The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) formed a committee to study and report on the Future of Nursing.  In 2010, the committee released

The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report.  One of the key messages is that :

  • Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression…

AAOHN endorses this report and advocates that education should include opportuni­ties for seamless transition into higher degree programs—from licensed practical nurse (LPN)/licensed vocational nurse (LVN) diplomas; to the associate’s (ADN) and bachelor’s (BSN) degrees; to master’s, PhD, and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees.

RN to BSN

There are over 600 RN to BSN programs available nationwide, including more than 400 offered at least partially online. RN to Baccalaureate (BSN, BS or Bachelor of Science in Nursing) programs provide an efficient bridge for diploma and ADN-prepared nurses who wish to develop stronger clinical reasoning and analytical skills to advance their careers. RN to BSN programs build on initial nursing preparation with course work to enhance professional development, prepare for a broader scope of practice, and provide a better understanding of the cultural, political, economic, and social issues that affect patients and influence care delivery. Click here for the list of RN to Baccalaureate programs

Diploma and Associate to Masters

There are more than 170 programs available nationwide to transition RNs with diplomas and associate degrees to the master’s degree level (MSN, MS or Master of Science in Nursing degree). These programs prepare nurses to assume positions requiring graduate preparation, including roles in administration, teaching, research, and as Clinical Nurse Leaders. The list of RN to MSN programs is available on the AACN Web site athttp://www.aacn.nche.edu/research-data/RNMSN.pdf 

LPN to RN

There are approximately 150 LPN to BSN programs. View the list at  http://www.aacn.nche.edu/research-data/LPNBSN.pdf. 

PhD, DNS, and DNP

For nurses looking to assume leadership positions, advanced faculty appointments, and specialist roles, a doctorate is the appropriate credential. Today’s nursing student can choose from doctoral programs focused on either research (PhD, DNS) or practice (Doctor of Nursing Practice or DNP). 

The Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. DNP-prepared nurses are well-equipped to fully implement the science developed by nurse researchers prepared in PhD, DNSc, and other research-focused nursing doctorates. More than 150 DNP programs are currently enrolling students at schools of nursing nationwide, and more are in the planning stages.  Click here for a list of DNP Programs by state.

PhD and DNS programs can be found at: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/research-data/DOC.pdf.

Accelerated Programs

Many schools of nursing offer accelerated programming for a fast-track to advanced education or a second degree.  For more information, but not an exclusive list click here: http://www.aacn.nche.edu/publications/issue-bulletin-accelerated-programs.