LVN to BSN Information Guide
If you’re a licensed vocational nurse (known as a licensed practical nurse in most states other than California and Texas), and looking to enhance your nursing skills, going back to school to get your Bachelor of Science in nursing can prepare you for a career as a registered nurse (RN) or even a nurse practitioner, with additional education. While LVNs usually provide “basic bedside care,” according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs and advanced practice nurses can be more involved in designing treatment plans and administering treatment to patients. In many areas, advanced practice nurses have their own clinics and provide primary care in lieu of a physician.
Getting your BSN, if you are already an LVN, will involve around two and a half years of school, during which you’ll learn more advanced nursing skills and prepare for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Some courses you might take in an LVN to BSN program include anatomy and physiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and behavioral sciences. If you’re pursuing positions in a specialized facility, or working a particular type of patient, you’ll likely need to take some specialized classes in your chosen field and possibly some clinical experience.
Online LVN to BSN Degree Programs
For those looking to make the jump from being a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) to registered nurse (RN), the LVN to BSN degree is the perfect choice. Below is a featured online college that offers nursing degree programs, ideal for any LVN/LPN looking to advance their careers and earn higher salaries.
What is a LVN to BSN bridge program?
A licensed vocational nurse (LVN) (only referred to this way for certification purposes in California and Texas) is usually called a licensed practical nurse (LPN), and is in charge of taking vital signs such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration, all under the supervision of physicians or RN-certified nurses. Helping patients bathe, dress, and take care of personal hygiene, as well as collecting samples and filing records are all duties of an LVN. The beginnings of a nursing career can be found in an LVN degree. A LVN to BSN bridge program allows a nursing professional, or licensed practical nurse, an opportunity to obtain their Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) degree in a shorter amount of time. Getting a BSN degree would increase their career options and allow them to make a higher salary.
LVN to BSN programs are on an accelerated path, which then shortens the typical 4-years it takes to earn the BSN degree. In order to make the program shorter, LVN students are allowed to test out of certain courses and transfer their previously earned credit. Usually online LVN to BSN programs are self-paced, module driven systems of learning that offer one-on-one mentorship and counseling. Below are popular bridge programs in nursing:
What are the Requirements to Begin a LVN to BSN Program?
First you’ll need to be able to fund your BSN education. Financial aid is an important step in any college search. If you’re a currently employed LVN you should first check with your employer for financial aid assistance programs. Many hospitals and health care employers will provide monetary support towards furthering your nursing education. There are also many grants and scholarships through both the nursing schools and through external organizations. Grants and scholarships are based on financial need and do not need to be paid back. A few nursing grant and scholarship options include:
- Federal Pell Grant
- American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Grant Programs
- Advancing the Profession of Occupational Health Nursing Grants
- National Health Service Corps Scholarships
- Health Resources and Service Administration Nursing Scholarship Program
- Health Occupations Students of America Scholarships
Every potential college student should fill out a Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to see how much government loans they can receive for their education. There are other avenues of scholarship, grants, and loan offers. Contacting your potential school’s financial aid office would be the best route in learning more about these avenues.
Online programs require you to have access to the Internet. Different programs may have different system requirements for your computer to be able to access all features properly, so speak to the school administration of your LVN to BSN program to find out exactly the computer software you may need.
LVNs who seek to begin an LVN to BSN program must meet the same prerequisites and degree requirements as students seeking any sort of baccalaureate degree. Often there is a GPA average, such as 3.0 (sometimes higher, sometimes lower), that you need to have obtained through your LVN program. Also current licensure as an LPN would be required for application to the program, as well as at least a year of full-time work experience. At least two letters of recommendation from a faculty or administrator from your LVN program and work experience may be asked for. General education courses such as English, history, mathematics, and humanities are required in the BSN course curriculum. If you’ve complete general education courses at another institution it would be important to check if these credits would transfer, therefore making your LVN to BSN program even shorter and less expensive.
Many online LVN to BSN programs ask that students take an entrance exam to asses if they’re eligible for the BSN degree program. These tests, usually aptitude tests, are computer-based and there’s a minimum passing score to get into the program. There are a variety of different tests a given school may choose to use.
There is also often an advanced placement option for students who qualify. The National League for Nursing Acceleration Challenge Exams (ACEs) are used by many accredited universities and colleges for students to become eligible to enroll in the LVN to BSN program and to gain extra credit hours.
An important requirement for an LVN to BSN program is time—you must have the time to commit to an online LVN to BSN program. Exams, coursework, and clinical components will all be a part of your education. Once you start you have to commit the next two years to completing the course work and requirements for your BSN degree.
Benefits of LVN to BSN programs
Employers recognize the benefits of online learning, as their employees don’t have to leave their jobs to obtain an education—they can continue working while earning a higher degree and bettering the hospital or health clinics staff. Online LVN to BSN programs make many people’s lives easier as they fit right in with their schedule. A commute is unnecessary with online students, and obtaining a degree through online programs allows students to learn from wherever they are and whenever they want.
Once the LVN to BSN program is completed you have the opportunity to take the NCELX-RN and become a registered nurse (RN). After you’re an RN your career options widen—you have the ability to go back to school for further nursing education, or you have the opportunity to advance in your current nursing position, obtaining a higher salary and recognition. Wages depend on location and industry and may differ slightly depending on your experience and where you’re located.
What Online LVN to BSN Program Should I Choose?
Finding the right program for you can sometimes be challenging. With so many options it can seem a bit overwhelming. There are many resources out there though that can assist you in this process.
The first resource is you. Knowing what kind of education you wish to obtain is an important step in deciding on a school’s program. Start by going online and doing some research—visit social networking sites, blogs, and forums that connect you with students who know more about the LVN to BSN programs you’re considering. Find the answers to questions such as:
- Do I have the time and financial resources required to be successful in this LVN to BSN program?
- Have I investigated my options thoroughly through online research, visiting institutions and speaking with admissions representatives?
- What type of nursing job am I seeking when I finish this LVN to BSN program, and does the school offer the specialization I’m interested in?
- Is the school accredited, and if so, by which accrediting body?
- What are the clinical hours required in order to graduate from this LPN to BSN program?
- What percentages of students have jobs within six months of graduation?
- Does this LPN to BSN program/college have an alumni networking association?
- How much is tuition and other student fees?
- Does the school offer financial aid or scholarship programs?
- How helpful are staff members and professors?
Program rankings are sometimes helpful when trying to find a school to go to. There are many publications and organization that rank LVN to BSN programs based on financial aid options, professor experience, student achievements, percentage of students accepted, average standardized test scores, activities available, and class size. The U.S. News and World Report and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offer two of the most popular accredited college program rankings and are valuable resources to check. NIH’s rankings are organized by state, hospitals, medical schools, which make it easy to narrow down however you prefer. Although rankings are important, they shouldn’t be the deciding factor. You need to look for the program that best fits your needs.
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