Looking for guidance on how to become a registered nurse? An RN bridge plan is a blueprint that shows how to get from point A to point B, mapping out all the classes you’ll need to earn your degree. Knowing how to plan for college makes all the steps along the way much easier, so let’s explore how college planning sets you up for success in your nursing education.
What does bridge for college mean?
College bridge programs help “bridge” the gap for students with challenges preventing their academic success. Rather than letting barriers such as cost, scheduling, and beyond stand in the way, bridge programs face these issues head on and offer additional support as needed.
There are many different college bridge programs, but some common features include:
- Mentorship and guidance
- Access to educational tools and resources
- Flexible class schedules
- Modified coursework loads
- College planning and advice
- Peer community
What is an RN bridge program?
An RN bridge program is for healthcare professionals looking to become a registered nurse. CNAs, LPNs, medical assistants, and others who want to advance their education can move forward in a structure specifically designed for their needs.
With an RN bridge program, you’ll find solutions that address your:
- Schedule: Nurses work hectic shifts while also having to balance personal or family responsibilities. A nursing bridge takes busy work schedules into consideration, offering a wide variety of class times.
- Budget: Affording college can cause a lot of financial strain for nurses, so many bridge programs break up payments into more manageable sums.
- Confidence: Many nurses have been out of school for a long time and worry about jumping back into a classroom setting. RN bridge programs present curriculum in more supportive ways than traditional formats.
How does an RN bridge plan work?
When starting an RN bridge program, it helps to have a plan.
An RN bridge plan maps out the path to your degree. It acts as a blueprint for everything you’ll need to do to finish your degree.
An RN bridge plan will include:
- Choice of college: The right school for your goals.
- Core RN classes: Major course curriculum.
- Prerequisite classes: Foundational classes that proceed core coursework.
- Transferable credits: Any past earned credits that can be applied.
- Test out options: Solutions for earning credits in less time.
This detailed document is created by an education advisor who understands the ins and outs of nursing school. Their deep understanding of the different degrees, programs, and time-saving alternatives makes planning easy. When you work with an advisor, you won’t have to worry about:
- Choosing the wrong nursing program
- Knowing which classes to take
- Skipping prerequisites before core courses
- Not applying transferable credits
Can you create an RN bridge plan on your own? Technically yes, but it would take considerable time and research to accurately nail down all your degree requirements including schools, classes, and more. Plus, advisors can guide towards lesser known education paths such as credit by exam, which allows you to test out of prerequisite courses and save time.
Going to college without a plan
Busy CNAs and LPNs are often nervous about going back to school. Being out of the classroom for many years leads to fear and confusion about how to jump back in successfully.
Going to college without a plan is like starting a road trip without a map: you may find your destination eventually, but it’s a lot easier with directions.
Having a plan will help you:
- Anticipate what’s ahead
- Budget your time and finances
- Confidently move forward
Sometimes the hardest part of starting something new is simply not knowing what’s to come. An RN bridge plan clarifies every step so there are no surprises.
College planning for nursing
The first step in creating a college plan for nursing is defining your goals. What are you hoping to get out of your career long term? Do you see yourself moving into a leadership role or healthcare specialty? Are you interested in pursuing a master's degree or advanced certifications? Take time to figure out your priorities so you can chart your course.
Answering these questions will help you narrow down which RN degree type is best for you:
- Associate degree in nursing (ADN): This two-year degree allows healthcare professionals to earn an RN and learn the basic skills of a nurse.
- Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN): A BSN is a step higher than an ADN. This four-year degree provides more in-depth knowledge and training, and allows students to eventually pursue more education and advanced roles if desired.
College planning help with Achieve
If you need help planning for nursing school, Achieve Test Prep can create a custom RN Bridge Plan based on your needs and goals. Our experienced, caring advisors will help you visualize your career objectives and the best way to get there, including the right school, courses, and everything you need along the way. We’ve helped thousands of busy healthcare professionals take the next step in their careers; we can do the same for you.
Start your RN Bridge Plan today to make the first step in your RN goals!