Did you know that colleges and universities are looking for students like you?
You’re a licensed and practicing LPN who isn’t new to the nursing field. You’ve completed an LPN program, earned your LPN license in Maine, and likely have some experience under your belt. This makes you the ideal candidate for earning an RN and BSN, which is why many colleges and universities, in an effort to attract nurses like you, have begun offering LPN-BSN programs, uniquely designed programs that recognize and credit you for your previous education and experience.
These programs couldn’t come at a better time for Maine because a swiftly aging state population andnursing workforce are producing what many have referred to as a “perfect storm.” A February 2017 Bangor Daily News article referred to this double whammy as “setting the stage for a critical shortage of nurses across the state by 2025.”
In fact, Maine is set to face a shortage of 3,200 RNs by 2025, according to projections by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the University of Maine System.
But where there’s need, there’s opportunity, and Maine’s deficit of nurses can result in plenty of exciting professional prospects for you.
As a licensed LPN, you’re an asset to Maine’s nursing workforce. But your opportunities for career advancement are likely limited. However, with a BSN and your RN license in your back pocket, your value will increase ten-fold, resulting in an expanded scope of practice, more professional opportunities, including managerial and leadership positions, and a larger paycheck. It’ll also position you nicely for continued studies at the graduate level and for careers in academia, administration and research, if desired.
In other words, earning your BSN will not only help curb Maine’s looming shortage of RNs but will also give your career the boost you’ve been looking for.
Sure, you don’t need to earn a BSN to become an RN in Maine, but with strong evidence showing the benefits of a primarily BSN-prepared nursing workforce and the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation for an 80% BSN nursing workforce by 2020, many employers are now demanding BSN nurses. A BSN degree will provide you with the credentials for the widest range of professional opportunities at the RN level.
LPN to BSN Programs in Maine
LPN-BSN programs recognize and credit you for your past education and experience, thereby providing you with advanced placement in the program. They’re often referred to as ‘accelerated’ programs because the credit you earn as an LPN allows you to move through the BSN program in a shorter period of time. Plus, many programs offer a partially or fully online course of study, which allows you to juggle your professional and academic responsibilities and study on your own time, from wherever it’s most convenient for you.
Admission into an LPN-BSN program will require a current and valid LPN license. However, beyond this requirement, programs tend to have different program requirements, usually when it comes to the number of credits transferred or articulated from your LPN program. Some programs automatically reward a set number of credits for your LPN license, while others take in accountant previous classes and experience when determining your advanced standing in the program. Expect anywhere from 10 to 25 credits to transfer to your BSN program.
Many programs also require incoming students to take a general skills competency assessment to determine eligibility or placement in the program.
You’ll also need to complete the program’s prerequisites, which consists of about 40-50 credits in courses such as:
- Intro to Psychology
- College Writing
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Terminology
- Human Nutrition
After you’ve successfully completed all prerequisite requirements, you can expect to complete a handful of bridge courses that must be completed prior to admission into the program. Depending on your success in these courses, you may be able to waive some of the program’s clinical requirements.
The program’s BSN core includes about 65 credits that include both classroom and clinical hours. These courses include study and practical experiences with a variety of patient populations and in a variety of settings:
- Healthcare Informatics
- Healthcare Ethics
- Nursing Care of Childbearing and Childbearing Families
- Complex Care Across the Lifespan
- Adult Nursing Care
Clinical experiences are an important part of your LPN-BSN program. While some LPN-BSN programs can be completed partially or fully online, clinical requirements must be completed at approved sites close to home. You may be able to complete some of your clinical experiences through your employer, although this varies between programs.
Just a sampling of some of the clinical sites in Maine include:
- Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, Ellsworth
- Southern Maine Medical Center, Biddeford
- Joseph Hospital, Bangor
- Mercy Hospital, Portland
- Franklin Memorial Hospital, Farmington
How to Become an RN in Maine by Completing an LPN to BSN Program
Once you’ve completed your LPN-BSN program, apply for an RN license online through the Maine State Board of Nursing. You must also register with Pearson Vue to take the NCLEX-RN. Once you have passed the NCLEX-RN and your application has been approved, you will be awarded a Maine RN license.
Incentive Programs for LPNs Pursuing BSNs in Maine
The financial burden of going back to school and earning a BSN may be weighing heavily on your mind. But your current healthcare employer could be the answer to offsetting some of these costs. As part of your benefits package, you may be able to receive some type of tuition reimbursement, scholarship or grant.
For example, LPNs at Maine Medical Center must matriculate into a BSN degree program within one year of hire and complete the degree within 5 years of hire. However, they offer tuition reimbursement (for LPNs working 20 or more hours a week) to make this educational venture an affordable one.
Check with the human resources department to learn more about financial assistance available to you for earning your BSN.