Bridge programs provide a fast-track for LPNs and RNs to continue their education without the need to start on a degree from the beginning of a nursing school program. Although such programs are appropriate for most nurses, there are some requirements to become eligible. For those who have a background in nursing and at least some formal education, a bridge program is an excellent way to advance their professional careers. Many types of bridge programs exist, but the most common are LPN to RN and RN to MSN.
LPN to RN Bridge Programs
LPN to RN bridge programs are designed for Licensed Practical Nurses who are ready to become Registered Nurses. Coursework for LPNs will include advanced practice training and other skills courses typical of an RN. However, basic nursing principles may be skipped provided that the LPN completed formal education from an accredited agency to earn LPN status. Students in an LPN to RN bridge program typically earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, so core classes will be required. These may include language, composition, mathematics, and other common core courses.
RN to BSN or RN to MSN Bridge Programs
RN to BSN or MSN bridge programs are designed for registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing or any other subject. Because most associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs contain the same core course content, there is no need for the student to repeat these classes. Therefore, in a bridge program, the RN can complete only those classes which are missing from the graduation criteria. Depending on the student’s former degree, these classes may include only advanced practical nurse skills. Alternatively, if the former degree is in a non-nursing field, the student will be required to take the full course load that a new MSN student would take.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “These programs prepare nurses to assume positions requiring graduate preparation, including roles in administration, teaching, research, and as Clinical Nurse Leaders. Master’s degree-prepared nurses are in high demand as expert clinicians, nurse executives, clinical educators, health policy consultants, and research assistants.” Learn more about bridge programs by visiting the AACN.
If you are searching for a bridge program or thinking about going to nursing school for the first time, Nursing Schools Direct can help! You can Search by State or use the form on the right to Find a Nursing School near you. Once you’ve found a school, click the Request Info button and fill out the form to learn more. You will be contacted by a school representative who can answer any questions you may have. Access to our network of schools, career information, and more is available for free. There is no cost or obligation to request information from the school, or schools, or your choice.