LPN to RN Bridge Programs in Montana
The health care industry of Montana is extremely complex, with needs and expectations that are always changing. This is thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, as well as the fact that Montana’s remote layout can make health care inaccessible for many patients.
If you are ready to take the next step in your nursing career, consider looking into LPN to RN programs in Montana.
The Billings Gazette reports that Montana’s nursing shortage is extremely severe. As this shortage continues to destabilize the industry, you may realize that completing your education and becoming a registered nurse can strengthen your own career and put you in an excellent position to further the field of health care in Montana.
Why Should I Enter an LPN to RN Program in Montana?
You may be weighing the pros and cons of going back to school, particularly if you have spent some time working as a licensed practical nurse. The time and money involved with returning to school can seem intimidating, but in this case, it definitely can pay off. Consider the fact that even though Montana’s nursing population is growing, the shortage is worsening year after year.
Putting in the time needed to become an RN can expand the number of specialties you work in, give you a greater scope of practice, and make you a greater asset to the health care industry of this state.
Many nurses also benefit from the increase in earning potential. According to O*Net, the average salary for a Montana LPN is $38,500 per year, compared to an average salary of $59,900 per year for registered nurses (O*Net, 2014).
Curriculum of LPN to ADN and LPN to BSN Programs in Montana
The good news is that you already have many of the skills that you need to be a great registered nurse. Not only did you learn a lot in school, it is likely that you have gained many relevant and advanced skills while working as a licensed practical nurse. Bridge programs in this area range from one year of additional schooling to three years of additional schooling, so it’s important to consider different options.
The learning outcomes of your chosen program should show you exactly what you need to do to transition from LPN to RN. Many schools aim to graduate students who can apply principles of holistic care, demonstrate competency in a variety of nursing situations, utilize patient assessment data, and work as a leader.
The classes you enroll in aim to help you reach these goals. These courses may be divided between nursing classes and a general education studies. Some of the nursing classes you may take include Health Promotion, Nursing Care Education, Care Management and Leadership, Family Nursing Clinical Practice, and Advanced Nursing Skills. In order to become a registered nurse, you will need to use your existing nursing knowledge and your new skills to pass the NCLEX-RN.
Scholarships are one of the many ways that you may be able to fund your education. If you are currently employed, your school may have a tuition assistance program or grant program you can check out. Many options are offered by the Montana Nurses Association.
Schools to Consider in Montana
- University of Montana – Helena College of Technology. LPNs may complete the associate degree in nursing program in two full-time semesters (30 to 40 hours per week). Nursing courses cannot be challenged and include care of the maternal/child client, complex needs of the mental health client, microbiology, and complex care needs of the adult.
- Montana State University (Bozeman). MSU allows LPNs to attend the first two years of the BSN program on a full-time or part-time basis. The last two years require full-time attendance. LPNs may challenge four of the sophomore level nursing classes totaling 13 credits. Admission is three times per year. Some courses are available at other sites (Billings, Great Falls, etc.).
- Salish Kootenai College (Pablo). SKC offers the Associate of Science degree in nursing and the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. LPNs may qualify for advanced placement in the ADN program and may receive credit for much of the first semester of nursing classes. Three more semesters are usually required. Students may then move into the BSN program if desired.