Deemed the largest career in the U.S health care sector, nursing has better job opportunities for growth than other careers. Aside from being among the most flexible careers in the medical field, nursing offers a myriad of exciting opportunities: its paths of entry, work responsibilities, specializations, schedules, and working environments.
For nurses who are interested in advancing their career further, the transition from Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Registered Nurse (RN) is an option that can be easily pursued. However, it requires dedication and a lot of hard work. Many LPNs who commit themselves to the lengthy process of transitioning an RN find that the more experience they have as an LPN – working at top levels within the field of their practice – makes them seamlessly slide into the RN role.
With the job market expected to expand significantly over the next few years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics (BLS) has established the current number of LPNs practicing in the country to be over 720,000. LPNs earn an estimated annual salary of about $46,000 while RNs earn over $71,000 per year. While the huge salary difference is a compelling motivator, many LPNs who pursue the RN license do so to expand their scope of practice. With an RN license, nurses can do more for their communities and patients.
Program Details (LPN to RN)
It is openly evident that nurses are currently in high demand; for several reasons, the need will only continue growing. RNs practice in all healthcare settings, including hospitals, medical offices, nursing homes, community health centers, schools, retail clinics, and ambulatory care centers. They also provide healthcare services in isolated locations such as camps, homeless shelters, tourist destinations, sporting events, and prisons.
Accelerated LPN to RN programs recognize the education and skills already earned by the LPN. Nurses who attend these accelerated courses spend close to two years taking classes such as:
- Health Assessment
- LPN to RN Transition
- Family Nursing
- Public Health Nursing
- Psychosocial Nursing
- Complex Adult Health
- Management, Leadership, and Career Development
- Evidence-Based Practice and Research
Many schools offer complete online programs within 18 months, which include clinical rotations. LPN students usually excel during these clinical rotations, under the guidance of nurses working in rehabilitation, acute care, or long-term care, since they already know how to prioritize tasks and manage their time. Many LPNs work by:
- Being assigned their own patients
- Taking physician orders.
- Conducting focused assessments
- Delegating tasks to aides
Increased Nursing Responsibilities
LPNs are tasked with their own scope of care, but when transitioning to RN roles they must take on a much broader role. Having completed nursing school and passed the NCLEX-RN, the responsibility felt by LPN-RN transitions can be overwhelming. Not only do these nurses provide direct patient care, but they also have the weight of everyone's patients' safety and well-being in their hands.
Due to this increased accountability for others, there should exist processes within healthcare facilities that allow reporting concerns related to treatment or other practices without fear of repercussion for speaking up about situations where something seems amiss or unethical. When this is discovered, the RN can step in and mitigate any errors.
Employers are drawn to LPNs who want to transition into the role of RN because they have a strong work history in nursing. Employers also like that returning candidates show significant commitment levels by going back and completing challenging school curriculum, proving their dedication as nurses.
Impact of Nursing Experience on the New Program
Both LPN and RN nurses have to take a demanding course load full of highly technical courses; however, the program for becoming an RN will be at least twice (or even four times) longer. It is a time-consuming and demanding course load full of highly technical courses.
Some may prefer to amass knowledge through practical experience before going into these higher-level classes so that the topics covered are more surmountable than if they had not experienced any practical training beforehand. However, others say having this amount of real-life experience can actually slow you down in class since your personal experiences might conflict with what's being taught by professors or books written on the subject matter.
Regardless, whatever personal experiences you encounter in the medical field (or lack thereof) will definitely have an impact on the LPN - RN program you decide to take on.
When you begin the LPN-to-RN program, your first few semesters will likely be in a bridge program. You'll take classes like Math, English, and humanities while also focusing on medical topics on the main course. This helps to bridge the gap between the lower degree and the four-year degree.
Those interested in this LPN program should be aware that not all of the classes they will take during training may count towards their chosen degree. Some applicants have expressed disappointment at being required to complete extra courses which do not directly relate to nursing, but these additional subjects are necessary for the completion of a higher-level certification and can prove useful once employed.
Future Potential Nursing Opportunities
The ever-growing field of nursing offers many career possibilities determined by your level of education, experience, and preference. Whether it's a variety of economic needs or personal preferences that drive you to seek out the ideal nurse job is up to you; however, there are some factors worth considering when choosing which type will best suit your life goals as well as family commitments.
Advancing your career from an LPN by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree and becoming an RN will give you a wealth of opportunities. The coursework for this degree is demanding but with motivation and preparation, it can be achieved.
You will also be in a position to pursue advanced roles such as being a mentor or trainer who trains new nurses on their job duties. This will require more responsibility than just performing patient care tasks.
Need Advice on Transforming Your Medical Career?
Working with a medical staffing agency like Quadrant will assist you to deliver your resume in front of the right people on time. They have built lasting relationships with hiring managers, healthcare facilities and medical clinics. If you are looking to advance your nursing career or make a career change, contact us today.