The Connecticut Board of Examiners for Nursing, a unit of the Department of Health, regulates the licensing of registered nurses in the state. As of 2014, the Board of Examiners for Nursing oversaw 62,924 active RN licenses.
The Board of Examiners for Nursing recognizes four routes to initial RN licensure in Connecticut: a two-year diploma, an associate degree in nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, and a master’s degree.
The Connecticut Nursing Collaborative-Action Coalition reported that 32 percent of all licensed RNs in Connecticut hold a BSN. In response to the Institute of Medicine’s call to action for at least 80 percent of the nursing workforce to be bachelor-prepared by 2020, the Nursing Collaborative-Action Coalition has responded with a number of innovative programs designed to increase the number of BSN nurses in Connecticut.
According to the Collaborative-Action Coalition, major changes in the U.S. healthcare system and practice environments means that changes are afoot with regard to the educational standards for nurses. A number of reports have shown that BSN-prepared nurses are associated with lower patient mortality rates and increased patient satisfaction, thereby prompting many hospitals and healthcare institutions in Connecticut to seek bachelor-prepared RNs and to encourage their current nursing staff to complete RN-BSN bridge programs.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Pre-Licensure Programs in Connecticut
Online BSN pre-licensure programs are becoming increasingly commonplace, with students now enjoying a wide array of choices when it comes to their nursing education. Online programs, unlike many campus-based programs, allow students to study at their own pace and schedule, therefore making them a smart choice for today’s working nursing students.
There are also currently 8 pre-licensure BSN programs available at campus locations in Connecticut in these cities:
- West Hartford
- New Haven
- New Britain
Both online and campus-based programs provide a similar course of study, which include both general education courses and a nursing core curriculum.
General Education and Core BSN Course Requirements
The general education requirements, which serve as the building blocks of knowledge in a BSN course of study, must usually be completed before nursing courses and clinical experiences can take place, although this varies among institutions.
Prerequisites in a BSN program generally include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Healthcare/Healthcare delivery system
Most programs do not introduce students to core nursing courses until general education requirements have been met. Upon the completion of all general education requirements, students must usually apply for admission into the nursing program, which includes the completion of an application, a formal interview, and minimum GPA requirements from their prerequisites.
Nursing courses during this time are often combined with laboratory and clinical experiences that facilitate the transfer of knowledge from theory to practice.
Core nursing courses in a BSN program in Connecticut often include:
- Nursing research/evidence-based practice
- Ethics in nursing
- Practical behavioral health
- Nursing leadership
- Professional nursing
- Nursing care of adults
- Mental health nursing
- Research in nursing practice
- Leadership and management in nursing practice
BSN Clinical Requirements
A BSN program in Connecticut culminates with study that is accompanied by clinical experiences in a variety of settings. Most colleges and universities are affiliated with specific local healthcare agencies that help accommodate the completion of clinical experiences. Online BSN programs also require the completion of clinical rotations at local facilities.
Clinical experiences include guidance from expert nurse faculty in a number of healthcare settings, such as acute care institutions, community-based practices, mental health institutions, pediatric facilities, and the like.
Just a few of the healthcare facilities in Connecticut where students may perform their clinical rotations include:
- Danbury Hospital, Danbury
- Hartford Hospital, Hartford
- Middlesex Hospital, Middletown
- Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford
- Vincent’s Medical Center, Bridgeport
How to Become Licensed as an RN in Connecticut
To apply for an RN license in Connecticut, applicants must complete, sign, and submit a State of Connecticut, Department of Public Health Registered Nurse Licensing Application. The cost of initial licensure is $180, which must be included with the application.
Applicants must also submit their official transcripts of nursing education, verifying that they have completed the 120 minimum credits required of a BSN.
Earning an RN license in Connecticut also requires taking and passing the NCLEX-RN, a national examination designed to assess a candidate’s competence to practice as an entry-level RN. Applicants must register for the NCLEX-RN online through Pearson Vue.
Applicants who are deemed eligible for RN licensure in Connecticut will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter from Pearson Vue, at which time they can schedule a testing appointment with Pearson Vue, which has testing centers throughout the U.S., including the following cities in Connecticut: Wallingford, Wethersfield, and Norwalk.
RN Residency Programs in Connecticut for New Graduates
Newly licensed RNs in Connecticut may be eligible for a nurse residency program, a formal program designed to facilitate the shift from student to professional nurse. These programs allow hospitals to ensure their nursing staff is highly qualified and competent, while at the same time providing new RNs with the tools and guidance necessary to achieve success in the field of nursing.
Just a few of the Connecticut hospitals currently offering nurse residency programs to new BSN graduates include:
- Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury
- Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, Torrington
- Hartford Healthcare, Hartford
- William Backus Hospital, Norwich
- Hospital of Central Connecticut, New Britain
- Yale New Haven Hospital, New Haven
- Middlesex Hospital, Middletown
- Connecticut Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Hartford