The Arizona Action Coalition (AAC) has piggy-backed on the recommendations made in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Future of Nursing, Leading Change, Advancing Healthreport to increase the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses. The AAC published the Arizona Campaign for Action: Self Study as a way of taking a closer look at the issue, and has been spear-heading a number of strategic initiatives designed to make it easier and more affordable for practical nurses to go back to school to earn a BSN.
The Action Coalition has taken the lead role in improving research and analysis of healthcare workforce requirements, and is charged with implementing the IOM’s recommendation of a predominantly BSN-prepared RN workforce.
The Arizona Action Coalition reports that as of 2011, just 37 percent of Arizona’s nearly 75,000 RNs had BSN or higher degrees. LPNs interested in addressing the needs of today’s evolving healthcare industry by earning a BSN will be benefiting themselves as much as the public by positioning themselves for better pay and job stability. And it all starts with an LPN-BSN program specifically designed to build on the knowledge and experience LPNs already have.
Just a few of the findings that support the position of the Arizona Action Coalition include:
- By 2020, one-fourth of all Arizonians will be over the age of 60.
- Approximately one-sixth of Arizona’s population qualifies for Medicaid.
- The ratio of RNs employed in nursing, per 100,000 residents, increased from 748 in 2000 to 934 in 2011.
- The percentage of BSN-prepared RNs in Arizona is below the national average of 45 percent.
- Arizona has initiated an ADN to BSN enrollment model to increase the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses.
In the words of the Action Coalition, “it is imperative that leaders in nursing education and practice develop collaborative curriculum models to facilitate the achievement of a minimum of a baccalaureate degree in nursing by all nurses.”
LPN to BSN Programs in Arizona and Online: Eligibility and Curriculum Requirements
Geared specifically for working nurses, many LPN to BSN programs are designed to accommodate busy schedules with online and part-time delivery options.
Just a few of the core nursing courses in an LPN to BSN program include:
- Nursing as a Discipline and Profession
- Health Assessment for Registered Nurses and Lab
- Basic Principles in Palliative Care
- Nursing Research
- Family Nursing Roles
- Manager of Healthcare Systems
- Nursing Leadership
- Public Health Nursing
Clinical projects within LPN to BSN programs are generally completed in the nurse’s local community even if enrolled in an online program offered through a national university. Very often, hours can be completed at your current place of employment.
Clinical experience requirements can vary from one program to the next. The Arizona Board of Nursing reported that clinical hours for baccalaureate programs in the state typically range from 390 to 855 hours, with somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 hours being most common.
The Board reported the greatest number of clinical hours were in advanced medical-surgical areas (average of 143 hours), followed by basic medical surgical (average of 111 hours), preceptorship (average of 112 hours), maternity (average of 54 hours), pediatrics (average of 51 hours), and mental health (average of 46 hours).
Just a few of the healthcare systems in Arizona that typically maintain partnerships with local and out-of-state universities for the purpose of clinical rotations include:
- Mayo Clinic, Phoenix
- Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix
- University of Arizona Medical Center, Tucson
- Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix
- Banner Desert Medical Center, Mesa
- Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, Gilbert
Steps to Earning an RN License in Arizona after Completing a BSN
Naturally, you’ll need to pass the NCLEX-RN in order to earn your RN license in Arizona. You’ll be eligible to register for the exam upon successfully completing your program, and in some cases, in your final semester. To become a licensed RN in Arizona, candidates must:
- Complete an Arizona State Board of Nursing Registered Nurse Licensure by Examination application
- Provide the Board of Nursing with a Certificate of Completion form
- Complete the NCLEX Registration through Pearson Vue
- Receive an Authorization to Test letter from Pearson Vue
- Schedule to take the NCLEX-RN at one of the Pearson Vue testing centers
- Take and pass the NCLEX-RN
Employee Benefits for Arizona LPNs Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, in Phoenix, created the Career Advancement Rewarding Excellence Program (CARE) for nurses who want to gain new competencies and skills. The CARE program is a “by nurses, for nurses” program, which offers LPNs the opportunity to pursue more advanced degrees.
- Abrazo Health Care, which includes a number of facilities throughout Phoenix, including Arrowhead Hospital, Arizona Heart Hospital, Maryvale Hospital, Paradise Valley Hospital, and Phoenix Baptist Hospital, has a tuition assistance programs that is available to full-time employees who want to pursue courses leading to a degree, such as a BSN. The maximum, annual amount offered is $1,500.
- Flagstaff Medical Center, in Flagstaff, offers tuition reimbursement for both part- and full-time employees, which also covers registration costs associated with LPN to BSN programs.