LVN to RN Bridge Programs
If you are already employed as a licensed vocational nurse, or LVN, you may be ready to advance further in your career by becoming an RN. However, perhaps you are concerned about finding the time to complete the necessary studies. If so, LVN-to-RN bridge programs are worth considering. Such programs bridge the knowledge gap that exists between LVNs and RNs. As such, they can typically be completed more quickly than traditional nursing programs. Learn more about LVN-to-RN bridge programs by reading on below.
What are LVN-to-RN Bridge Programs?
When someone is completely new to the world of nursing, but wants to become an RN, they must complete either a two-year associate degree program or a four-year bachelor degree program. Those who are already licensed vocational nurses, or LVNs, can opt for LVN-to-RN bridge programs that take their educational and work experiences into consideration. Essentially, they acknowledge the fact that you already possess some of the knowledge and skills that are needed to work as an RN, so there is less material to cover.
What is the Difference Between ADN and BSN?
The main decision that you have to make when signing up for an LVN-to-RN bridge program is whether to pursue your associate degree in nursing, or ADN, or your bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN. The former traditionally takes two years, and the latter traditionally takes four years. The main advantage of pursuing an ADN is that you will receive your RN license more quickly. However, employers increasingly favor RNs who have BSNs, as they are perceived as having more in-depth knowledge. As a BSN RN, you will also have the opportunity to move into an area of specialization. You will also have more autonomy, higher pay, and will be eligible for better promotions.
What are the Prerequisites for LVN-to-RN Bridge Programs?
Prerequisites for LVN-to-RN bridge programs vary depending on your educational background. Most programs have a list of general education requirements that must be met before you can officially enroll. However, you may have already met some of these requirements, as the same ones may have applied to your LVN training program. There is usually a time limit on whether previous education counts or not. In most cases, it is anywhere from five to 10 years. If you choose to pursue a BSN, you may be able to use some of your LVN work experience as credit, resulting in fewer prerequisites.
What are the Admission Requirements?
To be accepted into most LVN-to-RN bridge programs, you need to have a valid LVN license. You must also usually have at least six months of experience working as an LVN. You will need a high school diploma or GED as well, but that base should have already been covered through your previous training. Many of these bridge programs also have entrance exams that must be passed before you can be admitted.
Is an Entrance Exam Required for LVN-to-RN Bridge Programs?
Some LVN-to-RN bridge programs have proprietary entrance exams that are unique to the school. However, most of them require students to take and pass one or two different exams. There's the Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS, which tests your skills in subjects like reading, math, science, and English. There is also the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination, which tests your understanding of a variety of topics, including first aid, earth science, reading comprehension, general biology, algebra, geometry, health, and more. You can easily find study guides for this exam online, and it is well worth it to study up prior to taking it if possible.
What Types of Accreditations Should a Program Have?
Make sure to choose an LVN-to-RN bridge program that has the proper accreditations. Attending a non-accredited program is problematic for a number of reasons. First, you may emerge from the program unable to take the NCLEX-RN, as one requirement for sitting for the exam is taking and passing an accredited and approved training program. Second, attending a non-accredited program renders you ineligible for financial aid. If you are counting on securing some, then you should be extra careful and enroll in only an accredited program. Look for bridge programs that are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, or ACEN, or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE.
Are Online LVN-to-RN Bridge Programs Available?
Since you are already an LVN, you probably hold down a regular job. Continuing to do so while completing a bridge program can be difficult. Fortunately, many programs offer online components. These aren't exclusively online programs. Most are hybrid, which means that they are partly done online and partly "in person." You must complete clinicals at local healthcare facilities, for example, and this requirement cannot be fulfilled online. However, a hybrid program gives you more flexibility, so you can more easily fit your schooling into your busy schedule.
Making the leap from being an LVN to being an RN is easier than you probably think. The right LVN-to-RN bridge program can make all of the difference in the world, so choose between ADN and BSN and enroll in one today.