If you are currently working as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or hold the credentials to be one, there may be many reasons why you may be interested in how an LPN can become an RN (registered nurse). Perhaps you’d like to open broaden your chances for career advancement. Maybe you’ve been out of the workforce for awhile and feel that becoming an RN would refresh your skills and increase your odds of being hired. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two titles and what it takes to make the transition. You may be pleased to learn that the requirements are more attainable than you thought.
Each state has its own guidelines as to the kinds of duties an LPN can take on. Because this degree can be obtained in just one year, licensed practical nurses cannot perform the wide range of responsibilities held by RNs. An LPN will often be charged with the basics of patient care such as monitoring vital signs, assisting with hygiene tasks, inserting catheters, changing bandages and record keeping. In addition to the academic component, LPNs must pass a national certification exam and receive licensure from the state, according to the Register-Herald.
An RN must have at least a two-year associate’s degree, though many complete a four-year bachelor’s program in nursing. Those who go on for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing may be referred to as a BSN, but still fall under the category of registered nurse. Due to their advanced knowledge and skill set, these nurses carry a great deal more responsibility for direct patient care than licensed practical nurses do. In addition, there are more opportunities for career advancement and higher pay for those at the RN level. Registered nurses must also pass a national exam and apply for state license. The national exam is said to be more in-depth and difficult for RNs than for LPNs.
From LPN to RN
When considering how an LPN can become an RN, it’s important to understand that you are much further ahead than nursing school candidates with no prior hands-on experience in the field. Lots of colleges and universities offer flexible programs for those already accredited as an LPN. These programs are known as “bridge” or “upgrade” programs. They will provide you with the training you need to becoming a registered nurse, but you won’t be starting from scratch with the basic. Classes in such programs focus on advanced theory and practice in subjects such as anatomy, and chemistry, along with learning opportunities in your area of specialization.
Bridge programs tend to offer various options of study in order to accommodate your busy life. You can usually choose to attend full-time or part-time, on-campus or online. The amount of time you will need to spend in school depends upon the number of credits you are able to transfer from your LPN program, whether you go full-time or part-time and the type of degree you pursue. Many students opt to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in order to be eligible for supervisory positions and more technical work.
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There are a wide range of reasons for thinking about becoming an RN. There are also several options for how an LPN can become an RN.