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The Problem of the Growing Costs in LPN to RN Programs

Health care has become a hot topic throughout the nation with the passing of the Congressional bill, and has therefore impacted nurses and doctors in different ways.  Some hospitals have attempted to cut costs because of the bill, which has not only impacted nurses’ salaries, but also tuition benefits for many students in nursing school.  Students attempting to get scholarships in different educational programs have found the perks of the program to be stripped away, forcing them to take out high-interest loans or even drop out of the program.  LPN to RN programs are no different, as students who earned an LPN degree years ago and are now attempting to earn an RN degree, are now faced with the growing cost of the program and the potential low salary increases.  More than the rising costs of tuition and the salary decreases, nurses of all types remain concerned with patient care, and rarely picket these costs because they want to remain devoted to their patients despite the lack of benefits hospitals are dishing out to them.

LPN to RN programs have become relatively common in recent years, as students wish to experience the nursing programs before they commit to a registered nursing degree.  As a result, most students are enrolling in these bridge programs in order to save money and expedite the certification process.  However, when at one point many hospitals had scholarship opportunities or free tuition to children of health care professionals, these hospitals have recently stricken these programs from their finances and instead have devoted more money toward expanding their hospitals and clinics.  While this may seem to be a beneficial step toward better patient care, it has not had many supporters in the nursing community, as many nurses have resorted to strikes against hospitals in order to receive better benefits and salaries.  Many RNs only see a 4 percent increase in their salary over years, when they once saw a 14 percent increase.  This has not led to a greater incentive to enroll in nursing programs, and the health care bill is only another block in attracting new participants. 

Patient care should remain the top priority in nursing care, but the rising costs of tuition and the decreasing salaries have impacted the health care community more than clinics and hospitals gambled on.  To continue on the track to better health care for the nation, many of these hospitals need to consider the care they give to their nurses, and the impact many of these bridge programs have on their hospital settings.  Offering better scholarship programs as well as better benefits to nurses can raise the standard of health care more than we know.