To become a nurse practitioner, students usually need to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) and then continue their studies to obtain their Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN). But what is the appropriate course to take if you didn’t realize that you wanted to work in the field of medicine and now want to completely change career paths? For those who didn’t obtain a BSN, do they have to return to school?
If you find yourself in the same situation and are looking for a way to become a nurse practitioner without starting from scratch, an accelerated program may be the right choice for you. But what exactly do these types of programs require?
Nurse Practitioner Bridge Programs
Although some schools might label these programs differently, the concept is still the same. Many colleges and universities have started to offer programs for those have obtained a bachelor’s degree in another field of study but want to become a nurse practitioner. These learning institutions generally offer an educational pathway that allows students to obtain an RN degree, typically in three semesters, then followed by their MSN, which generally is another three semesters. This allows students who have a BA in another field to complete a nurse practitioner program in only two years when attending on a full-time basis.
In order to be accepted to Nurse Practitioner Bridge Programs, students must already be a licensed practicing nurse (LPN). Schooling for this career is about 18 months and once certified, an LPN works under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN). It’s a task-focused job that deals more with skills and attending to immediate patient necessities than long-term care or medical treatment.
Becoming an LPN is the first step toward becoming a nurse practitioner if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The LPN curriculum gives students the fundamental medical knowledge that they need to succeed in an accelerated BSN Bridge Program.
Things to Consider
Oftentimes, these types of education solutions are restricted. There may be stipulations attached to them such as availability only full-time basis.
Things to consider with bridge programs? Firstly, the study options are limited. Universities, community colleges or technical schools may not allow you to study part-time or for you to earn your nursing degree online. If this is the case, you’ll have to make necessary arrangements to support yourself while you’re attending classes. This might mean leaving your current job, or doubling up your schedule and taking night classes.
Your financial situation and personal commitments will have a large influence on your ability to fully participate in a Bridge Program, but for those who are truly passionate about becoming a nurse practitioner, the temporary sacrifices prove worthwhile in the long term.
Nursing Practitioner Bridge Programs Online
The Internet provides millions of students the chance to study and earn their degrees or certification without having to rearrange their entire lives to attend on-site classes. Below you’ll find two universities that offer 100 percent online Nursing Practitioner Bridge Programs.
Grand Canyon University
- A private, Christian university based out of Nevada.
- Accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
- No GRE required.
- Minimum time commitment of 24 months.
- Popular Programs: M.S. in Nursing: Public Health (Bridge), M.S. in Nursing: Health Care Informatics (Bridge)
North Dakota State University
- Being an RN not required. Alternative degree path for non-RN students.
- Accredited by the CCNE.
- Minimum time commitment of 122 credits.
- Full LPN to BSN online program.
A nurse practitioner must earn a BSN and then a master’s degree to prove their excelsior knowledge in their field. Although these programs are rigorous, they are easily adaptable for passionate learners and can be taken by anyone, regardless of their age or prior professional experience.
In order to become a nurse practitioner, you’ll have to become an LPN. This will allow you to begin working in the field immediately while also becoming eligible to enroll in an accelerated Nurse Practitioner Bridge Program. These programs typically take 2 years to complete and turn LPNs into RNs before allowing RNs to earn their master’s and become nurse practitioners.
See also: LVN to RN nursing programs in California