Bridge programs for professional, working nurses serve an essential purpose for career advancement in nursing. They allow you to keep your current schedule in most cases and can even be considered in your academic planning before you start practicing as a nurse.
Intro: Bridging Academic Gaps
If you’re looking to earn a BSN (or MSN) degree but currently not in a position to manage the time or finances to enroll into a 4-year university, you have the option of first earning licensure as an LPN or Registered Nurse through a nursing diploma or associate degree program then eventually going into a bridge program following acquisition of a nursing license. You can rest easy knowing the infrastructure of nursing education is built around bridging academic gaps and making degree advancement as seamless as possible.
The key advantage of opting for this path is that a growing number of these programs are completely online, which allows you to work while advancing your education. These programs, sometimes referred to as mobility programs are accredited and provide a similar education or didactic training as established campus-based schools. The difference is these mobility programs are a lot more practical for many students, notably for those holding full-time schedules with work and/or family.
At the same time, you’ll have to be highly self-motivated and efficient with proper time management and organizational skills to successfully complete an online nursing degree program. If you’re planning on taking a mobility program, make sure to inquire about how the school manages the clinical practicum requirements. Certain bridge programs have residency criteria, while others let you to do clinical practicums close to the location where you reside.
Choose the bridge program you are interested in to learn more:
LPN to RN
Licensed Practical Nurse to RN
This type of bridge program enables licensed practical nurses to earn their BSN degree in 2-3 years. LPN to BSN programs offer nurses a more comprehensive foundation in patient health evaluation, advocacy, diseases, clinical knowledge, public health, emergency care, and administration. Since LPNs already have basic nursing education and experience, a number of programs let LPNs receive credits that go towards their BSN by scoring well on advanced placement exams. Once the BSN program is completed, the LPN is eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse.
RN to BSN
Registered Nurse to Bachelor’s in Nursing
Having a BSN sets up additional channels of work options for registered nurses, particularly in specialty fields and leadership roles. RN to BSN programs make it possible for RNs with an associate degree to take on positions that call for critical reasoning, decisive actions, and management abilities. It’s not uncommon for advanced placement to be given to RNs when they matriculate into BSN programs, however the degree of this status is generally differentiated according to the RN’s preceding academic and experience history.
RN to MSN
Registered Nurse to Master’s in Nursing
An RN to MSN bridge program is designed for registered nurses holding a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing related subject, or RNs with a diploma, ADN or ASN degree. These programs tend to be more challenging to get accepted into. Also available to BSN students interested in pursuing graduate studies right after graduation, this necessitates the RN to effectively finish most of the BSN curriculum prior to being eligible for admittance. However, the benefit is that you earn your master’s in nursing in a shorter time frame. Some programs result in both a BSN and MSN, while others the MSN only.
RN to DNP
Registered Nurse to Doctor of Nursing Practice
An RN to DNP program is devised for currently licensed registered nurses who’ve already earned a BSN degree. This program is for nurses that are sure about a long-term career in nursing and have the motivation and desire to take on top positions in the progressively intricate practice, teaching and management involved with the provision of quality health care.
This advanced bridge program prepares RNs to sit for the corresponding certification exam to become an APRN in the area of nurse practitioning you choose to specialize in.
Some RN to DNP programs accept RNs that hold a non-nursing baccalaureate, ASN/ADN or nursing diploma, though more courses will be included in their curriculum.