After working as a licensed practical nurse, or LPN, for a while, many of these healthcare professionals decide to advance into roles as registered nurses, or RNs. While many opt to earn their bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN, earning an associate degree in nursing, or ADN, is faster and easier. Completing an LPN to ADN bridge program is faster still, but it's not necessarily easier. However, if your top priority is to earn your RN license as quickly as possible, the right bridge program can make a huge difference. Read on below to learn more about LPN to ADN programs, including typical requirements and other things to expect.
What are LPN to ADN Bridge Programs?
As the name implies, an LPN to ADN bridge program is a degree program that is designed to "bridge the gap" in knowledge between what an LPN is expected to know and what an RN is expected to know. Unlike those who have no prior experience and who must complete standard ADN programs, those who are licensed LPNs can often earn their degrees more quickly by receiving credit for previous coursework and, in some cases, work experience too.
Admission Requirements for LPN to ADN Bridge Programs
To be accepted into any LPN to ADN bridge program, you must be a licensed practical nurse, or LPN. When enrolling in this type of program, you will be asked to provide a copy of your LPN license. Most programs require students to have at least six months' worth of experience working as an LPN. Students must possess either a high school diploma or a GED. Since your LPN program likely required the same thing, you should be all set in this regard. Before you can be officially accepted into this type of program, you must undergo a criminal background check and health screening. Most programs also require prospective students to take and pass an entrance exam.
Tips for Choosing an LPN to ADN Bridge Program
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when looking for an LPN to ADN bridge program. Since you are already an LPN, you probably already work. It may be easier for you to complete a hybrid program in which many sections are completed online. Online LPN to ADN programs are readily available, so be sure to look into them.
Additionally, make sure to choose a program that is properly accredited. It should be accredited by one or both of the following organizations: the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE, or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, or ACEN.
Always check to see if the LPN to ADN program that you're considering has any prerequisites or courses that must be completed prior to enrollment. During your LPN training, you probably completed the required courses. Typically, prerequisites fall into the general education category, and they include courses like chemistry, English composition, biology and anatomy, and physiology.
Typical Courses to Complete During LPN to ADN Training
One of the best things about completing an LPN to ADN bridge program is that it allows you to skip at least a semester's worth of coursework. Most programs give incoming LPNs credit for courses like Medical/Surgical I and Fundamentals of Nursing. Many programs offer courses like these with different names, so read information about your prospective program carefully.
Although you can skip past several courses, there's still a lot of work to be done during the typical LPN to ADN bridge program. Required courses usually include Health Assessments, Adult Health Nursing, Transition to Professional Nursing, Pharmacology, Community-Based Nursing, Nursing Research, and Women's Health.
Clinical Training Component
Just as the NCLEX-PN had a clinical skills portion, the NCLEX-RN has one as well. It is more involved than the one that you took to earn your LPN license, so clinical training is a major part of any LPN to ADN bridge program. Even if you choose to take online classes, you will have to complete your clinical training at a local healthcare facility. Some programs require students to find their own clinical training experiences, while others match students to such opportunities for them.
During your clinical training, you will work alongside registered nurses to hone a variety of crucial nursing skills. This is also a great opportunity to get a feel for what it is like to work as an RN. You must successfully complete a specified amount of clinical training in order to graduate from your LPN to ADN bridge program.
Getting on the fast track to becoming an RN while already working as an LPN doesn't have to be difficult. By completing an LPN to ADN bridge program, you may be able to earn your RN license in as little as one to two years and be that much closer to moving forward in your career.