Nurse Training Archive

Nurse Training

Nurse training is offered in a variety of formats for new entrants to the field. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic, the need for nurses will expand by 22 percent through 2018, with an additional 600,000 nurses needed to replace the thousands that are retiring or leaving the profession. In short, there has never been a better time to become a nurse. Due to the nursing shortage there are now a variety of nurse training options available to those who are seeking to begin a a first or second career within the nursing field.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) Training/ Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) Training

In the states of California and Texas, a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) is what they call the nurses who perform the roles of a Licensed Practical Nurse. Therefore, Licensed Vocational Nurse training and LPN training is very similar. I will therefore discuss the required training for types of nursing together.

Most LPN/LVN nurse training programs take one year to complete and are offered by hospitals, private vocational schools, as well as community colleges. You will most often need a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED) to gain admission to these programs. Once you complete licensed practical nurse training you will need to pass the National Certification Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) administered by the National Council of Stage Boards of Nursing (NCBN)  national certification to obtain licensure to practice in all States and the District of Columbia.

Licensed practical nurses provide hands-on patient care for both acute and chronic conditions under the supervision of registered nurses (RN) and physicians. Starting your nursing career as an LPN is a great stepping stone to becoming a registered nurse (RN). You may also be able to have at least part of your education paid for by your employer provided you agree to remain with the facility for a certain time period following graduation.


Registered Nurse Training

There are four nurse training options for those seeking to become registered nurses:


Diploma Programs in Nursing: Diploma programs are offered in hospital settings and place on emphasis on practical nurse skills and knowledge rather than nursing theory. However, some diploma program are offered in conjunction with community colleges so that students will be able to take coursework in the history and theory of nursing practice. Most programs required a high school diploma or GED for admission and take from two to three years for completion. You will also need to pass a national certification examination to obtain you registered nurse (RN) license.

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN): Associate degree nurse training programs are offered in community and junior colleges. It will take two years to complete this degree if you meet all course prerequisites (typically anatomy and physiology, microbiology, chemistry, statistics, and behavioral science). Should you need to take prerequisite course, it can take from three to four years to complete the associate’s in nursing degree.

Upon completion of the ADN, also known as Associate in Science (AS) or Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree you will be eligible for RN licensure once you pass the national certification examination.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): A BSN is the degree of choice among most healthcare employers.  It takes about the same amount of time to complete a BSN program as it would an ADN program if you need to take course prerequisites. In general, it will take four years to complete the BSN program with the first two years devoted to liberal arts coursework and the remaining two years focused on nursing studies.

Accelerated nurse training programs (aka “bridge programs” or “direct entry programs”): These programs have been designed in response to the serious nursing shortage as they provide a fast-track into a nursing career for those with bachelor degree in non-nursing fields. Accelerated programs are offered within traditional classroom settings as well as via distance learning programs and there are now over 200 accelerated programs available in both formats.

In accelerated nursing programs credit will be given for the liberal arts portion of your first bachelor’s degree. The structure of the program is such that you will also not have semester breaks but attend school year-round with a heavier course load per semester than students in traditional nurse training programs. It will generally take about two to two-and-a-half years to obtain the BSN degree in an accelerated program. However, if your first bachelor’s degree is in a science field (e.g. biology or chemistry) you will also be eligible to have this coursework waived as well so that you may be able to complete the accelerated program at an even faster pace, perhaps within a 12 to 18 month period.

Traditionally-paced nurse training programs. These programs are also targeted toward those holding a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field but coursework is presented in a traditional format with semester breaks and lighter course loads than in accelerated programs. It will typically take about three years to complete traditionally-based programs since you will still be provided with credit for prior liberal arts coursework. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a science field, you will be able to complete the program in about two or two-and-a-half years.

Masters Degree Accelerated Nursing Programs (MSN): An accelerated master’s degree in nursing program provides the opportunity for bachelor’s degree holders in non-nursing fields to obtain nurse training to become registered nurses. The structure of an accelerated master’s degree is very similar to that of accelerated bachelor degree programs in that these programs also offer coursework on a intensive schedule with no semester breaks. 

Students will be eligible for admission to master’s level study once they have satisfactorily completed nursing foundation classes and course prerequisites (as listed under accelerated bachelor’s programs above). Accelerated nursing programs can be completed in two years to two-and-a-half years if you satisfy course prerequisites upon entry. It is possible to be accepted into accelerated master’s programs even if you haven’t taken prerequisite classes but you must satisfactorily complete these courses before being able to begin nursing study. Even should you need to take foundation and prerequisite coursework, you may still be able to complete the accelerated program in less than three years. Students may also work as registered nurses (RN) while completing their master’s degree (although this will lengthen the time needed to complete the degree).

Upon satisfactorily completing the nursing foundation courses in all nurse training programs, students may apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination for practical nurses (NCLEX-PN) or registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). The test is administered by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing and is recognized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Financial Aid for Nurse Training Programs

Financial aid opportunities are plentiful for nursing students including grants and scholarships (which do not have to be paid back) and government loans (with low interest rates) and private lender funding. For those working within the healthcare field, you may also be eligible to have a good portion of your education paid for by your employer provided you are willing to remain with the facility for a certain period of time upon graduation (usually one year for each year of aid received). The process starts with the filing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which will determine your eligibility for various financial aid programs. These forms will be available from the financial aid office of the school you wish to attend.

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