Nebraska Nursing Programs

Overview of Nebraska Nursing Needs

Nebraska’s vast prairie lands make the state ideal for agricultural endeavors such as cattle raising and farming. Flatlands as far as the eye can see; cows far outnumber humans, and the majority of towns in Nebraska have fewer than 3,000 people in each, with numbers that are declining. As in other states throughout the country, Nebraska is looking for qualified nurses, particularly those with advanced degrees, who are able to help alleviate some of the stresses caused by too few doctors in rural regions.

Conversely, larger cities such as Lincoln and Omaha are showing population growth and offer extensive healthcare networks that join hospitals, medical clinics and colleges across the state. Some of the most notable are the Alegent Health System, the Nebraska Medical Center, and the Methodist Health System, which are responsible for employing thousands of healthcare professionals.

The state of Nebraska offers 16 accredited schools with nursing programs, two of which are ranked in the top hundred in the nation, according to the 2011 US & World News Report. With course availability that can take an LPN to an advanced RN Baccalaureate, and on to a Master’s Degree in Nursing–Nebraska is a terrific place to earn a first-rate education and ultimately work locally, if one chooses to stay on after graduation.

Job Outlook for Nebraska Nurses

Nebraska’s unemployment rate is 3.8%, half of the nation’s rate at the time of reporting. In addition to agriculture, healthcare and education are both big industries within the state. Nebraska also complies with the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows Nebraska-licensed nurses to also practice in nearby Missouri, South Dakota, Colorado and Iowa—thereby greatly increasing employment opportunities.

RNs can expect to average approximately $56,350 per year, whereas Nurse Practitioners can earn approximately $82,600 annually. Nurse Anesthetists in Nebraska should expect to earn upwards of $133,680 per year, depending on where within the state the job is located.

In addition to the need for advanced level RNs and Nurse Practitioners to assist in smaller townships, there is also a need for nursing teachers to meet the demand of incoming students in Nebraska.
Average Nursing Salaries in Nebraska:

Data from BLS 2011 10th Percentile 25th Percentile 50th Percentile
Registered Nurses $41,100 $46,400 $55,210
Licensed Practical Nurses $30,670 $33,210 $37,070
Nursing Aides $19,870 $21,230 $23,360
Home Health Aides $17,980 $20,650 $23,510

Licensing for Nurses in Nebraska

To be able to practice nursing in Nebraska, all LPNs and RNs must possess either a Nebraska license in good standing or be licensed in another state that is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). To become licensed, LPN graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) and RN graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Advanced nurses such as Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Anesthetists are also required to have specialized certifications specific to each job title. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website can assist further.

Nursing Programs in Nebraska

Nebraska has 16 nursing programs to choose from, which can assist high school graduates and beyond to advanced career nurses looking to further their education. There are also accelerated BSNs available for non-nursing Baccalaureate grads seeking an additional degree in healthcare.

Choosing a school will largely depend on cost, reputation/ranking, location, and if it offers the curriculum to suit specific career needs. Student to faculty ratio should also be noted, as well as the NCLEX pass rates for recent graduates. It’s also important to look at the medical alliances each school maintains because that may affect the quality of hands-on training, as well as networking opportunities.

The 2011 US & World News Report ranked two Nebraska nursing programs as some of the best in the nation; the University of Nebraska Medical Center ranked #36 and Creighton ranked #64.