In the United States, many individuals who wish to join the field of nursing, opt to start by enrolling in a LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) program and think of enrolling into ADN or BSN programs afterwards. The reason behind this is that an LVN program takes shorter time to complete as compared to other programs such as the BSN, which takes four years to complete.
In recent years, many LVNs have embraced the trend of enrolling in bridge programs with the aim of becoming registered nurses. This is simply because registered nurses earn a higher salary compared to the licensed vocational nurses. A large number of employers also choose to hire nurses who have higher education credentials. If you are looking forward to becoming a registered nurse, the following is what you should know about LVN to RN programs.
There are two types of LVN to RN bridge programs. You can study to earn an ADN (Associate’s Degree in Nursing) or a BSN (Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing). The ADN bridge program normally takes a short time to complete. The fact that you already have a diploma or a certificate in vocational nursing after studying for at least one year will allow you to take one year to complete the ADN program. You will however have to study longer if you want to earn a BSN. You will take a minimum of two years to complete that program.
Where are LVN to RN Programs Offered?
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LVN to RN bridge programs are offered in many vocational schools, universities and colleges both on-campus and online. The aim of the programs is to expand the existing expertise and knowledge that a nurse already has. With the education offered in these institutions, a nurse is able to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, which allows him/her to become a registered nurse after passing it. To be precise, ADN programs are usually offered at community colleges while BSN programs are offered by liberal arts universities and colleges. The cost of the different programs varies depending on certain factors such as the duration of the program and the quality of education among other factors.
Note that LVN to RN programs normally teach similar subjects as the ones taught in LVN programs. The only difference is that the scope of study is a bit higher. You will expand your knowledge in physiology, anatomy, first aid and pharmacology. You will also learn new practical skills. However, if you opt to earn a bachelor’s degree, you will not only expand on the knowledge that you already have but you will also take classes in critical thinking, communication and leadership.
Just as different schools take a different duration of time to complete a certain program, the admission requirements in different schools differ. However, there are some similar admission requirements in all schools. Examples of these requirements include having a GED or high school diploma, a GPA of at least 3.0, a transcript of records from an accredited Licensed Vocational Nursing program and a set amount of hours that one has worked in a medical facility.
Advantages of LVN to RN Bridge Programs
There are many advantages that come with these programs. First, your chances of employment are increased since many employers choose to employ nurses who have higher education credentials. You also get the opportunity to earn a higher salary after completing a bridging program. In general you can expect to earn between $43,000 and $68,000 dollars per annum, not to mention that the compensation packages and benefits you get are better compared to those offered to licensed vocational nurses.
Enrolling in an LVN to RN bridge program also allows you to save time since these programs are usually accelerated. You can take classes at your own convenient time so that they will not interfere with your work schedule or family responsibilities.