If you are working as a licensed practical nurse you may be starting to feel that you are stuck in a rut. However, you needn’t feel that you have reached the apex of your career. There are plenty of LPN to RN programs that you can engage in that will effectively advance your career opportunities. You will also be able to advance to a master’s degree once you have achieved your RN qualification. This is a very good career move to consider, as you will soon see.
LPN to RN programs
When considering advances in their nursing career, many people consider converting their LPN to RN. This is a great idea with many benefits. Basically, these programs offer you the opportunity to move from being a Licensed Practical Nurse to being a Registered Nurse with higher qualifications and more pay. If you take the route of first being an LPN then you may find that you are eligible for higher paying RN jobs than people who go directly for the more complex qualification. There are several different LPN to RN programs to consider, so make your choice carefully.
Types of LPN to RN programs
One of the LPN to RN programs you can engage in will assist you in earning an Associate’s degree in nursing.
Advantages: This program usually doesn’t take a very long time to complete. You may even be able to complete this LPN to RN program in less than a year. This is because you already have a nursing qualification of some kind.
Disadvantages: You will have to sit an exam.
One of the LPN to RN programs you can engage in will assist you in earning a Bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Advantages: You will most likely have better career advancement opportunities with a bachelor’s degree than with an associate’s degree. You will also get a higher salary and have the opportunity to work towards a master’s degree.
Disadvantages: You will have to study a lot longer in order to earn this degree. It will take you at least two years to complete this degree. This type of degree will also most likely be far more expensive, requires you to write an exam. This type of degree is harder to earn.
Reasons for Doing LPN to RN Bridge Programs
There are several reasons why LPNs decide to enroll in the many online LPN to RN programs that are available. These reasons are as follows:
RNs earn a better salary than LPNs making the job a lot more attractive than being an LPN. This is because the training that a RN has to do is far more intensive than that of an LPN and consequently an RN will have more advanced responsibilities and duties to perform. In many hospitals LPNs are not even considered for positions as they cannot perform many of the tasks that an RN can perform. Salary varies from state to state and even from city to city, but generally speaking an RN will receive $60,000 – $70,000, while LPNs only get about half of this.
As you may have gathered from the previous point, many nurses decide to move from being an LPN to being an RN because it is a form of advancement that allows them to move on from the basic tasks that an LPN is allowed to perform.
There are more job opportunities for someone who has completed an LPN to RN program than for those who merely have an LPN qualification. The nursing field is one of the fields that are growing the fastest at the moment, and the demand for RNs is ever increasing. This means that you will most likely always be employed and you will have plenty of job opportunities to pick and choose from.
Advantages of LPN to RN Programs Online
Many people get a little worried when they hear the word ‘online’ attached to the words ‘studying’ or ‘qualifications’. Even though we live in quite a technologically advanced and modern society, many people remain suspicious of the internet and its advantages. However, this worry is simply not necessary. There are a great many advantages to consider when it comes to online LPN to RN programs. Some of the most obvious advantages are:
- You will never have to bother with going into a classroom setting in order to complete your program.
- As the internet is limitless, you will not have to wait for a place in a school as you will be in a position to start your training right away.
- You will not have to pay as much for an online LPN to RN program as you would for a face-to-face classroom based one. You should also be able to get financing if you need it.
- You will be in the position to learn at your own pace. If you are faster than most other students, you won’t be slowed down as you would in a class situation. However, if you need a little more time than most people to digest information, you will be able to work at a slower pace too. You will also be able to do all of this from the comfort of your own home.
There are also some other, less well known advantages to doing online LPN to RN training:
- You will instantly start earning much more once you are an RN as compared to what you earned when you were an LPN.
- Your education options will also be broader once you are an RN as there will be many opportunities for you to increase your knowledge and advance your education.
- You will not only have increased responsibilities, but you will also get more respect from those around. Many RNs also report feeling more self-respect once they have engaged in an LPN to RN program.
- You will experience satisfaction and personal growth.
- You will have the opportunity to specialize.
Fields for LPN to RN graduates
If you are concerned that there won’t be work for you once you have gone through the effort of getting a qualification as an RN, think again. This field offers many opportunities. After completing a qualification for LPN to RN online you will be in a position to work in the following areas:
- Addictions Nurse
- Ambulatory Care Nurse
- Cardiac Catheterization Lab Nurse
- Certified Nurse Midwife
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
- Critical Care Nurse
- Cruise Nurse
- Developmental Disabilities Nurse
- Diabetes Management Nurse
- Emergency / Trauma Nurse
- Flight/Transport Nurse
- Forensic Nurse
- Genetics Nurse
- Geriatric Nurse
- HIV / AIDS Nurse
- Holistic Nurse
- Home Health Care Nurse
- Hospice / Palliative Care Nurse
- Legal Nurse Consultant
- Medical Assistant
- Medical Surgical Nurse
- Neonatal Nurse
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Practitioner / FNP
- Nursing Informatics Consultant
- Occupational Health Nurse
- Oncology Nurse
- Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
- Parish Nurse
- Perianesthesia Nurse
- Perioperative Nurse
- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse
- Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
- Public Health Nurse
- Radiology Nurse
- Rehabilitation Nurse
- School Nurse
- Transplant Nurse
- Travel Nurse
- Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurse
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing an Online LPN to RN Program
- Is the program accredited by either the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)?
- Are there are a variety of different instruction methods offered by the course convener?
- Does the course comply with the state requirements for an RN in the specific state where you intend to practice?
- Is the course offered well up to date with all modern procedures and technologies currently used in the nursing profession?
- Is the course convened by professionals with experience n nursing as well as in teaching?
- Does the course in question include pharmacology, physiology, nursing research and informatics and severe clinical courses?
- Does the course offer the necessary practical experience for completing the qualification?
The Curriculum of an Online LPN to RN Program
There are many things that you will be required to study before becoming an RN. The basics are:
- Health assessment
- Nursing types
- Patient care
- Child and infant care
Duties of a RN
Before deciding on becoming an LPN to RN online, you should know what the tasks and duties of an RN are in order to make an informed decision about whether or not it is the kind of job that you will be able to do, and, just as importantly, the kind of job that you will enjoy doing. The basics tasks of an RN are:
- Assessment and documentation of patient’s health condition
- Procedures that require more skills such as tracheostomy care, colostomy care and other complicated actions
- Health teaching of certain diseases to patients
- IV route medications and IV insertion
- Collaborate with other health care professionals
- Surgical nursing
- Emergency and critical care nursing
- Management and administration of LPNs and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
Personality Requirements for a RN
There are several basic personality requirements that you should meet before deciding to engage in an online LPN to RN program. If you feel that you have the wrong personality for the job, then it is suggested that you think of an alternative. Your personality is what helps with some of the most important parts of the job, such as showing compassion and emotional support.
- Communication skills: it is very important that you are able to communicate effectively with your patients in order to put them at their ease and to make sure that they are fully aware of everything that is going on. It is also important o be able to communicate effectively with your colleagues as your patient’s life may one day depend on you delivering an accurate communication to those you work with.
- Ability to care: it should go without saying that a good nurse is one who genuinely cares for others. If you do not have a lot of sympathy for your fellow man, then this probably not the job for you. Patients can also tell, even if it is only subconsciously, when your heart is no n the job, and this will detract from your ability to care for them efficiently.
- Hard working: being a nurse is not an easy job. It is a physically and emotionally strenuous occupation, so it is very important that you are certain that you are able to handle the pressure. You need to be, above all things, hard working. Once you become an RN the work never ends, so it is important to be prepared for this.
- Detail-oriented: the devil is in the details, and, in a nursing situation where the health or even the life of your patient depends on accurate and perfect record keeping and attention, it goes without saying that a good RN needs to be very detailed oriented.
- Judgement: this will improve with experience, but as an RN you will need to be able to look at a patient and make a good judgement about he or she needs in order to recover. A certain amount of good judgement in daily life will be beneficial before considering a career as an LPN.
- Emotional stability: this is incredibly important. You cannot possibly be the kind of person who crumbles under pressure if you want to do an LPN to RN course. Nursing is a stressful occupation and you will often find yourself in high pressure situations, it is very important not to give in to your emotions when this happens as many people, the patient and their family included, will be looking to you for emotional stability if something goes wrong. You must ever be a rock on which others can depend.
- Think on your feet: sometimes judgments and decisions need to be made in a blink of an eye. You need to be a decisive person to be a nurse and you need to be able to reach an informed and intelligent decision quickly and easily if you wish to succeed in this field.
- Adaptation: nurses need to be adaptable in order to cope with the many different needs and personalities of their patients, as well as to deal with the changing situations in which you work where someone’s well being may change from good to critical in a few moments. You will need to constantly change your way of thinking to suit the patient’s under your care.
- Physical fitness: nursing is a physically strenuous job so this means that you will need to be physically strong. You will need, for example, to be able to lift patients who cannot lift themselves and potentially move them to another location. You may also have to stand for long periods of time.
Why be a nurse?
There are many different kinds of nurses and nursing programs out there, but why should you consider becoming a nurse in the first place? There are a few very compelling reasons for why people choose this career path:
- You will have the opportunity to show compassion for other people. Of course, this means that you will have to have the right personality before beginning your LPN training, but if you don’t have compassion, you probably wouldn’t be considering this career in the first place.
- The job is extremely rewarding, both practically and emotionally. Not only will you be earning a fairly decent salary as a nurse, but you will also be in a position to feel personally fulfilled.
- Nursing is one of the few careers where the skills you learn can be applicable to everyday life. You will easily be able to take the skills you learn in your nursing training and use them in an emergency situation at a family gathering, for example.
- Nurses have the opportunity to work according to a very flexible schedule. If you have children, for example, you could easily choose to work night shift so you can be there for your children during the day. Alternatively if you want to stick to normal business hours, you should have the opportunity to do that as well.
- There is a lot of variety in the nursing world, so the chances are high that you will be able to find a special nursing job somewhere that suits you perfectly.
- There is a lot of job security in nursing. Nurses and healthcare professionals in general are in increasing demand. If you become a nurse you can rest assured that your job is secure and that you will be able to find another job in the same profession easily should you wish to.
- The salary you can earn as a nurse is very good indeed, one of the most compelling reasons for deciding to become a nurse.
- Nursing needn’t be the peak of your career. Many nurses go on to more advanced and better jobs, such as becoming family physicians, using nursing only as a platform to get them where they want to go.
- You will most likely be able to find a stable job where you will be able to work for the same employer until you reach retirement age.
There is a wide variety of settings in which you could work as a nurse, including:
- Veteran’s Administration Medical Centers
- extended care centers
- home care
- occupational settings
- and health and wellness centers
- Anywhere that people need health care services
- community and public health agencies
- independent practice
- ambulatory care centers
- US Public Health Service
- military services (Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines)
- health-related industries
Financial Aid for LPN to RN Programs
If financial constraints are what are keeping you from completing one of the many LPN to RN online programs that are available, then you may want to look into getting some financial help in this regard. The first step is to enquire with FAFSA whether or not you are eligible for aid from the government. There are also many universities and nursing schools that will provide you with a scholarship or other forms of financial aid if you can sufficiently justify your need for it. It will take a bit of research and work to find out the options, but it is very definitely worth pursuing.
Disadvantages of online LPN to RN programs
Of course, as with any online course, online LPN to RN programs also come with their challenges and difficulties. It is very important that you assess these potential difficulties carefully and decide whether or not these are the kinds of challenges that you are prepared to face and that you are able to overcome.
- Because the programs are flexible, you will require a certain kind of personality to keep yourself motivated. No one is going to be looking over your shoulder to make sure that you are doing what is required of you. It will be entirely up to you. So, if you don’t have the right motivation to study by yourself, or if you think that you would benefit from outside influence and support, then perhaps an online RN to LPN program is not the best choice for you.
- The lack of personal contact is quite difficult for some students to cope with, so consider this when making your decision.
- Online LPN to RN programs may not be a reputable as you first think when you apply, so make sure that you do sufficient research about the program you are thinking of embarking on before making your final decision.
After reading this article you should be fully equipped to make your decisions about whether or not you want to do an LPN to RN program, as well as which LPN to RN programs you should consider. There are a lot of opportunities in this world for everybody; all you need to do is find out what they are a do the necessary work to get to where you want to be. The opportunities presented to you once you have completed an LPN to RN qualification are extensive to say the least, and you will definitely not regret putting in the work that it takes to achieve this.