How to Become a Nurse in New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Board of Nursing licenses several different types of nurses in the state. These are Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNAs) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs). There are about 12,000 nurses currently working in the state, which represents about 9.2 nurses per 1,000 people. New Hampshire is understaffed compared to the national average of 12.8 nurses per 1,000 people, so career prospects for nurses entering the field in New Hampshire are generally favorable.
Whether one is looking to complete a program, undergraduate degree, or graduate degree, there are plenty of nursing schools in New Hampshire to consider. After completing their education, candidates must apply for licensure with the New Hampshire Board of Nursing. The board operates under the auspices of the New Hampshire Office of Professional Licensure and Certification. Nurses in New Hampshire can expect an annual mean wage between $66,750 to $75,110.
How to Get a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) License in New Hampshire
In New Hampshire, nursing assistants are known as LNAs or licensed nursing assistants. This distinguishes New Hampshire as one of the few states that requires nursing assistants to obtain a license rather than a certification, which is what CNAs in most other states have.
There are several different ways to be placed on the New Hampshire Nursing Assistant Registry and obtain an LNA license.
First, an LNA license may be granted by the board after an individual succeeds in a competency evaluation. As a prerequisite, candidates must have completed a nursing assistant program approved by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing in the past five years. The results of their competency test must also be no more than two years old to qualify. The results of this evaluation should be submitted directly to the board along with one’s application.
Second, RN or LPN students may apply for a license by comparable education if they’ve completed the “Fundamentals of Nursing” education within the past five years and pass the written and clinical competency test within the past two years.
Finally, it is possible to obtain a New Hampshire LNA license by applying for licensure by endorsement. This method is appropriate for candidates who already hold a current and valid out-of-state nursing assistant license or certification. However, the process is not automatic. Candidates are still expected to apply with the board, which will issue a reciprocal license at its discretion. Part of the application requirements for this method involves either the completion of 200 hours of active practice as a nursing assistant or the completion of a competency exam within the past two years.
LNA licenses in New Hampshire must be renewed every two years. Active LNAs are required to complete at least 200 hours of nursing assistance under the direct supervision of an APRN, RN or LPN, as well as 12 continuing education hours per year. Alternately, the completion of a new competency test will serve to satisfy the state’s renewal requirements.
How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in New Hampshire
A New Hampshire LPN license is appropriate for nurses who want to assess patient health, collect data, and directly manage safe and effective nursing techniques. To qualify for this level of practice, an aspiring practical nurse should plan to complete an entry-level education program at one of the schools recognized by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing. When a candidate has finished this program in its entirety, he or she will be ready to apply for LPN licensure.
A New Hampshire nursing license can be earned in several different ways. The first method is to take and pass the NCLEX-PN. This exam is the industry-standard knowledge assessment, and passing results will be recognized by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing to qualify an individual for licensure. A second option is to apply for licensure by endorsement. This route is open to nurses who have already earned an equivalent LPN license in another state. The New Hampshire Board, upon receipt of this kind of application, can grant a reciprocal license. Finally, nurses who already hold a license from a Nurse Licensure Compact-participating state will be granted similar rights to practice in New Hampshire.
An LPN is required to renew his or her license every two years, and the expiration date falls on midnight of the nurse’s birthday. Although paper renewal applications are available upon request, the board prefers to receive all renewals online.
How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in New Hampshire
To qualify as an RN in the state of New Hampshire, prospective nurses should ensure that they graduate with either an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing. RN license candidates will need to submit their official transcript, including degree awarded, when they apply for the license.
To apply for an RN license by examination, a candidate must pre-register for the NCLEX-RN exam, submit their license application to the NH Board of Nursing, and get approval from the board to sit their exam. Upon receiving a passing score and being approved by the board, aspiring nurses will receive an RN license.
A second option exists for nurses who have been previously licensed as an RN in another state or country. They have the opportunity to apply for licensure by endorsement. Applicants by examination and applicants by endorsement will also have to complete a criminal background check.
One additional path exists for nurses who have been licensed in a state belonging to the Nurse Licensure Compact, or NLC. This program is a collective of 25 states, which stipulates that nursing licenses earned in one participating state will be recognized in another. New Hampshire is one such state.
Once an RN has obtained his or her license, that license must be appropriately maintained. A New Hampshire nursing license is valid for a period of two years. A license must be renewed before midnight on the license-holder’s birthday. The state mails reminders to all licensed nurses approximately six weeks before expiration, and licenses can be renewed directly online.
How to Get an Advanced Practice Nurse License (APRN) in New Hampshire
New Hampshire nursing licenses are also available for nurses interested in a more complicated field of work, such as that of an advanced practice registered nurse. APRNs in the state are qualified to administer opioid medication, deliver therapeutic treatments, and treat serious conditions like acute or chronic pain. To qualify as an APRN, candidates should complete a graduate program at a university recognized by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing before applying for licensure.
Although New Hampshire belongs to the Nurse Licensure Compact, the provisions of the NLC program do not apply to APRN licensure. As a result, aspiring APRNs will have to apply for a brand-new New Hampshire advanced practice nurse license. This process requires aspiring APRNs to obtain and maintain a national certification from one of several nationally approved organizations. If an APRN allows this certification to lapse and continues working, it is akin to practicing without a license.
APRNs in New Hampshire must also take care to ensure that their license remains valid. Like any other nursing license in the state, an APRN must renew his or her license every two years. In the event that one’s advanced practice licensure does expire, New Hampshire has provisions in place to grant new licensure via its reentry process.