In Rhode Island, the BSN is the preferred degree for RNs and, according to projections published by Georgetown University, employer demand for BSN-educated nurses isn’t going away anytime soon. Georgetown University projects that by 2020, of Rhode Island’s 15,030 nurses, the majority—6,990—will hold the BSN, compared to just 4,590 with an ADN, 1,010 with a nursing diploma, and 210 with a DNP.
For practicing LPNs thinking about pursuing an RN license, it just makes better sense to complete a BSN instead of an ADN. With a BSN in your back pocket, you’ll be able to remain competitive in this dynamic market. Plus, you’ll also be eligible for specialized roles and leadership positions, both in and outside of the clinical setting—positions that often come with a bigger paycheck.
And there may be no better time than now to pursue your RN and BSN, thanks to a growing number of LPN-to-BSN programs specifically designed to recognize your past education and experience and reward you with an advanced standing in the program. But that’s not all—many of these programs are offered in a partially or fully online format, so you can study on your time, at your pace, all while you continue to meet your personal and professional obligations.
What to Expect from an LPN to BSN Program
A current and valid LPN license is your ticket for admission into an LPN-BSN program. Some programs may also require a specified number of years of experience. Many of these programs also require you to take a general skills assessment, which is used to determine your eligibility for admission. In some cases, you may also have the option of demonstrating knowledge and competencies through testing, allowing you to skip coursework in topics you can prove you’ve already mastered.
Transfer requirements also vary. Some programs transfer a set number of credits based on your LPN license, while other programs require the transfer of specific courses that meet their curriculum guidelines. In most cases, you can expect to transfer in between 10-30 credits toward your BSN. This means you can complete as few as 80 credits and earn your BSN in as little as three years.
While admission and transfer requirements tend to vary from one LPN-BSN program to the next, what remains fairly consistent is the program’s curriculum.
First, you’ll need to satisfy the program’s prerequisites. Most programs require that you attain at least a 2.5 GPA in these courses to move onto the BSN core. Prerequisite courses usually include:
- Intro to Chemistry
- English Composition
- Lifespan Development
- Intro to Psychology
- Anatomy and Physiology
The BSN core consists of both classroom and clinical experiences that together will prepare you as a generalist practitioner capable of caring for patients of diverse populations in a variety of settings:
- Physical Assessment
- Nursing Care of Mental Health Clients
- Nursing Care of Childbearing Families and Children
- Nursing Care in the Community
- Nursing Care of Adults
- Nursing Leadership and Management
- Nursing Research
Your clinical rotations must be completed at approved sites. If you complete an online LPN-BSN program, you’ll still be able to complete your clinical hours at a location near you thanks to partnership agreements in place between online nursing programs and healthcare providers with a national presence. You may be even able to complete some of the clinical requirements at your current place of employment. Just a few of the clinical sites in Rhode Island include:
- Bradley Hospital, Riverside
- Butler Hospital, Providence
- Roger Williams Medical Center, Providence
- Westerly Hospital, Westerly
- Kent Hospital, Warwick
How to Become an RN in Rhode Island by Completing an LPN to BSN Program
Upon completing an LPN-BSN program, you’ll apply through the State of Rhode Island Department of Health’s online services page for your RN license. Then, you must apply to the NCSBN to sit for the NCLEX-RN. After the Department has approved your application and confirmed the completion of your LPN-BSN program, you’ll schedule an appointment to sit for the NCLEX-RN.
You’ll earn your Rhode Island RN license upon passing the NCLEX-RN.
Getting Your Hands on the Funding You Need to Earn a BSN
An LPN-BSN program requires a significant time and financial commitment. While an online LPN-BSN program can offer the convenience and flexibility you’re looking for, the cost of going back to school is likely weighing heavily on your mind.
But your employer may be the solution to offsetting some of the costs of tuition and books. This is because many Rhode Island healthcare employers are offering financial incentives in the form of scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs for the most promising nurses who show interest in advancing their education.
For example, Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence provides full-time employees with tuition assistance of up to 80% of the total cost of the program, with a maximum of $1,500 per academic year. Similarly, Rhode Island Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence offers a tuition assistance program for nurses and other allied health professionals. This program gives full-time employees full reimbursement of tuition costs, up to $2,500 per calendar year, for job-related courses that fulfill a degree requirement.
Contact your employer’s human resources office for more information on financial incentives you may be eligible for when advancing your education.