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Guide to Obtaining an Oklahoma Nursing License

Written by: University of Tulsa   •  Aug 3, 2023
A Smiling Nurse in a Hospital Hallway.

Guide to Obtaining an Oklahoma Nursing License

The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the number of jobs for registered nurses in Oklahoma will grow 12% between 2020 and 2030. That’s double the forecasted 6% growth rate for all registered nurses across the nation. In May 2022, registered nurses in Oklahoma had a median annual salary of almost $75,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with top earners making nearly six figures.

As the demand for skilled health care professionals surges, individuals seeking to become registered nurses in Oklahoma find themselves on a promising career path. By learning what it takes to obtain an Oklahoma nursing license, aspiring nurses can begin the journey toward a profession dedicated to compassion, healing, and making a tangible difference in people’s lives.

Becoming a Registered Nurse in Oklahoma

To obtain an Oklahoma nursing license and practice as a registered nurse (RN) in the state, individuals need to take a few key steps.

Educational Requirements for Registered Nurses in Oklahoma

Registered nurses in Oklahoma must meet specific educational requirements mandated by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN). These requirements vary according to the level of nursing practice they aspire to.

For example, to perform general nursing duties such as administering medication and assisting in medical procedures, nurses may only need an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).

To pursue leadership roles, participate in quality improvement initiatives, plan and manage patient care, and take on other more advanced responsibilities, nurses need to meet additional educational requirements. Some health care organizations and employers prefer or require RNs to hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree for certain roles.

Following are the two key educational pathways for becoming a registered nurse:

  • Completing a state-approved Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program: This typically takes around two years to complete and develops foundational nursing knowledge and skills.
  • Completing a state-approved Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program: This typically takes around four years to complete and provides a broader educational foundation, including courses in nursing research, leadership, and community health.

Clinical Experience for Registered Nurses

Clinical rotations are a vital component of ADN and BSN degree program curricula. Nursing programs typically require students to complete a specified number of clinical hours. These clinical hours serve to provide hands-on experience in diverse health care settings. This allows students to apply theoretical knowledge, develop critical-thinking skills, and gain competence in various aspects of patient care.

Through these practical experiences, students can build confidence and prepare themselves for the demands of real-world nursing practice. Supervised clinical hour requirements also help ensure programs meet accreditation standards and best practices in nursing education.

Clinical hour requirements can vary depending on the chosen nursing program and degree level. Individuals should review the clinical experience requirements of the nursing programs they are considering. Selecting a program that can provide clinical experiences in their area of interest enables aspiring nurses to maximize their learning opportunities.

Nursing students may also consider applying for internships to develop the practical skills and knowledge necessary for a nursing career.

Once nursing students have earned their ADN or BSN degree, they are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). After successfully passing the exam, individuals can apply for an RN license.

Researching Nursing Programs

When considering nursing programs, prospective students benefit from thoroughly researching the schools that interest them. Exploring various programs allows individuals to make informed decisions and choose programs that align with their educational and career goals.

Key factors to consider when evaluating nursing programs include the following:

  • NCLEX pass rates: Prospective students should examine the program’s NCLEX pass rates, as success in this licensure examination is a crucial milestone for aspiring RNs. Higher pass rates may indicate a program’s effectiveness in preparing students for the exam.
  • Accreditation: Accreditation ensures that a nursing program meets specific quality standards. Choosing a program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) ensures that the program meets recognized industry standards.

In addition to NCLEX pass rates and accreditation, prospective students should consider a program’s curriculum, faculty qualifications, clinical ratios, and available student support services.

Resources for Becoming a Registered Nurse in Oklahoma

Access to the right resources can significantly help individuals working to obtain an Oklahoma nursing license and pursue a career as a registered nurse in Oklahoma. The following links offer valuable support and information about everything from reports on NCLEX pass rates and resources on clinicals to nursing scholarship and internship opportunities.

  • Oklahoma Board of Nursing’s education page provides a comprehensive range of resources, from details on state-approved nursing programs to guidelines, policies, and reports on topics such as faculty qualifications, clinical ratios, and NCLEX pass rates.
  • The National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s Exam Statistics and Publications page includes fact sheets on NCLEX exam pass rates and program reports that identify the strengths and weaknesses of different nursing programs, as well as NCSBN-produced and external publications related to exams and testing.
  • Indeed’s “FAQs About What to Expect in Nursing School Clinicals” offers useful information about nursing clinicals, such as the types of skills learned, the structure of clinical rotations, grading systems, homework assignments, and tips for maximizing the clinical experience.
  • The American Nurses Association (ANA), a leading professional nursing organization, offers a career center on its website with a job search engine that can help nursing students find internship opportunities across the country.
  • The State of Oklahoma’s Nursing Student Assistance Program offers loans to students in BSN, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and other nursing programs who are interested in practicing within Oklahoma.
  • The Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association scholarship program helps students enrolled in associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degree nursing programs pay for their education.
  • The Indian Health Service Scholarship Program covers the tuition and expenses of qualified American Indian and Alaska Native undergraduate- and graduate-level nursing students in exchange for a commitment to work for one year at an American Indian health facility for each year of financial support.
  • The Oklahoma Nurses Association provides resources and information related to licensure requirements, regulatory updates, and job opportunities in the state.

Preparing for the NCLEX-RN

Aspiring nurses who can approach the NCLEX-RN with confidence increase their chances of performing well. Building up this confidence calls for thoughtful preparation. With diligent effort and effective strategies, individuals can equip themselves to pass the NCLEX-RN and embark on their careers as registered nurses.

Understanding the NCLEX-RN

The first step involves becoming familiar with the test’s purpose and format. The exam aims to assess the test taker’s knowledge and skills related to safe and effective entry-level nursing practice. To effectively focus their studies, individuals preparing for the NCLEX-RN may want to consider the following key details:

Exam Structure

The NCLEX-RN is a computerized adaptive test (CAT), which means the difficulty level of the questions adapts based on the test taker’s responses. The exam is designed to assess an individual’s nursing knowledge, critical-thinking skills, and ability to provide safe and effective patient care.

Subjects Covered

The exam covers a wide range of nursing concepts and topics. These typically include pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing, pediatric nursing, maternal-neonatal nursing, and psychiatric nursing. Becoming familiar with the content areas outlined in the official test plans can help individuals better understand the breadth of knowledge that may be assessed.

Question Types Included

The NCLEX-RN includes various question types, including the following:

  • Multiple-choice questions: These questions assess the individual’s ability to analyze information, prioritize nursing actions, and make clinical judgments.
  • Multiple-response questions: These questions require test takers to select multiple correct answers from a list, assessing their ability to identify multiple correct interventions.
  • Fill-in-the-blank questions: These questions may assess the test taker’s knowledge of specific terminology, concepts, or calculations.
  • Ordered-response questions: These questions require test takers to arrange options in a specific order or sequence, assessing their understanding of the correct sequence of nursing actions.

NCLEX-RN Study Tips

When preparing for the exam, test takers can employ various strategies and study materials to level up their performance. Following are some key resources and tips:

Turn to Nursing Textbooks

Individuals should study using textbooks that align with the content areas of the exam. These resources provide in-depth explanations of key concepts and can equip test takers with the foundational knowledge necessary for nursing practice.

Use Review Guides

Review guides condense the information relevant to the exam into concise formats and often include practice questions. They can serve as quick references and help reinforce key concepts.

Take Advantage of Online Platforms

As part of the study process, individuals can explore online platforms that offer practice questions, virtual simulations, case studies, and interactive learning materials. These resources can enhance their understanding and often provide a more engaging learning experience.

Complete Practice Exams

Practice exams are crucial for assessing readiness and identifying areas that need further review. By taking reputable practice tests that closely resemble the format and difficulty level of the NCLEX-RN, individuals become familiar with the types of questions they’ll encounter and also get invaluable practice managing their time effectively.

Take an NCLEX-RN Review Course

Test takers should consider enrolling in an NCLEX-RN review course offered by a reputable organization. These courses provide comprehensive content review, test-taking strategies, and expert guidance from experienced instructors. They can offer test takers additional support and a structure for their study plan.

How to Create an Effective NCLEX-RN Study Plan

Proper test preparation involves smart planning. The best study plans and schedules suit the individual’s learning style and commitments. To create an effective study plan for the NCLEX-RN, test takers should consider following these steps:

Determine Study Priorities

Individuals studying for the NCLEX-RN should decide which topics to prioritize based on their personal preferences and areas of weakness. Starting with challenging subjects can help build confidence.

Allocate Study Time

Test takers should try to study three to five hours per day, excluding days off. Breaking study sessions into shorter periods rather than marathon sessions can often lead to better results.

Select Optimal Study Times

Individuals should choose the best times for studying based on their schedule and preferences. Scheduling two study sessions, such as a morning content review and an evening self-quiz and assessment, can be an effective approach. However, adjustments can be made to accommodate individual circumstances while still maintaining consistency.

Plan Days Off

Scheduling days off in a study plan can help individuals preparing for the exam avoid burnout and improve their productivity. Taking one or two days off each week allows the mind to rest and can contribute to better overall performance.

Incorporate Practice Questions

Integrating NCLEX-style practice questions into a study routine can deliver notable benefits. Test takers should aim to complete around 60 questions per day, up to five times a week, with a focus on the topics that are the most difficult for them. Reviewing both correct and incorrect answers can help individuals deepen their understanding of and familiarity with the exam format.

Resources for NCLEX-RN Preparation

  • The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) site provides test plans, practice exams, and tutorials to support individuals studying for the NCLEX-RN. It also gives insights into the exam structure and what to expect on test day.
  • The Nerdy Nurse offers more than 60 resources for NCLEX test questions, exam preparation, and review practice, including links to NCLEX-RN apps, flash cards, webinars, notes, and cram sheets.
  • Test Prep Insight offers a list of the best NCLEX review books that can help individuals prepare for their exams.

Applying for an Oklahoma Nursing License

The application process and requirements for obtaining a nursing license in Oklahoma are set by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN). Individuals can avoid any delays in getting their Oklahoma nursing license and ensure the process is smooth by learning ahead of time what it will entail.

Application Process

Applying for licensure in Oklahoma is one of the final steps in becoming a registered nurse in the state. Individuals submit their nursing license applications to the OBN.

In addition to providing some personal information — such as their full legal name, date of birth, and Social Security number — the applicant must submit the following:

  • Proof of identity: Applicants need to provide a valid government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s license or passport.
  • Educational transcripts: Applicants need to submit official transcripts from the nursing program they attended to verify completion of the required education.
  • NCLEX-RN results: Applicants need to provide official documentation showing they passed the NCLEX-RN.
  • Application fee: At the time of submission, applicants must pay a fee of $85. This amount is subject to change, so individuals should check the OBN website for the most up-to-date information.

The OBN provides an online application system that streamlines the application process. Applicants can create an account on the OBN’s official website and complete the application electronically. The online system allows for secure document uploads and provides real-time updates on the status of the application.

Applicants should ensure that all of their required documentation is properly prepared and uploaded. By reviewing the application thoroughly before submitting it, individuals can avoid errors or omissions that could slow down the processing of their application.

Background Check and Fingerprints

As part of the licensure application process, individuals must also have their fingerprints taken and undergo a background check. The background check ensures that individuals seeking licensure have no disqualifying factors that would prevent them from practicing as a nurse in the state.

Applicants need to provide information related to their criminal background, including any arrests, charges, convictions, or pending cases. Additionally, they may need to disclose any previous disciplinary actions taken against them by other licensing boards or regulatory agencies.

The background check verifies the presence or absence of an applicant’s criminal history and any potential issues that could raise concerns regarding their fitness to practice nursing.

Scheduling and Completing Fingerprinting

To fulfill the fingerprinting requirement, applicants can schedule an appointment with a designated fingerprinting agency or facility. The OBN provides detailed instructions on the authorized agencies and the process to follow.

During the fingerprinting appointment, applicants’ fingerprints will be captured digitally or through traditional ink-based methods. These fingerprints are then compared against state and federal databases.

The background check process can be time-consuming, so individuals should initiate this step early in the application process.

Take the Steps to Become a Nurse in Oklahoma

Obtaining an Oklahoma nursing license is a significant — and essential — milestone for aspiring nurses. By following the necessary steps, individuals can navigate the licensure process with confidence and embark on a rewarding career in nursing, contributing to the health and well-being of the people in their community.

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