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Compared with many professions, nursing offers a wide array of career paths and options. Regardless of how you break into the profession, there are almost always several different ways to advance through the attainment of more advanced degrees. Whether you currently work as a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) or a registered nurse (RN), and aspire to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, Master of Science in Nursing, or MSN, or even your Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, there are plenty of ways to get there. If you have to hold down a job at the same time, be sure to look into BSN bridge programs, which take your previous education and work experience into account to allow you to potentially finish faster.
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LVN-to-BSN Bridge Programs
As mentioned above, you don't necessarily have to complete a traditional four-year program to earn your BSN after obtaining your LVN license. While training to become an LVN, you studied many of the same topics you will study early on in your BSN program. You may have also picked up valuable on-the-job knowledge that may translate into credits toward the completion of an LVN-to-BSN bridge program. With that in mind, it's well worth it to look into LVN-to-BSN bridge programs, as you may be able to obtain your bachelor of science in nursing within three years instead of four. [Read More…]
LPN-to-BSN Bridge Programs
In most parts of the country, LVNs are known as LPNs, or licensed practical nurses (the term LVN is used in California and Texas only, while LPN is used throughout the rest of the United States). If you already have your LPN license, have been working as an LPN for a while and want to earn your BSN to become an RN, an LPN-to-BSN bridge program may be the solution. Just as with LVN-to-BSN bridge programs, LPN-to-BSN programs take your previous work and educational experiences into account, allowing you to progress through your studies more quickly. [Read More…]
RN-to-BSN Bridge Programs
Rather than completing a four-year BSN program to become an RN, you may have opted for the associate degree route instead. While you can obtain your RN license with an associate degree in nursing, or ADN, many employers prefer BSN-educated nurses. Therefore, going back to school to earn your BSN is usually worth it, and you can accomplish this more quickly by completing an RN-to-BSN bridge program. Depending on your previous experience and on the program that you choose, you may be able to earn your BSN within two to three years rather than four by pursuing this option. [Read More…]
BSN-to-MSN Bridge Programs
With a BSN in hand, you should be eligible for more in-demand RN jobs with higher pay and better benefits. If you'd like to keep your options open to potentially move into advanced practice nursing or to progress into managerial or administrative nursing positions, you might consider earning your MSN. A BSN-to-MSN bridge program may allow you to earn an MSN in your desired area of specialization more quickly and efficiently, which means that you will be able to hold down a job at the same time. Although you will get there faster, this type of bridge program is very intense. [Read More…]
BSN-to-DNP Bridge Programs
If you plan to eventually obtain a DNP, why not get it out of the way sooner? Depending on your credentials, experience, and on other factors, you may be able to complete a BSN-to-DNP bridge program to achieve this terminal degree within a shorter period of time. A DNP is an invaluable credential for anyone who aspires to move into advanced practice nursing, and it opens many doors in the worlds of nursing management and administration too. Through a BSN-to-DNP bridge program, your previous work and experience may help to fulfill certain requirements, so you can finish sooner. [Read More…]
FAQs About BSN Bridge Programs
What Is a BSN Bridge Program?
The reason that BSN bridge programs are called "bridge programs" is that they are designed to bridge the gap in education between various degree levels. For example, as an LVN, you have already completed some training and education. Rather than start from scratch to earn your BSN and become an RN, you could complete an LVN-to-BSN bridge program to get there more quickly. Bridge programs are wildly popular with nurses because they allow them to progress in their educations and careers while still taking care of their day-to-day responsibilities.
Why Should You Choose an Accredited BSN Program?
As you've probably already learned, there is a dizzying array of BSN bridge programs out there. LPN-to-BSN and RN-to-BSN tend to be the most popular, but there are plenty of options across all levels. Should you decide to complete a bridge program, take care to enroll in one that has the right accreditations. Ideally, your bridge program should be accredited by either the American Commission on Education in Nursing, or ACEN, or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE.
Is a BSN Bridge Program Right for You?
With so many BSN bridge programs out there, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and confused. First, does it even make sense for you to complete a bridge program? Simply put, if you have any level of nursing education and experience, it's well worth it to look into BSN bridge programs. If you hold an LPN or LVN license, for example, a bridge program may allow you to start working as an RN more quickly. If you already hold a BSN, but aspire to progress into more demanding roles later in your career, a BSN-to-MSN or BSN-to-DNP bridge program may be the answer.
Although they aren't for everyone, BSN bridge programs can make a huge difference for busy, working nursing professionals. Regardless of your levels of training and education, there are sure to be several BSN bridge programs out there that could make a difference for your career.