For licensed vocational nurses who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for registered nurse positions, accelerated LVN to BSN programs in Texas may provide a great option to obtain the degree in a limited amount of time. Employers in all types of health care settings are increasingly demanding that entry level nurses possess n bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) as opposed to a diploma or associate’s degree. Graduates of bachelor degree programs are eligible to obtain nursing positions that offer increasing level of patient care responsibilities, along with higher salaries.
Overview of LVN to BSN Programs
LVN to BSN programs (commonly referred to as “bridge” degree programs) provide the opportunity for LVNs to apply directly to bachelor-level programs without first having to obtain an associate degree in nursing (ASN). In contrast to associate degree programs which focus on basic nursing care, bachelor- level study will place greater focus on advanced nursing practice, as well as provide a foundation in nursing theory and management principles. The inclusion of management coursework recognizes that many graduates of BSN programs will advance into supervisory and management positions.
There are two main reasons that LVN to BSN programs are considered to be accelerated. The first is that applicants are expected to have taken basic science prerequisite coursework and to have accrued relevant work experience. In each instance, students may be eligible for transfer credit that will reduce the number of credits for the BSN degree. The second reason these programs are accelerated is that students will be required to carry a heavier course load per semester than are students in traditional BSN degree programs. While full-time students may complete the accelerated LVN to BSN program within three years, it can take working nurses attending on a part-time basis up to four years to finish the degree.
Licensing and Advanced Education
Upon graduation from LVN to BSN students may sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) administered by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN.org).
Applicants to LVN to BSN programs in Texas must possess a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED), along with a valid and unrestricted LVN license. Additional entrance requirements typically include a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher from your LVN diploma program, along with letters of recommendation. It is also expected that applicants will have satisfactorily completed certain science prerequisites prior to beginning bachelor’s study. These classes include anatomy and physiology, microbiology, chemistry, clinical pharmacology, as well as ethical issues in nursing practice. Many LVN to BSN programs in Texas also require applicants to submit scores from either the ACT or SAT.
LVN-to-BSN Program Curriculum
As noted, it is expect that students will have completed certain science prerequisite coursework prior to entry into the bachelor’s program. Bachelor’s programs provide intensive study in advanced nursing care, health assessment and treatment planning, as well as management principles. Core coursework typically includes:
- Biochemistry and organic chemistry I and II
- Nursing theory and advanced practice
- Health assessment and treatment planning
- Pediatric and adult nursing
- Family medicine
- Nursing management theory and principles
- Statistics in health care
- Advanced medical terminology
- Patient and family communication
The hands-on, clinical part of the bachelor’s degree will provide students the opportunity to perform RN-level nursing responsibilities in a variety of healthcare settings such as medical and rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, private doctor offices, and nursing facilities.
LVN-BSN programs are offered in either campus-based or online formats. Students electing to attend online are still required to complete a practicum in nursing care within a local health care facility or agency.
Many graduates of LPN to BSN programs choose to advance their education by pursuing a master’s degree in a specific area of nursing. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs prepare graduates to assume positions as advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse mid-wives, etc.) and assume senior management roles.
Choosing a LVN to BSN Program
When researching LVN-BSN programs in Texas you want to make sure they have received accreditation from the National League of Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The U.S. Department of Education recognizes both agencies as official accreditation bodies for nursing education at the diploma, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate levels.
Graduating from an accredited LPN to BSN program ensures that your degree will be accepted by your State Board of Nursing which will issue your registered nurse (RN) license.
Accredited LVN to BSN programs in Texas as per the American Association of Colleges of Nursing:
Prairie View A&M University
Southwestern Adventist University
Tarleton State University
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
University of Texas at El Paso
University of Texas at Tyler
Wayland Baptist University at San Antonio
West Texas A & M University
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it is expected that the growth rate of nurses will reach 22 percent through the year 2018. This rate represents the need for nearly 590,000 nurses in all areas of the country due to the continuing aging of the population, the serious doctor shortage, as well as to replace those nurses who retire.
Graduates of Texas LVN to BSN programs are may accept a diverse range of nursing jobs within various areas of specialization, to include pediatric and adult care, gerontology (elder care), women’s health, oncology (cancer-care), and intensive care.
Common employers with median salary ranges (as per BLS) are:
- Corporate health offices $68,160
- Private physician offices $67,290
- Medical and surgical hospitals $63,880
- Home health agencies $63,300
- Nursing facilities $59,320
It is important to note that the above figures represent median salaries and that actual earnings depend on geographic location, with urban areas paying higher salaries than rural, specific job title (nurses within emergency and intensive care departments tend to earn higher salaries than nurses in pediatric care or family medicine), along with any certifications held.
LVN to BSN Programs in Texas – Selected Reviews
West Texas A & M University:
West Texas A & M University is located in Canyon, Texas, approximately 15 miles south of Amarillo. West Texas A & M University offers BSN nursing programs including the Major in Nursing – Licensed Vocational Nurse Degree Completion (Major Code 713). This program offers licensed vocational nurses the ability to earn credit for nursing skills and for previous education and work experience. The program offers a reduced BSN degree to those who prove their skills. This advanced standing is available to LVN students who currently hold a nursing license. All students, including LVN students, must take a pre-admission exam. Refer to the Advanced Placement and Credit by Examination section of the catalog.
Tarleton State University:
Tarleton State University is located in Killeen, Texas. The School of Nursing at TSU offers an excellent nursing program with various BSN degrees available. TSU is accredited by the Board of Nursing for the State of Texas as well as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). TSU offers bridge programs that provide LVN nursing students with credit for their prior education and work experience. The BSN program is shortened for these students. LVN students must have a current nursing license in order to qualify for the program.
Houston Baptist University:
Houston Baptist University School of Nursing and Allied Health offers a LVN to BSN challenge program. The program is designed to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing to LVNs who qualify. The challenge process evaluates the student’s knowledge, skills, and clinical abilities to validate the nurse’s previous knowledge and competency in nursing. Students must meet the university and nursing school program requirements in order to graduate. The challenge allows LVNs the ability to use their skills to proficiency out of certain courses. This reduces the length of time that the BSN program would normally last. Students must pass checkpoints in order to graduate.
Angelo State University
The Angelo State University Department of Nursing in San Angelo, Texas, offers many nursing degrees including the LVN to BSN program. The program is designed to streamline the BSN degree by giving credit to LVNs with clinical nursing experience. It allows students to complete upper-level core nursing courses in a little as 12 months. Nursing students have access to the high-fidelity simulation laboratory, a high-tech nursing lab that simulates real-world settings to allow students to practice and learn nursing techniques.
University of Texas
The University of Texas in Tyler has a strong nursing program. The LVN to BSN track offers licensed vocational nurses a program to obtain their BSN degree in a shorter time period. The program offers a combination of clinical and classroom study. After graduation, students are prepared to take the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed. The LVN program gives advanced placement credit for clinical experience to nurses. The accelerated program allows LVN to BSN in three years.