Like many states in recent years, Kansas found itself facing a shortage of nurses. In response, the Kansas Nursing Initiative was launched in 2006, and the state legislature made a 10-year commitment to provide money for scholarships, nursing instructor salaries and school facility upgrades.
The result has been nearly 3,500 additional students enrolled in Kansas nursing schools from 2007-2014. More than 600 new instructors have been added to Kansas nursing programs, and 200 Nurse Educator Service Scholarships have been granted.
It all adds up to now being a good time to look into nursing careers. While enrollment waiting lists are long in some states, Kansas has made an effort to get more faculty into schools so more students can graduate. What's more, many Kansas nursing schools have put their programs online to allow current nurses an opportunity to more easily advance their career.
Online Nursing Programs in Kansas
There are several types of nursing programs available. Licensed practical nurses can typically be ready to work after completing a one-year diploma or certificate program. These programs are not available fully online since nursing is a hands-on profession and some level of clinical instruction is needed for those who are new to the field.
However, once a student has become an LPN, they can advance to a registered nurse position by completing the rest of their education online. Hutchinson Community College was the first Kansas institution to offer an online LPN to RN program although other schools may be following suit.
Likewise, current RNs who want to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing may be able to complete their education entirely online. There are a number of Kansas nursing schools that offer online RN to BSN programs.
- Rasmussen College
- Washburn University
- Ottawa University
- Fort Hays State University
These programs allow students to draw upon their current work experience as an RN as they study online to earn a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. Washburn University also offers the option for students to earn a Doctor of Nursing or a graduate certificate online as well.
What's the Nursing Career Outlook in Kansas?
An aging population and an increase in chronic medical conditions are a few of the factors driving job growth for nurses nationwide. According to government data, the K U Medical Center, Via-Christi Clinic and University of Kanas Hospital are some the state's largest employers. Other nurses may work in family practices, specialty clinics or provide home care services.
Below is a look at nursing jobs in Kansas, including total employment, average salaries and expected job growth.
|Position||Employment in Kansas (2014)||Average Salary in Kansas (2014)||Expected Job Growth Statewide (2012-2022)|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||6,480||$39,460||22.2%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014)
Salaries are lowest for nursing assistants and LPNs, which reflects the more general, basic services they provide. However, highly specialized nurses, such as nurse anesthesiologists, are in-demand and well-compensated.
While the numbers above represent statewide averages, actual incomes can vary by location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average RN wages broke down as follows based upon where a person worked.
- Kansas City: $62,770
- Wichita: $52,760
- Topeka: $62,430
- Lawrence: $58,630
- Manhattan: $58,650
What are Nursing Specializations in Kansas?
According to Johnson & Johnson, there are 104 nursing specialties in which graduates of Kansas nursing programs may work. These include the following, among others:
- Certified Nurse Midwife
- Geriatric Nurse
- Lactation Consultant
- Informatics Nurse
- Pediatric Nurse
Some of these positions may be open to nurses at any level while others may require specific education or experience. For example, nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and nurse anesthesiologists are advanced practice nurses who need education beyond what is provided in a BSN program.
Nurses can also specialize by earning professional certifications. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers certification programs for nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists as well as 27 specialty certifications for other nurses. Among them are these options:
- Ambulatory care nursing
- Forensic nursing
- Home health nursing
- Nursing case management
- Public health nursing
Education requirements may vary for each certification, and Kansas nursing schools can help students identify which specialization may be the best fit for them.
If you're interested in furthering your education but don't have time in your busy schedule for campus classes, you may want to take a closer look at online Kansas nursing programs. Contact one or more of the schools listed below to learn how distance education programs can work for you.
1. Long-term projections, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm2. Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ks.htm3. School of Nursing, Washburn University, http://washburn.edu/academics/college-schools/nursing/index.html4. Nursing, Kansas Board of Regents, http://www.kansasregents.org/workforce_development/the_kansas_nursing_initiative5. Associate Degree Nursing, Hutchinson Community College, http://www.hutchcc.edu/allied-health/associate-degree-nursing/6. Largest Employers, Kansas, CareerOneStop, http://www.careerinfonet.org/oview6.asp?id=&soccode=&nodeid=12&stfips=20&from=State7. Explore Specialties, Johnson & Johnson, https://www.discovernursing.com/explore-specialties#no-filters8. ANCC Certification Center, American Nurses Credentialing Center, http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Certification