LPN to RN Bridge Programs
If you are a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, who would like to become a registered nurse, or RN, there are several paths from which to choose. Contrary to what you might think, you do not have to start your education over to become an RN. LPN to RN bridge programs are offered in most communities. Such programs take into account your previous training, education and work experience, allowing you to qualify to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam within a shorter period of time. Many LPN to RN bridge programs are offered partially online too, which allows you to hold down your LPN job while working toward becoming an RN.
1. Choose a Path to Become an RN
When it comes to moving from an LPN to an RN, there are two main options: earning an associate's degree in nursing, or ADN, or earning a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN. Existing LPNs can easily find LPN to ADN and LPN to BSN bridge programs that let them achieve their goals more quickly. However, due to the increasing popularity of BSN programs, ADN programs are largely being phased out. Although they can be completed more quickly than BSN programs, ADN programs open up fewer career paths. If you plan to be a nurse throughout your career and want as many options as possible, an LPN to BSN program is probably the best option.
2. Applying and Prerequisites
Whether you choose an ADN or BSN program, make sure that it is fully accredited. Otherwise, you may not be able to sit for the NCLEX-RN. The right program will be accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, or ACEN; the Commission in Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE; or both.
To be eligible for most LPN to RN bridge programs, you typically must have maintained a minimum GPA during your LPN training. You must also pass entrance exams like the Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, or the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination. You usually must possess a valid LPN license. In some cases, you may also be required to provide proof of professional experience.
3. Typical Curricula
Since you have completed an LPN program, you already have a decent idea about what to expect during your LPN to RN training. The curriculum for this type of program varies from place to place, but it typically closely adheres to state nursing standards. The curriculum is designed to build upon your existing understanding of nursing. Many of the courses will sound similar to ones that you took during LPN training, but they are more advanced. Examples of courses that you're likely to take include Advanced Human Anatomy and Physiology; Principles of Pharmacology; Trends in Nursing; and Medical-Surgical Nursing.
4. Clinical Experience
As with LPN training programs, LPN to RN bridge programs include clinical training in addition to classroom work, lectures and labs. The typical bridge program includes clinical experiences that span many different settings and specialties. A typical clinical training session lasts eight to 12 hours and may be conducted in an ER, a rehabilitation facility, a nursing home or elsewhere. You will gain clinical experience in many specializations, including pediatrics, gerontology, acute care and community health.
5. Online LPN to RN Bridge Programs
If you plan to continue working as an LPN during your LPN to RN training, you might consider enrolling in an online LPN to RN bridge program. Through an online learning management system, you will be able to virtually attend lectures, labs and other activities. You will still have to complete your clinical sessions, but some programs allow you complete it at your place of employment.
6. NCLEX-RN Examination
LPN to ADN programs take one to two years to complete. LPN to BSN programs take two to four years to complete. Upon completing and passing either program, you will be eligible to sit for your state's NCLEX-RN examination. Once you pass the exam, you can apply for your RN license.
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