Delaware is the second-smallest state in the U.S. but has a dense population of more than 900,000 people. With the nursing shortages across the country, they are struggling to bridge the gap between supply and demand. Many nurses are nearing retirement age, while the aging baby boomer generation puts more strain on the health care system. Nursing schools throughout the state do not have the capacity to keep up with the growing demand, and many students remain on waiting lists for admission. But it is not only entry-level nurses that are in need; advanced practice nurses, such as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, are needed to fill the positions of those leaving the field.
Delaware is currently experiencing a deficit of approximately 1,300 nurses, and that number is expected to grow. High schools in the state have even begun nursing programs in order to prepare students to be certified as nursing assistants upon graduation. This helps fill the need in the health care system, while giving students a head start toward a nursing degree. The Board of Nursing in Delaware currently offers professional licenses for the following levels:
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Advanced Practice Nurse (APN)
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Nursing Licensure in Delaware
Each state mandates its own requirements and criteria for nursing licensure, and the Nursing Board is responsible for regulating the profession. All obligations must be met before applicants are issued a license. In order to practice as a professional nurse in Delaware, you must first complete all of the following eligibility requirements:
- Complete a nursing education program approved by the state
- Receive a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
- Complete the required continuing education before license renewal
- Renew your license every two years
Regulations for advanced practice nursing licenses vary between states. Your specific area of specialty will determine the necessary requirements you must meet in order to maintain your eligibility.
Average Nursing Salaries in Delaware
All salary data is as of May 2011.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a registered nurse practicing in Delaware is $72,060, which is slightly higher than the U.S. national average of $69,110. Roughly 80 percent of their more than 10,000 registered nurses are employed in the Wilmington metropolitan division, where reported wages are $73,930 per year.
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Salaries for Wilmington and Sussex County remain above the national average; however, Dover’s reported wages were considerably lower than the U.S. average by more than $6,000 per year.