|Program Levels||Licensed practical nurse (LPN) program|
|Field(s) of Study||Nursing|
|Prerequisites||CNA experience; drug test and background check; entrance exam and completion of required courses may be required|
|In-Person Requirements||Labs and clinical practice|
|Typical Course Topics||Anatomy, psychology, computer education, communication, and algebra|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
While the nursing field has traditionally offered only in-person courses, it is now possible for students to receive the training necessary to move from CNA (certified nursing assistant) to LPN (licensed practical nurse) positions via distance learning. Although online CNA to LPN bridge programs aren't specifically available, there are a few online practical nursing programs that may require applicants to be CNAs prior to admission. However, because most online practical nursing programs require students to complete some coursework and clinical practice on campus, LPN programs cannot be considered true online programs.
The most obvious requirement for CNA to LPN online courses is experience as a certified nursing assistant. However, nursing experience is just one of the many requirements to enter an online practical nursing program. Typically, interested students must successfully pass an entrance exam, a drug test, and background check. Finally, some schools may have a slate of prerequisite courses that must be completed before admission to an online LPN program can be granted.
Online Practical Nursing Courses
The following are descriptions of some commonly offered online course options in practical nursing programs.
Nursing Concepts: The heart of any online LPN program is a series of courses discussing nursing theories and concepts. These classes not only show future practical nurses how to treat patients, but also how to spot illnesses and communicate effectively with patients before, during, and after treatment.
Anatomy: Practical nursing requires a solid understanding of the different systems, tissues, and organs that make up the human body. For this reason, training in anatomy is part of all LPN online programs. Distance classes in anatomy are often taught through online lectures and in-person labs that allow students to receive hands-on anatomy training.
Psychology: Psychology classes help licensed practical nurses to better understand the behavior and thought processes of their patients. In addition, psychology can help students to become aware of contemporary social issues, which can be useful in treatment of, and communication with, patients.
Computer Education: As the world becomes more reliant upon computers and technology, practical nurses can also use computers to their advantage. Classes in computer education give future LPNs the tools to compile reports, calculate statistics, and search the Internet for information on diseases and treatment methods.
Communication: Communication with patients is almost as important for a practical nurse as the care he or she administers. Learning the basics of effective communication can increase patient satisfaction, assuage the fears of the patient's family, and enable nurses to work as an informed and cohesive unit. These communication skills can also help develop the leadership skills necessary in transitioning from CNA to LPN.
Algebra: In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of college-level algebra. Course topics will include, quadratic equations, graphing functions, logarithms, and other algebraic operations.