A career as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) provides numerous job opportunities, excellent compensation, and job security. LPNs practice in many health care settings caring for children, adults, and elderly patients. There’s an estimated 1,100 LPNs employed in Rhode Island, but only 25 percent of them work in hospitals. The remaining 75 percent practice in long-term care, home health care, physicians’ offices, specialized clinics, and community agencies. Like RNs, LPNs are licensed professionals, and in many healthcare settings, their roles may overlap. Typically, their daily activities include applying dressings, measuring and recording vital signs, collecting samples for lab tests, administering injections, recording fluid intake and output, and assisting patients with personal hygiene. The Rhode Island Board of Nursing strives to maintain safe patient care by requiring health professionals to complete pre-licensure and continuous training. The Board also outlines the duties that LPNs can legally perform. The scope of practice in the statutes defines the parameters within which LPNs must operate, including the requirements for administering medications and intravenous medications (IV) and other duties of care. Rhode Island participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which means licensed nurses from other NLC states may practice without applying for a license in Rhode Island.
LPN Training Rhode Island: Prerequisites and Program Content
The two Board-approved Licensed Practical Nurse programs in Rhode Island prepare graduates for entry-level nursing positions in nursing homes, hospitals and other health care organizations. The Licensed Practical Nurse program is designed to prepare graduates for entry-level nursing positions with various health care organizations or to continue training to obtain a Registered Nurse degree.
Students benefit from interactive classroom and lab sessions in preparation for the clinical externship under the guidance of a registered nurse. The classroom presentations provide insight into basic nursing principles through group interactions, case study, and critical thinking exercises. Course topics include foundations of nursing, gerontology nursing, maternal child nursing, nursing pharmacology, mental health nursing, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, and developmental psychology.
During the clinical experience, students provide direct and indirect patient care. The training also prepares them to coordinate and manage patient care, serve as patient advocates, and care for patients from cultural backgrounds. The benefits of the programs go beyond the obvious; graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN to earn a professional qualification and earn credits towards a nursing degree.
Both board-approved programs (the Community College of Rhode Island and Lincoln Technical Institute) boast consistent NCLEX-PN pass rates above 85 percent, which keep the state high on the national list. The colleges provide exam preparatory courses to help students succeed on their first attempt.
The admission criteria varies but may include official high school transcript, a completed application form, success on the ACCUPLACER test, HESI A testing, prerequisite courses, attendance at the orientation session, letters of references, immunization and criminal background check.
Program graduates are eligible to take the Rhode Island NCLEX-PN for state licensure.
Duration and Cost of Training: The time to complete the practical nursing program in Rhode Island depends partly on the student. For the most part, the two major training institutions advertise an estimated completion time of 12 months for full-time students. Truly, the rigorous coursework and clinical requirements call for a full-time commitment as it is almost impossible to defer the clinical sessions. The average cost to complete a practical nursing program is $29,000 including registration, administrative fees, textbooks, clinical and lab supplies, and uniform. Financing may be available through federal funding, private loans, scholarships, and grants.
NCLEX Rhode Island
The NCLEX is necessary for the licensing of all practical nurses in Rhode Island. Graduates of a recognized school of nursing are eligible to take the computerized adaptive test with the Board of Nursing’s approval. Developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the exam evaluates nurse graduates’ competency to provide safe and effective entry-level nursing services. The standardized test protects public safety and ensures that new nursing graduates exhibit the same competencies as graduates from other states.
Pearson Vue is the approved testing provider that will notify the candidate when the Board approves the request for licensure by exam. You can register to take the test with Pearson Vue online, by mail, or over the phone. Online and phone registration require a credit card payment for the exam fee. To register by mail, you must submit your application online and print the payment voucher to include with your check or money sent by postal mail.
The nursing program will assist students with the registration process where necessary. The school will need to send your transcripts to the Board for review. The school also plays an essential role in the exam-preparation. A school’s NCLEX-PN pass rate varies with each graduating class and is a reflection of the number of students who pass the exam on the first try.
Review the Candidate Bulletin thoroughly before submitting your application for licensure/examination as it will save costly mistakes. The Bulletin contains details on registering for the exam, scheduling the exam after receiving the Authorization to Test letter, your responsibilities on the testing date, and an overview of the test format.
Rhode Island LPN Licensure Requirements
The Rhode Island Department of Health, Office of Health Professionals Regulation, and the Rhode Island Board of Nurse Registration and Nurse Education oversees the licensing process of LPNS. Any individual that is not previously registered as an LPN in Rhode Island or another state, or a state that participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact must submit an application for licensure by examination. As part of the process, each application must apply to the Department of Attorney General for a national background check (fingerprint method) and a state background check. The AG must forward the report directly to the RI Board of Nursing and not the candidate.
Candidates must also apply for the NCLEX exam at the same time. The Board of Nursing will confirm your eligibility to take the test. All applicants must be of good moral character with a high school diploma or an equivalent course of study. Additionally, the Board requires all applicants to furnish evidence of successful completion of an approved practical nursing program. The school must send an official transcript(s) directly to the Board of Nursing.
The application remains open for a period of one year from the date of receipt. If you do not complete the application process within that timeframe, you must submit a new application and fee. The Board processes applications in order of receipt. You may not practice until the Board confirms authorization with an assigned license number. A criminal history or disciplinary actions may delay the processing of your license and may require an interview with an investigations officer.
LPNs with legal residence and licensure in a state that is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact may work in RI without applying for a nursing license. Employers must verify the license before the LPN begins practicing.
Licensure By Examination
Use the following steps to submit your application to the Board of Nursing:
- Fill out the application completely, providing a response to each question or using N/A where necessary. Make a copy of the completed application for your records.
- Enclose a check or money order in the amount of $45 for the non-refundable application fee payable to “General Treasurer, State of Rhode Island.” Staple the money order/check to the upper left-hand corner of the first page of the application.
- Request your official transcript from the school of nursing and ask them to send it directly to the Board of Nursing.
- Apply to the AG for a national background check (fingerprints) and a state background check. The AG should send the report directly to the Board.
- Register with Pearson Vue to take the NCLEX examination.
- Attach a passport-sized photograph to Section 14 of the application as instructed.
- Complete the Affidavit in Section 13 and get it notarized.
- Include an explanatory letter and official documents if you have a criminal history or disciplinary actions taken against you.
- Mail the application and supporting documents to the address provided below.
Licensure By Endorsement
Rhode Island participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact. Therefore, you do not need to apply for an RI license if you have an active license in a state that is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact.
Other practical nurses with licenses outside of the NLC must apply for licensure by endorsement.
- Respond to all the questions on the application for endorsement, using N/A where necessary.
- Enclose the non-refundable application fee of $45 using a check or money order payable to the “General Treasurer, State of Rhode Island.” Staple the payment to the upper left-hand corner of the first page of the application.
- Provide evidence of your primary address – a copy of your tax return or driver’s license, etc.
- Request official transcript from the nursing education program. The transcript should go directly from the school to the Board.
- The licensing authority in your original state must verify your license directly with the Board. You may use an Interstate Verification Form or verify online at Nursys.com.
- Apply to the AG for a national background check and a state background check. The report must be sent directly from the AG to the Board of Nursing.
- Respond to the criminal background and disciplinary action questions and provide official documents and an explanatory note for each question where you respond “yes.”
- Affix passport-size photo to section 14 of the application. Write your name and date on the back of the photo.
- Complete the Affidavit of Application and get the form notarized.
- Attach a photocopy of your active, out-of-state license.
The Board will automatically issue a temporary 90-day work permit once they process the application and inform the applicant of any additional documents needed to complete the application for permanent licensure.
Renewing Your LPN License
The Board of Nursing requires licensees to renew their licenses on time to continue practicing. LPN licenses expire on March 1 of every other year following the date the licensed was issued. The Board will mail a renewal notice on or before January 1 of the renewal year.
Upon receipt of the notice, the license holder may renew the application online. Online submissions are processed in as little as 24 hours. You can use a credit card, debit card, ATM card, or pre-paid card to pay the renewal fee. License holders who fail to renew on time must apply for a reinstatement of the license to continue practicing. Applicants for renewal must complete 10 hours of continuing nursing education during the 2-year period before the renewal date.
Salary and Job Outlook LPNs Rhode Island
The statistics for LPN positions in Rhode Island depends on the location, job responsibilities. 2013, there were 1,110 LPNs employed in Rhode Island. The broad salary range shifts from $36,570 (10th percentile) to $64,470 (90th percentile).
One of the greatest advantages of being an LPN is the job outlook, which is expected to increase to 1265 by 2018 – a growth rate of 14%. As baby boomers age and need more medical care, the demand for LPNs and other medical professionals will go up. But there’s more to the projected growth in the industry. Technology advances and the Affordable Care Act also make it possible for patients to receive care at home, nursing homes, specialized clinics, and other healthcare facilities, create more opportunities for LPNs in these non-traditional places.
Many LPNs pursue further education to qualify for employment as registered nurses. Employment for registered nurses is almost 10 times more than employment for LPNs. If you don’t have the time, desire, or resources to study to become an RN, then becoming an LPN is the next best option.
Contact the Board of Nursing
Rhode Island Board of Nursing
Registration and Nursing Education
105 Cannon Building
Three Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: (401) 222-5700
Fax: (401) 222-3352
Rhode Island Board of Nursing Approved Training Programs and NCLEX Pass Rates
Lincoln, RI LPN Training Programs:
Lincoln Technical Institute
622 George Washington Highway,
Lincoln, RI 02865
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 88.75%
Rhode Island, RI LPN Training Programs:
Community College of Rhode Island
400 East Avenue, Warwick,
Rhode Island, RI
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 85.64%