North Carolina consists of 100 counties and is home to more than 9.6 million people, and healthcare professionals expect the shortage of nurses to continue to increase as the elderly population grows; but they also realize that it will take more than simply recruiting new nurses to address the issue. The North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) have formed a task force comprised of nursing educators, employers, and support agencies that is aimed at creating programs that will increase the number of nurses. They are taking a deeper look at the needs of these programs and how to best implement them in order to address the shortage issue.
Not only are entry-level nurses needed, but the healthcare system also needs more advanced nurses, such as nurse practitioners, to address the growing need for more complex, ongoing care for the elderly. Reports project that by 2020, North Carolina will have a nurse shortage of nearly 20 percent, and will need to fill thousands of positions. The North Carolina Board of Nursing (NCBON) currently licenses the following nurses:
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Nursing Licensure in North Carolina
Each state has its own licensing and certification requirements and a Nursing Board that is responsible for overseeing the profession. The mission of the NCBON is to protect the public by regulating the practice of nursing, and licenses are only issued once qualified candidates have completed all of the necessary steps. In order to practice as a professional nurse in the state of North Carolina, applicants must first:
- Complete a Board-approved nursing program (RN or LPN)
- Receive a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
- Satisfactory completion of a criminal background check
- Complete a self-assessment, development of a learning plan, and complete one approved learning activity within the two-year period prior to license renewal
- Complete the required continuing education and submit license for renewal prior to the expiration date
Advanced nursing candidates should note that licensing and certification requirements vary by state. Your specific area of specialty will determine what steps must be taken in order to obtain and renew license eligibility.
Average Nursing Salaries in North Carolina
All salary data is as of May 2011.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a registered nurse in the United States in $69,110, while North Carolina’s average salary is $60,960. This number is considerably lower than the national average. North Carolina employs more than 91,000 RNs, dispersed among their many metropolitan areas. Salaries throughout the state are noticeably lower than the U.S. average, with Durham-Chapel Hill and Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News experiencing the highest wages at $64,280 and $63,240, respectively.
|Area||Registered Nurses||Average Annual Salary|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News||12,640||$63,240|