According to a 2014 report by the Delaware Nurses Association, close to 45 percent of registered nurses in the state work in hospitals, while around 9 percent are employed at ambulatory care companies and nearly 7 percent work in extended care facilities. Those three settings sit at the top of the list of work environments for nurses in the state, which also includes hospices, correctional facilities, assisted living organizations and more.

No matter where Delaware nurses find employment, their journey begins at a nursing college that can help them to prepare for the demands of the job. This page details information about how to become a nurse in Delaware, covering educational options, nursing certification and licensure processes, and professional organizations that can help keep your career moving forward.

Featured Nursing Schools in Delaware

Delaware Badge ImageDelaware is home to 5 nursing colleges, and choosing the right one can be a challenge. You may have an idea of what your ideal school is like, but trying out every nursing program is a fairly labor-intensive way to decide which campus is the right place for you to get your education.

Read on for our featured lists of nursing schools in Delaware — one for undergraduates and one for graduate students. In these lists, we display data gathered by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to help students understand more about what each school is like and which one might be the best choice for you.

Nursing Accreditation in Delaware

No matter what you’re going to school for or where you’re planning to do it, it’s important to choose an accredited institution. When a Delaware nursing school has earned official accreditation, it has gone through a rigorous review process by an unaffiliated organization that certifies it as meeting the level of quality expected by the state nursing board.

Not all accrediting agencies operate in Delaware, so it’s important to pay attention to what agency has certified the schools you’re looking at. The following are examples of some of the accrediting bodies students should look for when they research nursing schools in Delaware:

  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Delaware Nursing Licensure

After nursing students complete their degree programs, they are required to obtain a license before beginning their employment as a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) in Delaware. The Delaware Board of Nursing requires license applicants to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs (NCLEX-PN) or for RNs (NCLEX-RN), pay the required $156 fee and undergo a criminal background check.

Similarly, those who want to earn a position as a nurse practitioner (NP) or other advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) must first complete advanced nursing education and pay $156 to state nursing board. A master’s degree is the most common educational pathway to APRN licensure, but a post-basic certificate in a clinical nursing specialty may also be acceptable. Potential APRN licensees must also have a set amount of experience in their specialty — 600 hours in the previous two years or 1,500 hours in the previous five years — and must file a separate license application for each nursing specialty in which they plan to practice.

Delaware Nursing organizations

Joining a Delaware nursing organization is an excellent way for professionals to become active in the nursing community and get to know their peers. In addition, these organizations offer educational programs that can help to keep nurses’ skills sharp throughout their careers.

Here’s a short list of professional associations available to Delaware nurses:

  • Delaware Nurses Association:

    The DNA advocates for safe working environments and access to tools that nurses need to provide quality care to their patients. Members of this organization can take advantage of continuing education classes, networking events and a newsletter that covers news and events in the state’s nursing industry.

  • Delaware School Nurse Association:

    This organization works to empower school nurses around the state by providing advocacy services and education. Members receive a subscription to The Journal of School Nursing and NASN School Nurse, as well as access to continuing education classes and membership conferences.

  • Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists:

    Nurse anesthetists who join this organization receive services specific to their practice area. The association provides news about the field, advocacy services and annual statewide meetings. In addition, aspiring nurse anesthetists can apply for a scholarship from the organization.

  • Delaware Association of Occupational Health Nurses:

    Members of this organization can receive education through the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) Academy, as well as access to industry publications and networking events. The association also works to advance the occupational health specialty through marketing and advocacy work.

Delaware-Specific Continuing Education

The state nursing board expects professionals to continue learning long after they have completed their degree programs. As a result, RNs in Delaware are required to take 30 hours of continuing education, while LPNs should complete 24 hours. Continuing education may include coursework in subjects such as pharmacotherapeutics, substance abuse and/or chronic pain.

Hospitals in Delaware

Since hospitals are the largest employer of nurses in Delaware, it can be helpful to know as much as possible about regional medical centers when weighing job opportunities after earning your license. The following hospitals, which are among the largest in the state, should probably be on your radar when considering potential employment destinations.

  • Christiana Hospital (Newark): Christiana Hospital not only provides care to its community, but also trains future medical professionals through its state-of-the art John H. Ammon Medical Education Center. The hospital is the home to the only Level I trauma center in the state, as well as Delaware’s only Level III neonatal intensive care facility.
  • Bayhealth Kent General Hospital (Dover): Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, which opened in 1927, offers a wide range of services, from cancer treatment and neurosurgery to women’s health care. In addition, the hospital has a sleep care center that tests people who are experiencing symptoms of sleep disorders, such as snoring, fatigue, leg cramps or night terrors.
  • Beebe Healthcare (Lewes): Beebe Healthcare provides a continuum of services that includes non-surgical treatments for back and neck pain, wound care, open heart surgery and nutritional therapy. In addition, Beebe Healthcare operates the Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing, which has a dual enrollment partnership with the University of Delaware.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • American Hospital Directory, Accessed August 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  • Annual Statistics NCLEX, Delaware.gov, Accessed August 2018, https://dprfiles.delaware.gov/nursing/Annual_NCLEX_Stats_16-17.pdf
  • Nursing Workforce, Delaware Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, http://www.denurses.org/Top-Menu-Category/Delaware-Nursing-Workforce
  • Nursing Workforce in the State of Delaware: A Current Look (2014), Delaware Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, https://denurses.wildapricot.org/resources/Documents/Nursing%20Workforce%20in%20the%20State%20of%20Delaware%20A%20Current%20Look%202014.pdf#page=10
  • About, DSU College of Health & Behavioral Sciences, Accessed August 2018, https://chbs.desu.edu/about
  • Nursing, Delaware Technical Community College, Accessed August 2018, https://www.dtcc.edu/academics/programs-study/nursing
  • Become Nurse In Delaware + Requirements & Licensing, NurseJournal.org, Accessed August 2018, https://nursejournal.org/licensing/delaware-nursing-requirements/
  • Frequently Asked Questions, Division of Professional Regulation – State of Delaware, Accessed August 2018, https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/nursing/faqs/
  • License by Examination, Division of Professional Regulation – State of Delaware, Accessed August 2018, https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/nursing/exam/
  • License Renewal, Division of Professional Regulation – State of Delaware, Accessed August 2018, https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/nursing/renewal/
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License, Division of Professional Regulation – State of Delaware, Accessed December 2018, https://dpr.delaware.gov/boards/nursing/apnlicense/
  • Delaware Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, http://www.denurses.org/
  • Delaware School Nurse Association, Accessed August 2018, http://www.dsna.org/home
  • Delaware Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Accessed August 2018, https://www.delawareana.org/
  • Delaware Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Accessed August 2018, https://daohn.nursingnetwork.com/
  • Christiana Hospital, Accessed August 2018, https://christianacare.org/facilities/christianahospital/
  • Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, Accessed August 2018, https://www.bayhealth.org/kent-campus
  • Beebe Healthcare, Accessed August 2018, https://www.beebehealthcare.org/
  • Margaret H. Rollins School of Nursing at Beebe Healthcare, Beebe Healthcare, Accessed December 2018, https://www.beebehealthcare.org/school-nursing
  • Delaware: Board of Nursing CE Requirements, Nurse.com, Accessed August 2018, https://www.nurse.com/state-nurse-ce-requirements/delaware

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