Hospitals in Connecticut need highly skilled nurses, and they need them now. In March 2018, I read an article published by the Stamford Advocatestating that although Samford Health already employs roughly 800 nurses, it had 30 positions still open. And even though Yale-New Haven Health already employs about 5,000 nurses, it still needed another 50 new hires – and this is just a snapshot of the hiring activity happening in one month.
As I continued reading, I realized these and other health care providers like Western Connecticut Health Network were also in dire need of nurses with specialized training—ones with the education and experience to handle the pressure of neonatal intensive units, maternity units, ICUs, and critical care units.
The situation is clear: Connecticut needs nurses with BSN degrees, and is ready to pay them what they’re worth.
Looking at statistics from the US Department of Labor, I found that LPNs in Connecticut earned an annual salary of between $43,240 and $67,010. But those that promoted themselves by earning an RN license and BSN degree were ringing in salaries in the range of $77,650 to $101,740.
The allure of more job opportunities and fatter paychecks is exactly why more Connecticut LPNs are searching for LPN-BSN programs.
What to Expect From an LPN to BSN Program
There are no onsite LPN-BSN programs available in Connecticut just yet. This fact shouldn’t deter enthusiastic LPNs from getting the education they want and deserve. If you’re comfortable becoming a transfer student, there are still two viable options to consider:
Enroll in an online program: Some schools offer an online LPN-to-BSN program that is open to transfer students from Connecticut. Just like onsite programs, these online options typically require incoming students to have at least two years of practical nursing experience under their LPN license prior to enrollment. Clinical requirements can often be satisfied in Connecticut’s local communities, often with your current employer. LPNs that graduate from an accredited online LPN-BSN program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination.
Check out neighboring states: Some programs offered in neighboring states, including Massachusetts and New York welcome transfer students from Connecticut. Schools that extend enrollment to transfer students are normally eager to show incoming LPNs how to transfer credits, submit required documents, and pass entrance examinations (when necessary) in order to smoothly integrate into their LPN-BSN program. Of course, this option only works for LPNs able to commute or relocate.
Core LPN to BSN Coursework Requirements
While researching LPN-BSN curriculum, I noticed that the core course requirements remained rather analogous between programs. Here are a few examples of these courses:
- Foundation for Nursing Practice
- Principles of Pharmacology
- Nursing Research
- Public Health Nursing
- Health Care of Women and Children
- Care of the Adult and Older Adult
- Preparation for Professional Licensure
- Mental Health Nursing
High-qualify nursing education is so heavily weighted with clinical experience that Connecticut students enrolled in LPN-BSN programs begin practical training during their second semester and continue throughout the remainder of the program.
During this three-year period, LPNs are given access to multiple health care sites that cater to a large variety of patient groups. This is the time when LPNs get comfortable collaborating with other health care professionals, developing leadership skills, and becoming familiar with the work that goes on in settings that include:
- Ambulatory Centers
- Schools and Colleges
- Long-term Care Facilities
- Health Agencies
- Medical Clinics
- Elderly Communities
- Day Care Centers
As it turns out, the colleges and universities in neighboring states and through online programs that offer LPN-BSN programs have strong affiliations with numerous health care sites throughout the state where students can complete their clinical training:
- Vincent’s Medical Center
- Yale-New Haven Hospital
- City of Bridgeport Department of Health
- Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut
- Francis Hospital & Medical Center
- Stratford Visiting Nurse Service
- The Hospital at St. Raphael’s
- Bridgeport Schools
Many schools have partner-practice agreements with local healthcare facilities, which means LPN-BSN students could complete their clinical rotation hours in the same place they’re currently employed. So essentially you could get paid while completing your clinical requirements. Definitely check with your employer if you’re unsure.
How to Migrate from an LPN to RN License Through the Connecticut Department of Public Health
One of the major advantages of completing a LPN-BSN program is qualifying for the more esteemed title of registered nurse. The pay upgrade doesn’t hurt either. The process for obtaining your RN license in Connecticut is straightforward, just follow these easy steps:
- Complete a nursing program that is approved by the Board of Examiners for Nursing
- Register online to take the NCLEX examination with Pearson Vue
- Submit an application for RN license along with school transcripts to the Connecticut Department of Public Health
- After receiving an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter via mail or email, schedule your NCLEX examination. There are Pearson Vue test centers located in Wethersfield, Wallingford, and Norwalk.
- If your application and test scores are accepted, the Board will grant a Connecticut RN license.