If you’re a certified nursing assistant and you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, there are two different paths you can take. The first is to become a Licensed Practical Nurse. This option takes less time and costs less money, but you also get paid less and can’t take on as many duties. The second is to become a registered nurse. Becoming a registered nurse requires more training, but they also get paid more and more options for career paths. This article will discuss the benefits of becoming an RN, different education paths you can take, the costs involved, and the requirements to get into an RN bridge program.
Benefits of Becoming an RN
RNs can take on more responsibilities. They can make decisions about riskier medical situations, perform diagnostic tests, make assessments, treat critical patients and give potentially dangers medications to patients. By contrast, LPNs can only take on a limited number of duties. They can help with minor medical procedures, give medications, take patient data and monitor conditions, collect blood, urine and sputum samples, change wound dressings, and care for items like catheters, tracheotomy tubes, and ventilators. Both LPNs and RNs can work in doctors’ offices, nursing homes, clinics, and private homes. In addiction, registered nurses can also look into options that involve less contact with patients, like forensic nursing, becoming a nurse educator, nurse administrator or nurse legal consultant. So if you’re interested in getting into one of these fields eventually, becoming a registered nurse would be the way to go.
Education Options for becoming a Registered Nurse
If you’re interested in becoming a registered nurse, there are a few different routes you can take. You can earn an Associates of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. If you already have a CNA degree though, you may find that you’re repeating a lot of the same classes. That’s why some schools have developed bridge programs that only cover the information you need to know to fill the gap between your CNA training and the required training to become an LPN or RN.
Requirements to Get Into a Bridge Program
Every school varies slightly, they do share some common requirements. Most schools require that you are at least 18 years old and have some professional experience as a CNA. They also may require that you finished high school or obtained a high school equivalency, and get a certain score on your SAT or ACT tests.
Tuition Requirements for a Bridge Program
Bridge programs can cost as much as $3,000 to $10,000 a year depending on the program. You can take out a student loan, but there are also other options. Some employers have tuition assistance or reimbursement. You can also search for scholarships and grants to see if you qualify for them. If you can afford it, you can pay for the program out of your own pocket. Some schools also offer online courses, which may be more convenient for students who have busy schedules. You can also take classes part-time. It will take longer for you to complete your degree, but this may be a better option for you if you have a busy life and/or can’t afford to take all the classes at once.
What Kind of Schools Offer These programs?
You can work toward your degree in a formal nursing school or community college. If you’re trying to save money, community colleges cost less.
Things to Look For When Choosing a Program
No matter what which route you choose to take, there are a few features you should look for:
Make Sure the Program You Choose is Accredited
Many BSN and MSN programs require that you attend a school that’s accredited in your state as well as nationally.
Make Sure the School Has a High Pass Rate for the RN Accreditation Test
This test is required to become an RN, so it’s important that the school does a good job preparing you for it. You can judge the quality of the program by the number of students that pass the exams.
Even though RN education programs cost more, many hospitals and doctor’s offices offer tuition assistance to CNAs. Some hospitals also have hospital-based education programs for those who want to become an RN.
Obtaining an RN degree after you’ve gotten your CNA and started getting experience in the medical field can be a great way to further your career, make more money and expand your opportunities. If you’re interested in pursuing a CNA to RN bridge program, please contact us for more information.