A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) has some good job opportunities available to her, but for the best RN career prospects, you would be strongly advised to eventually earn your BSN degree.
The biggest reason to transition to a BSN degree of course, is salary. As a nurse with a BSN degree, you will earn much more money: a median annual wage of $67,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the other hand, median LPN salaries are in the range of $35,000-$45,000 per year.
Why Else You Should Do LPN to BSN Degree Transition
Many people who are LPN nurses eventually do earn their BSN degree. Not only do BSN holders make more money: Research shows that BSN holders are overall better nurses than LPNs.
This has been confirmed by two of the most respected bodies in nursing:
the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (ACEN), and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
These organizations state that current LPNs should eventually get their BSN degree because they provide a superior standard of care. BSN holders also have a better grasp of complex nursing concepts and are more attuned to public health problems. Hiring trends also suggest in recent years that many employers want you to transition from LPN to BSN.
Many nursing executives also have stated that they want most of their staff nurses to have a BSN to provide better patient care. Many online job ads for nurses frequently state ‘BSN preferred/required’ for this reason. Also:
- Employers want nurses who have a BSN degree or MSN degree who can provide more complex care in acute care, primary care and community health. Better educated nurses also can offer other essential services: case management, health promotion and prevention of diseases.
- 43% of hospitals and healthcare providers require nurses to have a BSN.
- Demand for BSN degree holders is acute in many specialties: critical care, operating room, labor and delivery, neonatal etc.
- The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report in 2014 that recommended that at least 80% of nurses in the US should have a BSN by 2020. In 2014, 49% of all nurses had a BSN.
BSN Holders Have Better Medical Education
Although LPNs and full RNs have many of the same duties, BSN holders have the skills and knowledge to do better focused assessments of illness and health problems. BSN holders learn to use quality practices, safety practices and more effective health interventions. They also have more education in these areas:
- Nursing theory
- Nursing fundamentals
- Anatomy and physiology
- Mental health
Having more education makes you more attractive to more employers.
Become An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
You also should transition from LPN to BSN because you will then be able to become an APRN, which has some of the highest salaries and responsibilities in the field of nursing. After you obtain your BSN, you can earn your master’s degree in nursing and then the door is open to some very exciting positions:
- Nurse practitioner
- Certified nurse midwife
- Certified nurse anesthetist
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Nurse educator/administrator
If you want to earn the most income and have the most respect in the nursing field, becoming an APRN is the way to go. The only way to do that is to earn your BSN degree.
Specialize in Exciting and Rewarding Nursing Fields
If you want to work in more specialized fields of nursing than you can as an LPN, this is another good reason to get your BSN. These specialities are especially in demand today:
- Ambulatory care
- Cardiac nursing
- Case management
- Critical care
- ER and trauma care
- Wound care
- Mental health
Having your BSN degree will enable you to work in more interesting specialties. And of course, having more specialized skills means a higher salary as well.
Licensing and Certification for LPN to BSN
As a current LPN, you already have passed your NCLEX-PN examination after you earned your associate’s degree. After you obtain your bachelor’s degree, you will then need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and get a license in your state of practice.
If you decide to eventually specialize in a field of nursing, you also will need to get your professional certification in the field. Some of the most popular nursing specializations today include pediatrics, gerontology, ambulatory care, home health care and neonatal.
Online BSN Options Available
These days, you no longer are required to commute to a distant campus and sit in classes for hours on end. Now you can often obtain your BSN degree from the comfort of your own home. And most of these programs are fully accredited and are the equal of an on-campus BSN degree.
For instance, Western Governor’s University features an innovative, online RN to BSN program. You also may transfer as many as 90 credit hours from your previous nursing program. In fact, WGU states that the average time to complete this program is only 18 months.
As part of your online BSN program, you will need to successfully complete 90 hours of clinical work. These are usually fulfilled in your community and correlates with your online coursework.
Core subject areas in this BSN program include:
- Anatomy and Physiology 1
- Clinical Microbiology
- Introduction to Psychology
- Human Growth and Development Across Lifespan
- Introduction to Sociology
- College Algebra
- Health Assessment
- Community Health
- Applied Nursing Research
If you are getting your BSN degree online, you should ensure that your program has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. With this highly regarded accreditation, you know that your program will be seen high esteem by your future employers. You can use the CCNE website to see if the program you are considering for your LPN to BSN transition is accredited.
In summary, obtaining your BSN degree is the right decision for most nurses because it means better jobs, better pay, more job security, and more fulfilling and exciting work. We recommend that you research about BSN degree programs on this website and select the one that is best for your needs and budget.