Your LPN license has served you well, but thoughts of becoming an RN and earning your BSN in the process have been on your mind. And why not? Better earning power, more and varied professional opportunities, both in and out of the clinical setting, and a chance to take on nursing leadership and management roles… just a few of the perks that come with holding a BSN alongside your RN license.
Plus, times are changing in Wyoming, and that means new demands and expectations in the healthcare industry. As a member of the healthcare workforce here, it may be time to change, too, if you want to remain competitive.
With a swiftly aging workforce, Wyoming is just one of many states in the U.S. that’s been contending with a nursing shortage as Baby Boomers begin to retire. As a rural state with 26 hospitals scattered throughout, maintaining a strong and capable nursing workforce has been even more of a challenge here than in other states. Wyoming legislature has been proactive in rising to the challenge, funding scholarships and joining the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), which allows licensed nurses from neighboring states to provide nursing care in Wyoming without obtaining a separate license.
And while Wyoming is in need of nurses in general, it’s the BSN-prepared RN that’s of particular value to employers. Strong evidence showing better patient outcomes and reduced rates of mortality, infection and re-admittance linked to a higher proportion of BSN-educated nurses on staff has prompted many healthcare employers in Wyoming to both seek out BSN nurses to fill positions and encourage existing nursing staff to upgrade their credentials by enrolling in post-licensure BSN programs.
Many colleges here are doing their part to produce more BSN nurses by streamlining nursing education and simplifying the process of earning a BSN. For example, the University of Wyoming has been working with the state’s community colleges to allow associate nurses to transition to a BSN by creating a uniform nursing curriculum.
And for licensed LPNs like you, a growing number of colleges and universities have begun offering LPN-to-BSN programs, a specially designed track that allows you to earn your RN and BSN in a unique, streamlined format that takes into consideration your previous education and experience. Plus, many of these programs are offered in a partially or fully online format, allowing you to tackle the coursework whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for you. Online programs allow practicing LPNs like you to return to school and earn a bachelor’s, regardless of personal and professional obligations and geographical limitations.
Getting Into an LPN to BSN Program, and What to Expect Once You’re Accepted
LPN-BSN programs are designed specifically for practical nurses, so a current and valid LPN license is required for admission. Some programs have clearly stated experience requirements, outlining the number of years in practice you’ll need to be accepted into the program.
LPN-BSN programs consist of coursework and practical experiences that prepares you to become a generalist practitioner who can work with diverse patient populations in a variety of different settings. However, unlike pre-licensure BSN programs, which involve 120 credits taken over the course of four years, you may be able to complete an LPN-BSN program in as little as three years, thanks to the transfer of credits granted on the basis of your past experience and education.
While all programs provide students with advanced standing for their previous education and experience, the number of credits transferred and the specific transfer requirements tend to vary quite a bit from one program to the next. In most cases, you’ll need to either transfer specific courses from your LPN program or take a general skills assessment to determine if you’re able to receive credit for some courses. Most programs allow for the transfer of between 10-30 credits.
LPN-BSN programs consist of prerequisite courses, followed by the BSN core, which includes both courses and clinical experiences.
You’ll first complete about 50-60 prerequisite credits through courses like:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- English Composition
- Public Speaking
The BSN core includes courses like:
- Basic Health Assessment
- Adult Health
- Maternal-Newborn Care
- Population and Global Health
- Nursing Leadership and Management
Clinical experiences are an important part of an LPN-BSN program. Whether you complete a campus-based or online LPN-BSN program, you’ll complete the required clinical rotations at approved sites in your area. This often means being able to complete many of the required hours with your current employer.
Just a few of the clinical sites in Wyoming that maintain agreements with local colleges and online schools based in other states include:
- Wyoming State Hospital, Evanston
- Ivinson Memorial Hospital, Laramie
- Hot Springs County Memorial Hospital, Thermopolis
- Sheridan Memorial Hospital, Sheridan
- Campbell County Memorial Hospital, Gillette
- Johnson County Healthcare Center, Buffalo
- Cody Regional Health, Cody
How to Get Your RN License Through the Wyoming State BON Once You’ve Earned Your BSN
After graduating from an LPN-BSN program, apply for your RN license by completing the RN Application for Licensure through the Wyoming State Board of Nursing. Have your official transcripts sent directly from the nursing school. You’ll then register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX-RN. Once the Board approves your application, you’ll schedule an appointment to take the NCLEX-RN at a Pearson testing center near you.
You’ll receive your Wyoming RN license after passing the NCLEX-RN.
Employers in Wyoming Are Stepping In To Help Pay for LPNs to Go Back to School
You may be surprised to learn that your current healthcare employer may have the solution to offsetting some of the costs associated with earning your BSN en route to becoming an RN. In fact, you may be eligible for tuition reimbursement as part of your standard benefits package.
For example, Wyoming Medical Center in Casper offers financial assistance for preapproved courses of study, while Powell Valley Healthcare offers an Educational Cost Reimbursement Program that includes reimbursement of 50% (up to $5,000 per year) for preapproved courses.
Contact your employer’s human resources office to learn more about financial incentives that may be available to you as you return to school to earn your RN and BSN.