Paths to Nursing (Undergraduate)
There are many paths of entry into professional nursing! Which is the right path for you?
As an undergraduate, you have the flexibility to determine what your path into nursing will look like. The three paths of entry into nursing include the LPN, RN-ADN, and RN-BSN. The major difference between these three is the scope of practice and opportunities for employment.
My path to nursing was a little different than most. I was an LPN in high school then did an LPN to RN associate degree program. Afterwards I completed an RN to BSN program. It seems like a lot but honestly I really completed all in like 3 1/2 years (minus my breaks).
One thing to remember: not one of these programs is better than the other. Your path and career in nursing is determined by what your ultimate goals or as a professional. I was an LPN so I don’t stand for LPN hate! LPNs are nurses, period. As a matter of fact, some of the best things I’ve learned and that I still carry with me today as a professional, I learned by being an LPN and from LPNs I know many people who have been content spending their career as LPNs or as RNs with an associates degree. However, there are more opportunities the more you advance in nursing. Further, for RNs, due to initiatives such as BSN in 10, getting a BSN may no longer be a choice. At the end of the day, you are the person determines what is right for you and your growth.
Nurse fam, what was your path into nursing like? What questions or advice would you give to potential nurses?
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Curriculum: LPN programs generally include one year of coursework and practical application at a hospital, vocational technical school or community college. Afterwards you must take and pass the NCLEX PN exam.
HESI, TEAS, ATI, NLN entrance exam
Standard coursework in an LPN program—in addition to supervised clinical practice in patient care—includes:
Enter the workforce quicker
Easy to find entry level positions
Can further your education easily (through LPN to RN bridge programs) while making a great salary
Curriculum: An associate’s degree in nursing typically requires 18 to 24 months of study and is offered by community colleges, and technical and vocational schools across the country. The curriculum and degree requirements are designed to prepare you to take the NCLEX and become licensed as a registered nurse in a relatively fast period of time.
GPA: 2.5-3.0 and above
HESI/TEAS entrance exam
Anatomy and Physiology.
Able to gain nursing experience
Begin making money sooner
Curriculum: Nurses who graduate with a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree are equipped with the educational and experiential foundation to provide registered nursing care in numerous settings and the base on which to build a career through graduate-level study. A BSN-level education is recognized for transcending traditional areas of study to enable nursing students to gain a deeper understanding of disease prevention and health promotion that will lead to roles in advanced practice nursing, administration, and leadership.
GPA: 2.5-3.0 and above
Work Experience Recommended
Volunteer Experience Recommended
Entrance Exams: HESI, TEAS etc.
Better job prospects (employers prefer/ may eventually require BSN degree)
Knowledge of theory and clinical application in nursing
Opportunities for advancement as a leader/grad student
Higher salary than ADN nurses