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Nebraska Nursing License Requirements

Nurses in the state of Nebraska are licensed by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, while the regulations and advisory guidelines are promoted by the Nebraska Board of Nursing in the case of registered and practical nurses and the Board of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in the case of nurse practitioners and other advanced nurse specialists. All nurses in Nebraska must obtain an education appropriate to their level of practice and meet minimum guidelines for licensure. Continue learning about the nurse licensure process for practical nurses, registered nurses, and nurse practitioners in Nebraska below.

» How to become a licensed practical nurse (requires completion of a training program)
» How to become a registered nurse (requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree)
» How to become a nurse practitioner (requires a master’s degree)

3 Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Nebraska

1. Graduate from an Approved Program in Practical Nursing.

To obtain a practical nursing license in Nebraska candidates must first complete a program in practical nursing. Such a program is typically nine months to one year in length.1 A list of approved programs is available through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.2

2. Submit the Application for Nursing.

Applicants for a practical nurse license in Nebraska must demonstrate proof of age and citizenship status to support the application for licensure. Applicants must be at least 19 years of age to qualify for a practical nurse license.3 A list of acceptable documents is available on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website.3 A recent, signed photograph in wallet size must also accompany the application.4 Certified transcripts from the nursing program completed should be forwarded directly to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services by the school.4 All applicable sections of the application form must be completed thoroughly, including Section H – Attestation, and bear original signatures where indicated.

3. Register for and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.

All practical nurses in Nebraska must take and earn a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).5 The test is given and scored by Pearson VUE, a third party company retained by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for the NCLEX-PN.5 Applicants should register with Pearson VUE after an application for licensure is submitted.6 After review of the application, the applicant will receive an Authorization to Test to schedule the exam by e-mail if an e-mail address was provided to Pearson VUE or by regular mail if no e-mail address was provided.5

Applicants who pass the exam can check the License Lookup on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website to see if a license has been issued; a paper license will also be sent to the applicant by regular mail.5 Applicants who fail the NCLEX-PN can apply to re-take the exam after a wait period of 45 days.7

3 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Nebraska

1. Graduate from a Program in Registered or Professional Nursing.

Prospective registered nurses must first complete a program in registered or professional nursing that culminates in the award of a degree or diploma, typically an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. An acceptable program for registered nurse preparation is commonly two to four years in length.1 Prospective registered nurses planning their education in Nebraska can view a list of schools approved by the Nebraska Board of Nursing online.2

2. Submit the Application for Nursing.

The Application for Nursing is used to apply to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for initial licensure.4 All registered nurses must be at least 19 years of age and have legal status as a citizen or immigrant in the US.3 Supporting documents to demonstrate proof of age and citizenship status must be included with the application.3 Applicants should also include a signed, recently taken wallet size photograph with the application.4 The program of nursing from which the candidate graduated should send official transcripts directly to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.4 Candidates must thoroughly complete all applicable sections of the application form must be completed thoroughly, including Section H – Attestation.4 Where signatures are required, the originals and not copies should be sent to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.4

3. Register for and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

A passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is required for registered nurse licensure in Nebraska.5 The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services uses a third party test administrator, Pearson VUE, for the NCLEX-RN.5 Registration for the exam is done through the Pearson VUE website following submittal of the application for licensure.6 Once the application has been reviewed, an Authorization to Test to schedule the exam will be issued by e-mail if an e-mail address is provided to Pearson VUE or by regular mail if not.5

Applicants who are successful in the NCLEX-RN attempt will be able to check license status through the License Lookup function on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website.5 A paper license will follow by regular mail.5 Those who are not successful at the NCLEX-RN on the first attempt may re-apply to take the exam after a 45 day wait period.7

8 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Nebraska

1. Earn a License in Registered Nursing.

The first step to becoming a nurse practitioner in Nebraska is obtaining licensure as a registered nurse.8 This licensure may be in Nebraska or in a compact state.8 However, applicants whose primary state of residence is Nebraska should obtain a Nebraska registered nurse license, which requires meeting the education requirements and passing the NCLEX-RN.8

2. Graduate from a Post-Basic Program in Nursing.

Nurse practitioners in Nebraska must have a master’s or doctoral degree to qualify for licensure.8 The program completed should include instruction as well as a preceptorship consisting of a minimum of 500 contact hours.8 In addition, nurse practitioners must complete at least 30 contact hours of education in pharmacotherapeutics.8 A list of master’s degree programs in nursing in Nebraska approved by the Nebraska Board of Nursing as meeting these basic requirements is available.2

3. Obtain National Certification as a Nurse Practitioner.

Certification as a nurse practitioner at the national level from a certifying body approved by the Nebraska Board of Nursing is a prerequisite to nurse practitioner licensure.9 The certification must be issued on the basis of a qualifying examination.9 A list of acceptable agencies and examinations is available on the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website.10

4. Complete a Criminal Background Check.

A criminal background check is required for any Nebraska licensee with the authority to dispense or prescribe controlled substances, which includes nurse practitioners.8 Nurse practitioners should be prepared for the background check process to take several weeks.8 To initiate the background check, applicants must request a set of fingerprint cards from the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Licensure Unit.8 Once the cards are received the applicant may schedule a fingerprinting appointment at any office of the Nebraska State Patrol.8 After impressions have been taken the completed fingerprint cards should be sent directly to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services by the fingerprinting agency.8

5. Submit the Application for Nurse Practitioner.

Nurse practitioners must apply for licensure using the Application for Nurse Practitioner.8 Applicants must include proof of age as well as proof of legal status in the US with the application.8 Official transcripts from the school of nursing graduated must be sent directly to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services by the school.8 In addition, the association from which national certification was obtained must submit evidence of certification directly to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.8

Applicants may request a temporary permit that is valid for up to 60 days or until the results of a first attempt at a national examination are received.8 Applicants who wish to request a temporary permit should follow the application procedures and mark the temporary permit request box on the application.8 Applicants requesting a temporary permit will submit proof of national examination scheduling in lieu of proof of national certification.8

6. Apply for Controlled Substance Registration.

As advanced practice registered nurses, licensed nurse practitioners are authorized to prescribe and dispense controlled substances without further licensure.11 However, prior to engaging in the dispensation or prescription of controlled substances nurse practitioners must obtain federal controlled substance registration after a nurse practitioner license is issued.11 The federal controlled substance registration can be completed online through the US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration.12

7. Execute an Integrated Practice Agreement.

Nurse practitioners who do not meet certain experiential requirements must practice under an integrated practice agreement with a licensed Nebraska physician. These experiential requirements affect nurse practitioners who have not yet completed 2,000 hours of advanced practice under supervision or who have not completed 45 advanced academic hours in pharmacotherapeutics, health assessment, and pathophysiology/psychopathology at an approved program.8 The integrated practice agreement should be written and outline the protocols and scope of collaboration between the nurse practitioner and physician. An Attestation of Jointly Approved Protocols form and an Integrated Practice Agreement executed by the nurse practitioner and the collaborating physician should be sent to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for nurse practitioners who are not eligible to practice independently due to these requirements.13 Upon meeting the experience and academic requirements for practice without protocols, nurse practitioners should forward to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services an Attestation of Supervised Practice for Practice Without Protocols.14

8. Obtain Professional Liability Insurance.

Prior to practicing as a nurse practitioner in Nebraska, nurse practitioners must obtain professional liability insurance with minimum coverage amounts of $200,000 per incident and $600,000 aggregate per year.8 An Attestation of Professional Liability Insurance form demonstrating compliance must be forwarded to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services; a copy of this form is provided in the initial licensure application materials.8

Nebraska Nursing Associations

Currently practicing and future nurses in Nebraska can find professional and personal benefits from joining a Nebraska nursing association, such as networking and employment opportunities as well as continuing education.

Nebraska Nursing Salary

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants14,130$24,180
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses6,080$37,840
Registered Nurses18,590$56,350
Nurse Practitioners770$82,600

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

References:
1. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Registered Nurse/Licensed Practical Nurse
2. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Approved Schools of Nursing in Nebraska
3. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Proof of Age, Citizenship
4. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Application for Nursing
5. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: FAQs and Tips for Initial Applications
6. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination
7. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Registered Nurse/Licensed Practical Nurse Examination Information
8. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Application for Nurse Practitioner
9. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Statutes Relating to Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Practice Act
10. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse-Nurse Practitioner Examination Requirements
11. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse-Nurse Practitioner Controlled Substance Registration
12. US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration: Application for Registration Under Controlled Substance Act of 1970
13. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Integrated Practice Agreement
14. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Attestation of Supervised Practice for Practice Without Protocols