Become a Registered Nurse with an LVN to RN Bridge Program

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When it comes to career advancement, LVN to RN Bridge programs can pave the way for you to transition from a career as a Licensed Vocational Nurse to a Registered Nurse. In this post, we will explore the differences between Licensed Vocational Nursing and Registered Nursing as well as everything you need to know about an LVN to RN Bridge program.

What is an LVN to RN Bridge Program?

A LVN to RN Bridge program allows Licensed Vocational Nurses to become Registered Nurses by completing specified required prerequisite and nursing coursework. In most cases, students will earn an Associate of Science degree in nursing in the process. Once you complete your LVN to RN Bridge program, you will be able to continue on to taking the NCLEX-RN exam and applying for your RN license.

What is the difference between being an LVN versus a RN?

Licensed Vocational Nurses generally provide basic nursing care. Licensed Vocational Nurses work under the supervision of a physician or Registered Nurse. Registered Nurses, on the other hand, provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients about health issues, and provide emotional support to patients and their families.

How much can you make as a RN versus an LVN?

Registered Nurses have a median pay of $65,470 per year, or $31.48 per hour. Licensed Vocational Nurses, on the other hand, have a median pay of $41,540 per year, or $19.97per hour. The job outlook for Registered Nurses shows a growth of 19%, compared to 25% for Licensed Vocational Nurses. Information about Registered Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What are the requirements for admission to an LVN to RN Bridge Program?

Admission requirements for an LVN to RN Bridge program vary based on the school you choose. Some common requirements include the following.

  • A Licensed Vocational Nursing license from the state your school of choice is located in.
  • Completion of one full year on the job experience as an LVN.
  • A complete resume summarizing your educational and job experience. Job experience must include employer, job title, start / end dates, job responsibilities, and types of patients worked with.
  • A high school diploma and official transcript, or GED.
  • Official transcript(s) from the school(s) where you completed your LVN program coursework and other colleges you have attended.
  • Completion or planned completion of basic college coursework in areas such as English composition, college algebra, sciences, social sciences, public speaking, and humanities.
  • Overall GPA of 2.5 or higher for all completed college coursework.
  • Passing the current version of the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS).
  • Completion of a background check, physical examination, and drug screening.
  • Proof of current immunizations.

You will have likely completed several of the admissions requirements for an LVN to RN Bridge program prior to or during your original LVN program, with exception to the on-the-job LVN experience. Some schools will require that your basic college coursework be completed prior to entering the LVN to RN Bridge program, while others will allow you to take required basic college coursework concurrently with your LVN to RN Bridge coursework. Official transcripts must be sent directly from your high school and colleges - official copies from you and photocopies are not accepted.

If you have a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university, you may have already satisfied basic college coursework requirements.

How long does the average LVN to RN Bridge Program last?

The time it takes to complete your LVN to RN Bridge program will depend on a number of factors including the amount of time you have to dedicate to your coursework (i.e., whether you will be a full time or part time student), the amount of prerequisite and basic college coursework you need to take in addition to the main LVN to RN Bridge courses, and whether you choose a traditional or accelerated LVN to RN Bridge program.

Generally, an LVN to RN Bridge program will take two to three years. Studies have shown that part time students working 24 hours or more will have a harder time completing the LVN to RN Bridge program, so many schools will advise to restrict your working hours during the program.

What courses can you expect to take in an LVN to RN Bridge Program?

Coursework for an LVN to RN Bridge program can vary by school, but generally includes some of the following courses, depending on what coursework you completed in your LVN Program. This does not include basic college coursework.

Prerequisite Course Topics

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • General Psychology

Core Course Topics

  • Professional Nursing
  • Medical and Surgical Nursing
  • Psychosocial / Psychiatric Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Nursing Management
  • Pharmacology for Nursing
  • Ethical and Legal Nursing Issues

What is the estimated cost of an LVN to RN Bridge Program?

The cost of an LVN to RN Bridge program depends on the type of school you choose, the number of semesters it takes to complete the program, and whether you need to complete prerequisite and basic college coursework along with the program's core courses. Here are a few example LVN to RN Bridge program costs.

Be sure to visit your school's website to learn more about costs related to the LVN to RN Bridge program you choose.