If you've been working as a practical or vocational nurse but want to advance your career, consider one of the many LPN to RN bridge programs to move up the ladder to registered nurse. As a registered nurse, you'll earn a higher wage and have many more job opportunities, including management roles.
What Are LPN to RN Bridge Programs?
While some students complete their associate degree in nursing (ADN) by finishing their training over four consecutive semesters, there has been a growing need for specialized programs that recognize the coursework and hands-on experience of practical nurses wishing to further their education. LPN to RN bridge programs are designed to take those experienced practical nurses to ADNs in an accelerated program over students with no nursing background.
Why Should I Do It?
If you've been working as an LPN, you're likely aware of many of the differences in job responsibilities and opportunities for registered nurses. Namely, RNs have more supervisory and administrative opportunities; as an LPN, you often work under the supervision of an RN. If you prefer a leadership role, you should definitely consider furthering your education and licensing. You should also strongly consider becoming a registered nurse if you plan on going into education, critical care, case management or research, as these specialties either strongly favor or require RN licensure.
You'll also average an additional $31 or more per hour as an RN, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, allowing you either more financial security or the option of working less hours to maintain your current lifestyle.
Research different programs online, looking for one that is accredited, first and foremost. Also look for programs that incorporate hands-on experience and real clinical situations or simulation labs so you can develop your practical skills — particularly intravenous therapy skills. In addition to medical knowledge, you'll also want a program that emphasizes critical-thinking skills and leadership development. This will ensure that you will be equipped with the skills necessary when you do move up the career ladder to management.
Most bridge programs can be completed in the equivalent of two semesters of coursework, depending on whether you can commit to full-time or part-time training in addition to your job and any family responsibilities. Jump in and enroll in an LPN to RN bridge program and you'll be on your way to a wealth of new opportunities in nursing.
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