As a Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse, you possess a great deal of knowledge and many valuable nursing skills. You have likely developed a keen sense of what your patients need, and how to provide them with safe, effective care. You most likely also understand many of the intricacies of how the healthcare system works, and your role within it, as a front line provider of care. There are many LPNs who decide, at some point, that it is time to further develop that role by becoming a Registered Nurse (RN).
Whether you have been planning to continue your nursing education for some time now, or are just looking into your options for the first time, you have come to the right place to start. At BestNursingDegree.com we have done the leg-work for you, and compiled a list of schools that offer online LPN/LVN to RN programs.
To learn more about these programs, please start by requesting information from our featured school below. This program is one of only a few schools nationwide to offer distance education for LPNs who want to become Registered Nurses. One of the most convenient aspects of the program is that you may be able to complete your coursework and your clinical requirements in your own location, allowing for the flexibility and local networking that can help you succeed in meeting your educational goals.
Benefits of Transitioning from LPN/LVN to RN
For Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses (LPN/LVN) many opportunities for career advancement, increased earnings, and greater autonomy can result from becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). According to O*net (2013) RNs earn a median annual income of $65,470, greater than annual median LPN salary of $41,540. While enhanced earning potential is a compelling reason to consider getting your RN, there are several other benefits to becoming an RN and consider LPN to RN programs to achieve your goal.
Some of these benefits include:
- Greater autonomy over nursing practice
- Enhanced professional interaction
- Increased involvement with healthcare decision making
- Improved communication, delegation and care planning skills
- Expanded practice settings and roles
One of the most important benefits of becoming a Registered Nurse is the improved quality of care you can bring to your patients. Many nurses chose to enter healthcare because they simply wanted to help others. If this sounds like you, consider the difference you can make for patients and their families as you further your education. An educated nurse is a powerful thing, especially when that education is added to the solid foundation of nursing knowledge you already have as an LPN/LVN.
A final benefit that may result from completing an LPN to RN online program involves the respect and position you can hold as an RN within the larger healthcare team. The valuable insights you have to offer, as well as the experience you have had with patients, will likely be well received and incorporated into the multidisciplinary care teams you will work with.
If you aim to solidify your status within the hierarchy of healthcare, by directing care and improving outcomes for your patients, becoming an RN can help open the door. Doctors, other nurses, administrators and patients will likely recognize your efforts to expand your professional role, which may ultimately result in a renewed sense of satisfaction and solidarity within your profession.
How will my nursing practice change as an RN?
As an LPN, you likely perform many tasks such as medication administration, ADL assistance, data collection, nursing interventions such as wound care and dressing changes, as well as delegation of duties to other LPNs and un-licensed personnel. Once you obtain your RN, you will still be performing these duties, drawing upon your valuable experience, but you will also be responsible for many other aspects of patient care.
Earning your LPN to RN will expand your nursing responsibilities to encompass many administrative, care planning, and case management activities, in addition to expanding your hands on patient care.
As an LPN, there are a limited number of settings that you may practice in. Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and schools are some of the most common areas of practice for Practical Nurses. With an RN degree, your practice areas expand to include community settings, such as home health care, hospice, state and local government agencies, and case management agencies.
The training you will receive in your LPN to RN program is intended to prepare you for aspects of nursing that require more independent and critical thinking, which will allow you to provide nursing services in settings where you may be largely unsupervised, and where you will be supervising others. Instruction also is meant to prepare you to be able to provide patients and their families with individualized education and care planning, based upon each patient's specific health care needs.
LPN to RN Online and Campus Based Curriculum
The majority of the courses in Online LPN to RN programs are focused on how the human body works, how to care for it, and how to expand your professional role and responsibilities as a nurse. While it may seem that you have taken similar courses when you became an LPN/LVN, the scope and depth of knowledge you can gain from your LPN to RN courses is more extensive, and is rooted in evidence based approaches and outcomes.
Individual programs may differ, based on whether you are earning your Associate's or Bachelor's Degree in Nursing. Admissions requirements may also vary, but will generally include proof of current licensure, an entrance exam or assessment, transcripts from previous educational programs including high school diploma or GED, and an application to the school of nursing. You will also be required to complete prerequisite courses such as English, Anatomy and Physiology, and Public Speaking as a part of your Online LPN to RN program.
For specific admissions requirements, please request information from all of the featured schools, as well as those you are interested in, so that you can be prepared when you are ready to apply.
Many Online LPN to RN Bridge programs use a staged approach to courses of study. For example, you may be required to complete lower level courses such as Intro to Microbiology and English 101, before beginning any nursing courses. You will be taking nursing courses that initially focus on the assessment of patients and how to plan appropriate nursing care, sometimes referred to as nursing prerequisites.
Sample Nursing Prerequisites for LPN to RN Programs
- NURS 106 Mental Health Aspects of Nursing Practice
- NURS 224 Nursing Care of Adults I
- NURS 328 Nursing Care of the Child and Family
- NURS 330 Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family
Depending upon the degree program you choose, as you progress through the program, you will be taking classes that address specific patient populations, and the issues you will encounter caring for them. You will also receive instruction regarding nursing leadership, and transitioning your practice from Practical Nursing to Registered Nursing. Overall, the curricula of LPN to RN Bridge programs is meant to enrich and expand your nursing knowledge, while preparing you for a more professional and independent role.
Benefits of Online LPN to RN Programs
Flexibility- Returning to school after you've already entered the workforce can be difficult, and may require you to balance both work and education, along with a family in some instances. In an effort to reduce stress and promote success, many LPN to RN programs are moving to online and distance education models. This format is often the most convenient and cost-effective for working LPNs.
Accessability- In the last several years, distance learning programs have become increasingly available, making higher education possible for many who otherwise wouldn't be able to pursue a degree or program like the LPN to RN Bridge. With nursing faculty and program openings often unable to keep up with the number of nursing students that wish to pursue a nursing degree, distance education allows more students to enter programs, ultimately strengthening the nursing workforce. The Huffington Post (2013) additionally notes that online learning reflects the need for a model of lifelong learning, a which is a crucial component of maintaining current nursing practice as well.
Clinical Sites Close to Home- Many schools that have developed online LPN to RN programs have also established strategic partnerships with clinical sites to allow nursing students to complete practicum requirements in their own locations. This arrangement is beneficial, as students can schedule clinical time nearby, and are supervised by local adjunct or associate faculty members who report progress back to course instructors.This can result in both time and cost savings for students, schools, and potential employers, who often hire the nursing students who complete clinicals in their facilities. When a clinical site is a good fit for a student, it can translate into a job opportunity upon graduation – a win-win situation for both the students and the facilities.
Online LPN to RN Programs: Classes and Clinical Considerations
It is important to understand that online nursing programs present challenges that you may not have faced in your LPN training. Since you are learning online, the majority of your interactions will occur within an educational website or instructional program, along with email. Your face-to-face interaction with instructors and classmates may be limited to video, or may be lacking completely, which can make discussions and group projects more challenging. It's important to ask detailed questions about day-to-day involvement with faculty and peers in order to gain a clear sense of how you'll be spending your time. It is also essential to use clear and frequent communication.
Since you already have nursing experience as an LPN, you will have an advantage, as you have probably already learned how to adapt your communication to difficult situations. You have likely cared for patients with impaired speech, dementia, cognitive delays or loss of function due to illness and/or injury. These situations give you the opportunity to adapt your communication skills to meet the needs of your patients and yourself, and you can apply this concept to communicating with online faculty and peers. In fact, the critical thinking required to adapt to individual situations is one of the most important aspects of professional nursing, so online courses may even boost this important skill as you become a Registered Nurse.
While there are certain challenges that are unique to online or distance education, rest assured that most of the schools offering this method of learning have taken care to develop their programs in such a way that their students find success.
An Online LPN to RN program can be a wonderful way to expand your career, without sacrificing the hard work you've already done as a Licensed Practical or Vocational Nurse.
We at BestNursingDegree.com are happy to help you find the LPN to RN programs that meet your needs, and encourage you to request information from the schools above. Be sure to look carefully at LPN to RN programs that offer online options for you to become a Registered Nurse. If you have additional questions you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We aim to answer your questions about nursing education and how it can elevate you and your nursing career.
Spotlight on Indiana State University
Indiana State University's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program for Licensed Practical Nurses is a pioneering internet LPN to BSN bridge program. What's most helpful about the unique program is that your previous coursework can be transferred and applied as credit so you can complete your degree more quickly. At the end of the program, you'll be ready to take your RN licensing exam, and will be well on your way to new career opportunities.