Becoming a Licensed Practicing Nurse is not an easy journey with the amount of studying and clinical hours you will need to complete, but at the end of the day it will be worth it. Of course, your next step on the corporate medical ladder would be to make the transition to becoming a Registered Nurse or RN. Too many LPNs do not make that progression though because they do not have the time to take that next step. However, if you are determined to become an RN, you can fast track your progress.
The decision to study to become an RN is usually based on one of two factors. The first reason has to do with money, as RNs are more highly paid. The second is that it gives you more opportunities in the future as many RNs can specialize to work in certain situations and become any type of nurse from cardiovascular to anesthetizing nurse. As an LPN you will eventually get to the point where you really cannot advance any further, while as an RN you can keep advancing.
One of the best ways to make your dreams come true is to study online. After all, if you are already trying to balance work and a family, you may only be able to fit in a program that you can complete on your own time. These online programs aim to help you become an RN as quickly as possible and prepare you for the NCLEX exam.
Why Become An RN?
It seems that there is a lot of pressure on LPNs to fast track their careers and you may be wondering why it is so important. As many LPNs have already discovered, the career path of an LPN is quite limited. Once you reach the top of the corporate ladder, you will realize that you are not very high at all. The next step is to become an RN, and there are many benefits to doing this:
- The money – when you become an RN, you will make a lot more money. However, this is not just about money, but the potential to make more money. As you advance as an RN, and start taking on more responsibilities and specializing in certain fields, you will start making a lot more money, or will at least have the option to do so.
- More responsibility – we all know that with more work comes more responsibility, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. When you are given a chance to take on more responsibility and perhaps even manage staff, you are setting yourself up for promotions and potentially, being rewarded.
- More knowledge – though it may not be high on your list to become a lifelong learner, studying to become an RN will give you a lot more knowledge and may even encourage a love for learning. What it will doubtless do for you is provide you with new knowledge that will help you not only do your job better, but also help you make better decisions.
- It’s not that hard – when you already have an LPN qualification, making the transition to RN is not only easy, but requires a lot less work than you might need to put in if studied to become an RN from scratch.
When doing the coursework online, you will find that many of the courses offered are not easy, and rightly so. They include all aspect of nursing, from surgical and anesthesiology to pediatric and psychological nursing. This is because the responsibilities of the RN are so much more than those of the LPN and depending on which specialty you choose, you will need to be prepared.
Many candidates may be looking for the schools that can offer them the best theoretical educations, but it also vital that you find the school that can give you clinical training. Once you have enrolled, either in an online program or in classes at a physical university, you will need to complete clinical coursework, and this includes the RN nursing training. Many candidates can complete this training within their own workplace under the supervision of their managers.
What you need to be wary of is that these RN programs are not for everyone. Though you may want to fast track your education and your career, you may find these courses too intense, and in this case, should take some time to consider whether being an RN is what you really want.
Where To Study
Choosing a school to do your fast track program should be a long and considered decision. You need to determine if the school you have chosen suits your needs and if it can provide you with the type of education that will prepare you for the world of work. Some of the best schools include:
- Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Department of Nursing – this program specializes in fast tracking nurse’s education and training so that they can become qualified as RNs. They also give credit for any experience or previous training, so it will be much easier and faster to obtain your RN degree. One of the college’s biggest advantages is that students can keep working while they study, which means they won’t suffer depletion in income. To apply, students will need to submit their licenses as LPNs in the state of Oklahoma, and a copy of their scores from the American College Testing facility.
- Florida Gateway College – this program has been specifically designed on the principles of what LPNs and RNs have in common. Though two entrance tests will need to be completed, candidates will be happy to note that their current experience counts significantly to the qualification offered. Their part time program can be completed within one year.
- Lawrence Memorial/Regis College – with a current LPN license, students will need three reference letters to apply to this college, though these are easy enough to get from supervisors at the candidate’s workplace. They should also submit an essay and must have achieved a C in algebra. All of these requirements ensure that only those possessing the highest skills set can enter this program and advance to an Associate of Science degree with a specialization in nursing.
- Indiana State – this school offers students the option of studying online. This is ideal for those candidates who have to work while they study and will take into account credits from previous courses and accomplishments.
- The College Network – this network actually consists of a partnership between several organizations and colleges and provides students with an online program that they can use to prepare for their licensing.
The schools listed herein are some of the good ones, but you will find that within the state you are currently working and online, there are many other programs. To ensure you choose the right one, you need to check on the college’s registration details and their accreditations with national bodies.
Career Choices For The RN
If you have decided to become an RN and you are already an LPN, you will need to consider how you will specialize. This means figuring out where you will work and the courses you will take to further your career. There are many options open to you, each requiring its own sets of skills and knowledge and each taking your career in a different direction.
Some of the more popular choices include going into school care, mental health nursing or cardiovascular nursing, however, there are many options that are not that well known, such as forensic nursing. The similarity in each of these is that they will add a few years onto your study time, depending how much coursework and clinic work is required with each.
When you are making up your mind about which path to pursue, you need to get some advice from others, including your academic advisors. They can help you identify your strengths and define what you are interested in, so that you can make the best decision. It may be difficult to do this, but it is vital if you want your career to keep progressing.
When considering whether or not to fast track your career path from LPN to RN, you may need to take some time to consider the possible advantages and disadvantages. When you first consider it, make up a list of benefits and drawbacks of fast tracking your career, and think through how this type of study could affect your life, both in a positive and a negative way.
Go online and look for forums where people discuss their careers in nursing and how fast tracking their LPN to RN journey has assisted them in their lives and their careers. They should be able to offer you tips on the best places to study, the places to avoid and how to ensure that you make the most of your studies. You may even be able to find out the best places to get financial aid, if you need it.
You should also ask your advisors to recommend places of study and help you make a better decision about your studies. You can ask friends and family too, but it makes more sense to ask co-workers, especially those who actually are RNs and can tell you about how they made the transition.
You will also need to consider the resources you have that you can use to study, namely, time and money. You may want to advance your career, but may realize that you don’t actually have the finances to do so, or that your schedule is so tight that you cannot fit in becoming an RN. When considering a school, think through how these challenges can be overcome. For example, if you find that you don’t have the time to study, you might look at doing an online course, which will save you a lot of time. You will be able to work and earn money, while also studying.
If you find that the biggest problem is that you cannot afford to study, look to the financial aid offices of the schools you are applying to. They may be able to help you with financial aid, or refer you to someone who can help you. They may also be able to direct you to a bank that can offer you a lower interest rate, so that you don’t end up paying a huge amount for your studies. You may also consider asking your employer to fund your studies, which will take the financial burden off of you. This is a win-win situation as you will benefit from what essentially is free studies, while your employer will have a more skilled employee.
Though you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information there is available about becoming an RN and may feel as though it is too much to comprehend, remember that the most important thing driving you should be your goal. If your goal is becoming an RN and you want to fast track your LPN to RN studies, you will need to set yourself a goal. Ensure that when you do so, your goal is not just about money, but that you have considered the healthy balance of more money with the benefits of more responsibility too.
Once you have decided on your goal, you will need to determine how you will work towards it and though this may seem overwhelming, when you have a clear plan to follow, you can make your journey easier. Fast tracking your LPN to RN progress is a task that may not come easily and that may take time to implement, but in that time you will find that your decision becomes easier and easier, and that your goal comes closer, and more within your reach.
If you can complete this course with a friend, or with someone you work with, it will make it both easier and it will seem to go faster. If you have to complete it alone, remember the goal you are aiming for.