In June 2020, I graduated from LaGuardia Community College’s LPN to RN Advanced Standing Pathway. I first, became a Licensed Practical Nurse and then “bridged” over to become a Registered Nurse and graduated with my Associate of Science in Registered Nursing.
While studying for this program I was working full-time as an LPN at Bellevue Hospital. Balancing work, school and personal life was not always easy, but through time management, determination and sleepless nights, I was able to achieve my goals.
My final semester is when the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, and let’s just say I did not have a typical end to my program. Clinicals were canceled and moved to an online format, lectures were online, and exams were online. No pinning ceremony or celebrations. In fact, we are all still waiting for the college to mail us our graduation pins.
I took and passed the NCLEX in August of 2020 while they were under “COVID accommodations”, including a reduced number of questions, and reduced time allotted. The standards and difficulty to pass were still the same.
To add more to my plate, I was pregnant during this unprecedented time and ultimately gave birth to a beautiful, healthy, “pandemic” baby in September of 2020.
Here is my top advice for anyone looking to become a Registered Nurse at LaGuardia Community College.
Always check the LaGuardia website/Nursing department for the most accurate and up-to-date information. Here is what was required of me at the time of my application for the LPN to RN Advanced Standing Pathway program:
- Have a current LPN registration (licensure)
- Complete CUNY online admissions application to LaGuardia Community College
- Transfer or complete the clinical pre-requisite courses: ENG 101, SSY 101, SSY240, SCC110, SCB 203, SCB 204, SCB 260, and MAT 120 (As of Spring 2013).
- NOTE: SCN 195, Community Health is not a core requirement, but I would highly suggest you take it prior to starting the program to get it out of the way!
- Receive academic advisement to assure that the applicant meets the admission requirements of the Associate Degree Nursing Program (AAS Degree)
- Meet the requirements for the TEAS entrance exam by required date, check with the nursing department
- Upon completion of the pre-requisite courses, a GPA of 2.75 is the minimum requirement to apply for candidacy (LRN000.4799) for the LPN to RN Bridge course (SCR 100)
You will only be able to apply for the program twice. After you complete the prereqs, you must go to the C building and apply for candidacy. All you have to fill out one form and hand it in. Then on your transcript, you will see a code, that reflects which program you are applying for.
Sometime before they announce your candidacy, you will receive a letter in the mail telling you to go to the school on a specific date and time to pick up your candidacy letter. This must be done in person on that one specific date and time they tell you. You will get a sealed envelope stating if you were accepted into the program or not.
I am not sure how many students they accept, and there are rumors that they put the LaGuardia graduates as a “preference” to be accepted over outside applicants.
The bridge program at LaGuardia is getting more competitive as other colleges have shut down their LPN to RN programs. Additionally, LPNs are getting phased out of the workforce, so RNs are in higher demand.
You have to pay for whatever classes you take, at the cost of LaGuardia Community College credits.
Additionally, there are SEVERAL fees associated with being in the program and unfortunately, there is no way around them. Be prepared to pay for:
- Castle Branch – when you get accepted into the program, this is used to upload all your medical paperwork, vaccines, background check, and drug screening.
- ATI – throughout the program, you will use ATI. In each class you will take a proctored exam which is a percentage of your final grade. ATI is not cheap; it averages out to almost $200 a semester!
- Scrubs, shoes, stethoscope – You will have to buy the scrub top and bottom from a place the school uses. RNs wear dark blue pants and a white embroidered scrub top. You have to wear white sneakers during clinical and you must be prepared with a working stethoscope.
- Books – You can use the books in the library, rent, ebooks or buy used ones. I found that renting on Chegg was the best option, most cost-effective option for me.
If you don’t receive any financial aid, I would encourage you to apply for a scholarship. LaGuardia has some amazing opportunities to help you pay for your education and they are super easy to apply for. Right on your “My LaGuardia” home screen, to the right, you should see “apply for scholarships”.
The bridge program took 1 and a half years to complete and was made up of the following classes:
FALL I / SPRING I
SCR 100 LPN to RN Bridge Course, 3 credits
Do not think of this class as a review. It was an extremely hard class. You basically cover ALL topics briefly, including pharmacology and you are expected to already have a general understanding of the material. Lecture only, no lab or clinical.
SPRING I / FALL I
SCR 200 Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, 4 credits
The material in this class can be tricky. Make sure to do A LOT of practice questions to prepare. Lecture and lab and clinical 1 day a week*.
SCR 270 Parent-Child Nursing, 4 credits
An extremely challenging class for me. You learn all about the maternal development from the fetus to the teenage child, with many milestones to remember and detailed drugs. I love pediatrics and the clinical was by far my favorite. Lecture and lab and clinical 1 day a week*.
*These two classes split clinical. You will start out in one clinical, either psych or maternity/peds, then halfway through the semester, you switch to the opposite clinical. Also, this is the semester you blend in with the “generic RN” students. Meaning you join the students who were accepted directly into the RN program and do not have an LPN certificate.
FALL II / SPRING II
SCR 280 Leadership & Delegation, 2 credits
This was taken during the short semester and was mostly writing papers and a video presentation. Lecture only, no lab or clinical.
SCR 290 Medical-Surgical Nursing II, 9 credits
The final class! The material is heavy. Know your PPE, isolation protocols, and study the PowerPoints. The Lippincott Q&A Review for NCLEX-RN book had a lot of great practice questions to prepare for the exams. Lecture and lab, clinical 2 days a week.
Grading and Exams
The most important this to know about the program is you need a culminate average of 75% to pass each class and move on in the program and it is all based on exams. Anything less than 75%, you will get an F. There are ZERO expectations and ZERO makeup exams. People fail the class by .2 or .4 of a point, basically one exam question.
All the exams are done on Blackboard and at the school. During the pandemic, we had to take them remotely but had our cameras on and the teacher was proctoring us. The exams are “NCLEX style” meaning you see one question at a time, choose an answer, submit it, and cannot go back. They are multiple-choice, select all that apply, put in order, hotspot format via a picture or a math calculation. You are allowed to use a calculator and scrap paper for the exam.
There is a deadline to drop the class and get a W, which some people do, however it will still count as one attempt, and remember, you only get two attempts total to repeat any class in the program.
I recommend reviewing your exams with your teacher if you don’t do well. They will note your effort, answer questions you have, and give you tips for next time. Don’t be afraid of the teachers, they are there to help you!
“Just pick the best answer”
That is my favorite quote from a fellow nurse. It is easier said than done.
Test anxiety is REAL. I never scored super high and was always on the brink of passing, but I never gave up. I was able to manage my time to allow me to work full-time as an LPN, study, attend classes and have a small personal life.
My last semester was anything but ordinary with the COVID 19 pandemic outbreak. I passed the NCLEX just 22 days before giving birth to a healthy, beautiful girl, that changed my whole world. Throughout this program, I sacrificed countless social events, and weekends to study. I knew the sacrifices were temporary and would set me up to be a successful Registered Nurse in the future.
NOTE/DISCLAIMER – ALL OPINIONS ARE MINE AND MINE ALONE. I AM IN NO WAY AFFILIATED WITH LAGUARDIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE OR ANY OTHER ENTITY. THESE OPINIONS DO NOT REFLECT ANY ENDORSEMENT BY THE SCHOOL OR ANY OTHER ENTITY. MAKE SURE TO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH, ASK QUESTIONS, AND GET ADVISED.
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