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27/08/2013 07:08 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 08:59 GMT

Nursing USA: How to Get From LPN to RN in Five Steps

For many Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), training to become a Registered Nurse (RN) may seem like a long and daunting process. Indeed, for some LPNs, it could take over 5 years to get to where they want to be but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not worthwhile.

For many Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), training to become a Registered Nurse (RN) may seem like a long and daunting process. Indeed, for some LPNs, it could take over 5 years to get to where they want to be but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not worthwhile. With the typical salary of an RN some $20,000 higher than the average LPN, training to become an RN is certainly a logical long term investment. Here are the 5 steps that you need to take to make it from LPN to RN:

LPN One Year Program

Also known as LVN programs in California and Texas, LPN programs offer a hands-on route into the nursing profession. On the job, LPNs are expected to deliver routine bedside care as well as having the skills to perform basic patient reporting and offer physical and emotional support to the patients they are assigned. LPN/LVN programs provide students with hands-on experience in a range of nursing skills, including patient hygiene and safety, how to administer medication and oxygen, how to dress and care for wounds, and insert and maintain catheters. Many programs enable students to apply their newly acquire skills to real patients in a proper clinical environment so this is something to consider when choosing which college to go to.

NCLEX-PR

On completion of an LPN/LVN program, students are eligible to sit the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical/Vocational Nurses; more simply known as the NCLEX-PN. Administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the NCLEX-PN is designed to ensure that candidates have the ability to practice as practical or vocational nurses in a safe and effective manner. Once passed, students are able to work as entry-level practical/vocational nurses. Focusing specifically on patient needs, the exam covers areas such as care management and safety, and various aspects of psychosocial and physiological care.

LPN to BSN Program

LPN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) programs are designed to enable students to attain a bachelor's degree in Nursing without having to start from scratch. With many hospitals now viewing a bachelor's degree as essential, it is vital that modern nurses acquire a BSN on their journey to becoming a Registered Nurse, or risk rendering themselves unemployable. Provided you've managed to attain all the necessary prerequisites for your chosen program then an LPN to BSN can take as little as 2 years to complete. Those who do not meet the program prerequisites will be required to complete the necessary prerequisite classes prior to admission. It's important to note that these programs can also be taken online which, depending on your circumstances, may be more suitable. Whichever you do, make sure the program you choose is suitably accredited before signing up.

NCLEX-RN

Like the NCLEX-PR, the purpose of the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses) is to ensure that candidates have the required competencies to practice as registered nurses. Candidates must answer a minimum of 75 and a maximum of 265 questions in a mammoth exam that can last up to 6 hours. Students then receive their results - pass or fail - between 2 to 4 weeks after the exam. Those that pass the exam are free to practice as registered nurses, whereas those that fail will be sent a document detailing how they performed in each area of the exam which can be used as a guide should they decided to re-sit in the future.

So, there you have it; how to get from LPN to RN in 5 steps. Whilst training to become an RN may seem like a long and laborious road, with the right attitude and a drive to succeed, it really can be as simple as you make it!

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