Nursing Bridge Programs RN to MSN Vs LPN to BSN

nursing bridge programs

Nursing is one of the most respectable occupations in the healthcare industry. Unlike many other careers, nursing gives individuals the chance to help others every day and make a living. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for nurses is expected to grow at a faster than average rate in the coming years. With the employment prospects looking positive, many students are opting for nursing degrees.

One of the best things about nursing is the diversity of the sector. Nursing is a broad field that offers many different types of career opportunities to individuals. Once you become a registered nurse, you can progress in the field by pursuing advanced roles with further education and work experience.

As the competition increases, gaining a competitive edge has become necessary for many practicing nurses. Acquiring an advanced degree in nursing can help you qualify for better jobs, better income, and enhance your overall work experience in the field. You don’t have to worry about going back to college to get a degree; now you can get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing with the help of a bridge program which is designed to be completed in less than the regular time frame.

Why pursue a nursing bridge program?

It can be completed in a shorter period of time

  • The demand for nurses in expected to grow
  • More job openings are expected in the field
  • Employers are looking for nurses with advanced degrees
  • It instills leadership and research oriented skills
  • Advancement in the medical sector has pushed the need for better-educated nurses

RN to MSN vs. LPN to BSN

The two types of bridge programs being offered are:

  • LPN to BSN degree
  • RN to MSN degree

The LPN to BSN degree is designed for licensed practical nurses who wish to become RNs and acquire a baccalaureate degree in nursing. On the other hand, RN to MSN programs are geared towards preparing registered nursing for advanced practitioner roles in the field. Both programs aim towards helping nurses advance in the healthcare industry.

LPN to BSN Program

This program will equip nursing students with a comprehensive understanding of nursing practices in today’s multi-faceted healthcare environment. Students will undergo a thorough study of liberal arts and healthcare courses, and develop a strong skill set which goes beyond primary care and focuses on leadership and research.

Students will learn how to provide effective health care services to patients through hands-on training. Nowadays, nurses are required to be well-informed about technological advances in patient care delivery and research. The program will highlight important changes in the field and how social, environmental factors affect nursing practices.


The coursework of an LPN to BSN program may vary from college to college. Here are some important courses covered in the program:

  • Nursing research
  • Nursing of communities
  • Area studies and cultural diversity
  • Foundations of nursing practice
  • Health assessment
  • Pathophysiology for nurses
  • Nursing pharmacology
  • Mental health nursing

RN to MSN Program

This program is designed to help registered nurses acquire a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and progress in the field. Students can choose between a clinical MSN degree and a non-clinical MSN degree. The clinical path focuses on nursing practice whereas the non-clinical route focuses on nursing education, leadership, and nursing informatics.

The curriculum can be divided into theoretical and practical coursework. Students will broaden their knowledge of nursing practices and learn about different societal factors that are reshaping the industry.


Here are a few topics that may be covered in the program:

  • Community health nursing
  • Conceptual bases of professional practice
  • Applications of concepts, theories, and research
  • Social sciences
  • Biological sciences
  • Nursing statistics


Here are a few MSN concentrations being offered in various nursing schools:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)
  • Health Systems Management
  • Nursing Informatics
  • Nursing Education

Learning objectives

  1. Incorporate organizational and leadership theories in patient care systems
  2. Conduct research and incorporate evidence-based nursing practice in patient care
  3. Use different technologies to analyze health care data
  4. Understand the importance of effective communication in healthcare
  5. Understand the effects of policy making, regulatory systems, and finance in nursing practice
  6. Practically apply theories to promote healthcare and disease prevention
  7. Develop strategies to optimize healthcare delivery
  8. Assess and diagnose patients, and devise appropriate treatment plans

Why study online?

Juggling your nursing career and education can be a hassle in today’s fast-paced society. Thanks to distance education, you no longer have to sacrifice your social commitments in order to pursue higher education. Through online nursing programs, you can study theoretical courses from home, while attending campus only for lab work. This will help you save on unnecessary travelling and lodging costs.

Admission requirements

The admission requirements will vary from college to college. However, the general admission criteria for LPN to BSN and RN to MSN programs have been mentioned below:

  • LPN to BSN applicants should have:
  • The LPN license
  • Completed an accredited LPN nursing program
  • Minimum GPA of 2.5
  • Professional resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay

RN to MSN applicants should have:

  • Valid RN license
  • Completed all pre-requisite courses
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Minimum one-year clinical experience as an RN
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal essay and resume

What can you do with an LPN to BSN and an RN to MSN degree?

With a baccalaureate degree in nursing, you can take the NCLEX-RN licensing examination and become a registered nurse. As an RN, you can work in different healthcare settings such as hospitals, offices of physicians, and clinics. Your income level will depend on the state you live in, your work experience, and skill set. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses made a median annual income of $66,640 in 2014.

The career you can pursue with an MSN degree will basically depend on your specialization. Overall, your job duties will include assessing patients, developing treatment plans, educating patients, conducting research, and managing lower-level nurses.

Here are a few examples of nurse practitioner titles:

  • Nurse administrator
  • Nurse midwife
  • Family nurse practitioner

The income level will vary from job to job. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners made a median annual income of $95,350 in 2014.


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