00 $52,570.00 $67,370.00

References:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Employment Statistics, and Employment Projections http://www.bls.gov/
The American Health Care Association http://www.ahcancal.org/research_data/
Kaiser Family Foundation http://statehealthfacts.org/
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation http://rwjf.org/

Nursing Programs in Arkansas

Overview of Arkansas Nursing Schools

The low cost of living and the relatively placid pace of life of the mid-southeast makes Arkansas a destination spot for those who desire to spend their end-of-life years in the beautiful “natural” state. For this reason, home health care nurses and nursing home employees are in high demand, and this status is expected to increase in coming years as the bulk of the baby boomer cohort settles down to retire.

Those who are interested in geriatric or hospital care should consider Arkansas a prime location for gerontology nurses to receive their education and begin a successful practice. Top state schools like Arkansas State University, Henderson State University and Southeast Arkansas College offer a wealth of nursing programs that allow students at all levels to transition smoothly from LPN to RN to BSN while keeping their Arkansas state nursing license.

Outlook for Arkansas Nurses

Although there is an estimated need of approximately 26,000 nursing professionals from every level needed in Arkansas, there are only about 23,000 nurses currently employed. This leaves a deficit of between 3000-4000 nurses needed in big cities like Little Rock and Fayetteville, as well as in the less populated areas like Perryville.

Starting salary averages for RNs in the state round out at $49,000, with similar beginning wages found for CNAs and Psychiatric RNs. The outlook for nurses of any kind, but especially those who are flexible and potentially willing to work in geriatrics, is decisively positive for the few thousand employees who will be needed to fill the gaps in the next five years.

Jobs and Licensing for Arkansas Nurses

While the nursing salary in the state may be average, what sets Arkansas apart from other states are special incentive programs such as the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium (ARNEC), which assists current LPNs/LVNs by helping them to receive their Associate’s degree and preparing them to take the NCLEX for their RN licensing. Eight community and technical colleges are in this consortium to aid rural Arkansas nurses in advancing their careers even while in remote locations.

As a bonus, RNs at the height of their careers make a significant amount more than LPNs/LVNs earn, with the former at just under $55,000 a year and the latter at around $35,000 a year. While there is no special degree required for geriatric work, many college programs do offer courses in gerontology and end-of-life care, or even a concentration in this special facet of nursing that is particularly useful in Arkansas.

Upon graduation, the Arkansas Nurses Association is one voice that helps prospective employees get matched with jobs to fit their specialty and needs, whether it be administrator at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital or home health caregiver at one of the Baptist Health locations. Licensed nurses will find a supportive community of nurse advocates, continuing education opportunities, licensing exam tips, employee reward programs, and a host of helpful resources through the ANA.

The Arkansas State Board of Nursing is the go-to resource for all licensing procedures within the state. The Board distributes licenses to deserving RN, LPN, LPTN, RNP, and APN candidates who fulfill the examination requirements. They also offer convenient online license renewals, changes, and endorsements, which enable nurses to obtain valid accreditation in jurisdictions other than the one in which they received their original licenses.

Average Salaries for Nurses in Arkansas

Data from BLS 2012 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Registered Nurses $39,660.00 $54,410.00 $74,200.00
Licensed Practical Nurses $26,840.00 $35,050.00 $45,250.00

References:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Employment Statistics, and Employment Projections http://www.bls.gov/
The American Health Care Association http://www.ahcancal.org/research_data/
Kaiser Family Foundation http://statehealthfacts.org/
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation http://rwjf.org/
Arkansas Gazette Online http://www.arkansasonline.com/
Arkansas State Board of Nursing http://www.arsbn.arkansas.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Nursing Programs in Florida

Overview of Floridian Nursing Opportunities

It is no surprise that healthcare centers of the Florida Hospital Association are one of the top employers in the sunny Floridian peninsula. With thousands of senior citizens flying south to Orlando or the Keys for the winter or for permanent retirement, there is bound to be a massive demand for geriatric checkups, in-home supervision, and nursing home care in a state with such a large influx of the elderly. Consequently, there is a paucity in the number of nurses available in the state to take responsibility for the care and wellness of such an unusually large aging population.

A whopping one thousand people move to Florida every single day. This makes for a high need for quality nursing both in the metropolitan areas of Jacksonville, Orlando, and Miami and in the rural grasslands and swamps which are home to a uniquely Floridian array of exotic creatures like the boa constrictor, some of which wreak havoc for emergency care nurses.

Nursing Outlook in the Sunshine State

The Sunshine State needs more than solar rays and freshly squeezed orange juice to keep it going. Emergency room nurses, home health caretakers, and medical center facilitators are also necessary to keep big names like the Sacred Heart Healthcare System and the Memorial Healthcare System functioning properly. Those who do choose to provide care are nicely rewarded by good overall quality of life in this tropical landscape as well as by an average RN salary of about $60,000.

With more seniors flocking to Florida every season to relax and enjoy their golden years, the skewed unemployment rate among the general population continues to skyrocket. This has not affected the nursing arena, however, where there are still a large amount of job openings. Though there are upwards of 160,000 registered nurses and 45,000 licensed practical nurses, there must be far more to meet the needs of the 20 million residents of the state, many of which are elderly and need more than the average amount of care. In fact, the Florida Center for Nursing estimates that by the year 2025, 50,000 more nursing professionals will be in demand.

Jobs and Licensing for Florida Nurses

Of the 125 schools in Florida which include nursing programs, there are many that offer programs that will be suitable for a student wishing to advance their education from LPN to RN, such as Valencia College and Miami Dade College. RNs who aim to receive their BSN degree will find an academic home at Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University, among others. Florida Atlantic and the Florida Hospital College of Health and Sciences also offer a comprehensive MSN program for nurses desiring to complete their Master’s degree in nursing. Entry level programs that start small and make their way up in the nursing world include those like the Academy for Nursing and Health Occupations in West Palm Beach.

The Florida Department of Health Board of Nursing allows nursing students to apply for their initial licensure online, provided that they have fulfilled the requirements. Information about regulation compliance, continuing education, licensing from other states, and license renewal can all be found on their easy-to-access website. The Florida Nurses Association provides another resource where nurses can look for jobs in the state, compare notes and network with fellow coworkers, and get in touch with hospitals.

Average Salaries for Nurses in Florida

Data from BLS 2012 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Registered Nurses $44,630.00 $60,060.00 $81,230.00
Licensed Practical Nurses $31,770.00 $41,030.00 $51,630.00

References:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Employment Statistics, and Employment Projections http://www.bls.gov/
The American Health Care Association http://www.ahcancal.org/research_data/
Kaiser Family Foundation http://statehealthfacts.org/
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation http://rwjf.org/
Florida Center for Nursing http://www.flcenterfornursing.org/