This article by Porter-Wenzlaff and Froman (2008), titled “Responding to increasing RN demand: diversity and retention trends through an accelerated LVN-to-BSN curriculum” speaks about a new flexible hybrid curriculum in the San Antonio School of Nursing in the University of Texas Health Sciences through a very flexible process unlike the conventional RN baccalaureate nursing (BSN) program that is recently not popular enough among nursing aspirants. As a result many students are turning away from these careers culminating into workforce shortage in the profession of nursing. This is a crisis situation where the number of BSN degree students is low on the face of increasing healthcare demands and escalated attrition rate. This low retention rate has been attributed to inadequate academic preparation leading to decreased job satisfaction from compromised or diminished quality of care. The authors of this article comprehended these problems and have developed a three-semester curriculum for licensed vocational nurses (LVN), who can earn BSN degrees.
This program is innovative in the sense that it is employing the experienced workforce within the service in a nongeneric, nontraditional, out-of-classroom, practice based flexible program, which may induce professional development and professional satisfaction of the recruits. This program is further designed to merge with RN-to-BSN program in the second and third semesters initiating a beneficial exchange between the two groups that would enhance the efficiency of the program. The curricula have been designed such a way that they take into consideration the current licensure status, experience in nursing, basic level of education, and demarcating uniqueness of this program. For the LVN, tailored curricular and education strategies are necessary since on entry their competition with the BSN is dismal. A lower grade point average can facilitate the LVN on admission. Moreover, this program need to consider cultural diversity, age, language challenge, life responsibilities, and learned LVN behaviours, so the LVN candidates understand the professional demands. The other advantage is that they would also understand their limited scope of practice outside the service, leading to marked reduction in attrition.
This program has immense significance to the nursing profession, since this accommodates already experienced LVNs into the BSN curriculum through a flexibly designed program leading to professional satisfaction. If successful over batches, this may work as a model to mitigate RN workforce shortage in order to prevent the recent crises of less than necessary BSN candidates. In the LVN turned BSN, this may work as a boost for professional satisfaction leading to minimal to no attrition, since they have been through a specially designed program that considers their background and mixes it with the growing professional demands through adult learning strategies to build professional identity, develop reading and writing articulation, and groom critical thinking and leadership skills. All of these may improve quality of care through enhancement of efficiency (Porter-Wenzlaff and Froman, 2008).
Porter-Wenzlaff, LJ. and Froman, RD., (2008). Responding to increasing RN demand: diversity and retention trends through an accelerated LVN-to-BSN curriculum. Journal of Nursing Education; 47(5): 231-5.