GOING FROM CNA TO RN: A LIFE-CHANGING DECISION
Becoming a certified nursing assistant is the initial step that you can take to become a nurse and get yourself into the healthcare profession.
Many people begin with this program since it is the least time-consuming and most pocket-friendly way to set one’s foot in nursing.
Some individuals are not able to become registered nurses right after finishing high school due to different financial and family issues so they opt to become certified nursing assistants in the first place.
After becoming a CNA, some nurses might want to go further in their career and become an RN to enjoy benefits and better involvement in the healthcare system.
CNA to RN Programs in Florida are the best possible career options for new aspiring RNs in Florida who are already pursuing their career as a CNA.
Let’s get a sneak peek at what you can expect when you are planning to transition your career. Furthermore, I will also provide you with a list of colleges where you can apply to this kind of bridge program.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CNA AND AN RN?
The first thing that must come into your mind before transitioning your career is what’s the difference between a CNA and an RN?
Certified Nursing Assistants or CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants or CNAs are considered the frontline worker in inpatient care.
The certification is obtained with quick and local training. Most nurses opt for this program to start working quickly and make their worth in a hospital or nursing home.
Following are a few responsibilities of a CNA:
- Make patient’s bed
- Serve meals to a patient
- Clean the patient room
- Check vital signs of the patient
Registered Nurse or RN
A registered nurse or RN has more responsibility and authority than a CNA. RNs are assisted by CNAs in performing their duties, they are the ones who assign a CNA with different tasks.
To become an RN includes higher studies and greater credit hours. An RN typically requires 4 years of nursing education.
Below are the few responsibilities of an RN
- Help to perform a diagnostic test
- Prevent the spread of infections
- Help to analyze test results
- Maintain medical history record
- Observe patient symptoms
When you become an RN there are better chances of growth in the career and options for specialization including oncology, neonatal, pediatrics, surgical, and many more.
HOW CAN I TRANSITION FROM CNA TO RN?
CNAs can perform a few tasks similar to that of a registered nurse but being an RN requires more education, training, and clinical experience.
RNs are assigned with advanced patient responsibilities and nursing care.
Below are the different programs that you can choose to revolutionize your career.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN)
If you are looking for higher education in nursing and want a detailed explanation of every query you have in mind regarding patient care, then you can go for this program.
This degree will help you secure a good position in your job and a higher salary package.
The BSN degree requires 4 years of nursing school with 8 semesters of studying.
The cost of this degree is higher than a CNA program but in the end, it is all worth it since you will get a ton of benefits and advantages over a CNA program.
When you go out looking for a job as a registered nurse, most hospitals and health care centers prefer RNs having a BSN degree.
When you become an RN after earning a BSN degree, then you will have more worth in the healthcare profession, this will lead you to greater job opportunities, better annual income and you will have more chances of career development and job growth.
Accelerated Bachelor of Science in the nursing degree program
You can opt for this program if you already hold a bachelor’s in any other subject related to nursing.
The accelerated BSN program requires study for 12 months and you can become an RN quickly.
One can also enroll in the online program if one can not manage to be physically available in the classroom for the whole day.
With this, you can easily manage your studies and job both at the same time.
CNA to RN bridge program
When you want to transfer your career and start working as a registered nurse yet you don’t want to start from scratch, then the bridge program is perfect for you.
One can change their career from CNA to RN through bridge programs, in which the courses already taken in the CNA program are converted to RN program and you can study the rest of it in the bridge program.
CNA to RN bridge program is shorter in length and it’s more affordable than doing an RN program directly.
With a CNA to RN bridge program, one can earn an associate degree in nursing (ADN).
This only requires a year of studying with nursing training since you have already taken training in the CNA program, so the completion time of this degree is reduced.
The clinical hours required for the completion of the bridge program are higher than those required for a BSN degree, so with this program, the nurse can get even better exposure to clinical and patients
Furthermore, you can continue working as a CNA and still complete the RN bridge program and manage your studies and work simultaneously.
After meeting all the educational requirements for the RN program, you now have to appear for the RN licensing exam which is the NCLEX-RN to get your RN license.
You must complete all the documentation and clear the exam to receive your RN license, only then you will be considered a registered nurse.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BSN PROGRAM AND A BRIDGE PROGRAM
Are you still confused about whether you should choose a BSN program or a bridge program?
I’m here to tell you about the difference between the two so you can choose whatever suits you best.
- Requires you to retake the courses you have already covered in the CNA program
- Requires 4 years of study
- More expensive than a bridge program
- Less clinical exposure as compared to the bridge program
- Don’t require to retake the courses you have already covered in the CNA program, instead, your credit hours are transferred to the bridge program
- Requires 1-2 years of study
- More affordable than a BSN program
- More clinical exposure as compared to the BSN program
My advice, choose the CNA to RN bridge program! You can become an RN in no time and start practicing as a nurse immediately.
If you choose any of the two programs, you’ll be considered an RN, so why not choose a more effective way!
WHY SHOULD YOU CHOOSE THE CNA TO RN BRIDGE PROGRAM?
When transitioning from CNA to RN, the best program you can choose is CNA to RN bridge program.
A typical RN program will take at least 4 years to complete and you’ll be required to start your nursing education from scratch.
While here you don’t have to repeat the courses that you have already covered in the CNA program and you can become an RN within a year or two.
So, the time required to complete your course is reduced.
With the bridge program, a CNA can attain first-hand experience with bedside critical patients and deal with them.
The clinical exposure you need to become an RN is increased and you can become an expert in no time.
BENEFITS OF TAKING A CNA TO RN BRIDGE PROGRAM
Due to the fact that a CNA to RN bridge program is needed to bridge the skills gap between a CNA and RN, hence it is called the ladder program as well.
In this type of program, you get extra credit for working professionally as CNA.
Following are the few benefits of choosing the CNA to RN bridge program:
- More clinical interaction and hospital exposure
- Low cost of studies
- Fast track your associate’s degree
- The time required to become RN is reduced by half
- Get to learn patient skills efficiently
CNA TO RN PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
You need to fulfill certain requirements to get enrolled in a bridge program.
How about I inform you about them right now so you can collect your documents and apply for the program easily. Following are the few documents required:
- A high school or GED diploma
- Your SAT or ACT score result
- Your certificate of CNA training program
- Professional working experience as CNA
CURRICULUM OF CNA TO RN BRIDGE PROGRAM
Although you have studied a lot in your previous CNA program, you still have to repeat a few courses to study them in-depth.
You are required to focus on advanced nursing skills rather than staying stuck on the basic fundamentals of nursing.
A registered nurse is expected to put forward a nursing diagnosis, implement the treatment plan and assess the patient’s condition; this can only be practiced in a bridge program.
The curriculum of the CNA to RN bridge program for theory includes:
- Population-specific care
- Physical assessment
- Nursing care plans
NURSING WORK STUDIES IN CNA TO RN BRIDGE PROGRAM
Your main aim to become a registered nurse is to implement the nursing knowledge and procedures when you are taking care of the patient, this can only be mastered by a lot of practice and continuity.
Following are the courses and duties of an RN that you have to study in a bridge program:
- Vital signs
- Pediatric care
- Personal care
- Special care
- Geriatric care
- Medical terminologies
- Patient hygiene
- Different disordered patient care
CNA TO RN BRIDGE PROGRAM COST
I know we all want to get enrolled in a program that gives us an opportunity for better career development yet we want the program to be cost-effective.
The cost of a bridge program depends on many things including the school which you are choosing, your state and city of study, the length of the program, etc.
Since the cost of the program varies greatly, you can expect a total cost of the program ranging from low thousands to more than $10,000 annually.
The cost of the program greatly depends on the nursing school you are choosing. If you choose a private nursing college/University then it will cost you higher than a public college/University.
If you want to spend less money on your program then try choosing a community college since it is more affordable than a 4-year university. Additional cost for the study includes the expenses of transportation, books, living expenses, and taxes.
HOW TO PAY FOR YOUR RN BRIDGE PROGRAM?
As I have mentioned earlier, this bridge program is cheaper than an RN program but it doesn’t mean that it’ll cost any less than $3000 to $10,000.
You must work strategically to decide how you can pay for your education along with working.
- The best option you can choose is to consider applying for a student loan
- Look for the universities that give scholarships or grant financial assistance
- Look for a job that provides tuition assistance or they have availability of reimbursement
- You can even pay for your program in installments instead of the lump sum for the whole semester
You can even freeze your semester if you do not have the required amount for your fee and then continue the semester whenever the amount is available.
DIFFERENT COLLEGES OFFERING CNA TO RN PROGRAMS IN FLORIDA
Below is the list of different colleges offering CNA to RN programs in Florida.
1. Cambridge College of Healthcare and Technology
It is a public college offering top training for employment in healthcare sectors for various nurses. The faculty here is considered one of the best and also guides their students to pursue their careers in the best manner possible.
The instructors create an atmosphere of good learning and practical work so the students can enjoy learning and behave in a disciplined manner. The college has a huge emphasis on patient handling and dealing to help the RN students to get the most out of their careers.
The Cambridge college of healthcare and technology focuses that the students work on establishing and maintaining appropriate therapeutic relationships with patients and help them get better.
2. International College of Health Sciences
International college of health sciences is a very well-known college offering CNA to RN bridge program along with other nursing programs in Florida.
The main aim of this college is that the students ace and learn different nursing skills in a productive and peaceful environment. The college focuses on externship nursing training for the bridge program to ensure the students are getting first-hand experience in dealing with patients.
The college promises its students to think critically in difficult situations to save the patient.
3. Azure College of Nursing
Azure college of nursing is a nursing college offering many different nursing degree programs, one of which is the CNA to RN bridge program.
The curriculum of the bridge program at azure college of nursing consists of a total of 180 credit hours of study. You must possess an associate degree in nursing from a nursing program approved by the board of nursing to get enrolled in Azure College of nursing.
The main focus of the faculty here is to work on interpersonal communication so you will not face any difficulties while approaching the patient and vice versa.
Leadership and management skills are also taught in this program so you can take over the hospital duties easily.
NATIONAL COUNCIL LICENSURE EXAMINATION
Whenever one aims to acquire an associate degree with the help of a bridge program they have to clear a certain examination. In the case of the CNA to RN bridge program, aspiring RNs have to give the NCLEX-RN examination or National Council Licensure Examination for the registration nurse test. Based on the software used for the exam, the paper may contain 75 to 265 questions. Usually, students prepare for at least 3 to 6 months to give this exam and clear it.
Basic patient care is the main focus of the NCLEX-RN exam, but it may be categorized into the following:
- Psycho-social integrity
- Physiological integrity
- Maintenance and promotion of health
- Patient care environment with safe and effective procedures
REGISTERED NURSE CAREER OUTLOOK
RNs work in many outpatient and inpatient hospitals. Most employment areas for nurses are:
- Nursing facilities
- Outpatient care centers
- Physician offices
- Home health care services
RNs are in very high demand in many health care settings, it is predicted that the job growth ratio will rise up to 15% by 2026.
Since there is an increase in the elderly population and many new diseases are developing over time, there is a high chance of career growth for registered nurses.
Now that you have gathered all the information you need to transform your career and transition from CNA to RN, you must think wisely before taking this step since this requires great commitment and hard work.
You can enjoy different benefits if you are ready to make this change in your career which includes, high job security, more annual salary, better job growth potential, greater job opportunities, more schedule flexibility, and many more.
A future goal of many CNAs is becoming an RN! Many advantages are available for the nursing assistant to choose to pursue as an RN, but one needs to take the first step by applying to a bridge program.