CNA to RN to Travel Nursing


Over the past year, several CNAs have requested information regarding traveling for work.  While there are a few opportunities for certified nursing assistants they are hard to find.  I know from experience many CNAs have a goal of becoming an RN.  There have been inquiries on this site looking for information on how to transition to RN

Like myself, they may not be able to become a nurse right out of high school.  As for me, I did not have the grades or the money to attend college right out of HS.  I had to take a different route to achieve my goal.  At the age of 32, I succeeded and have had a very successful career as a nurse.

Also, there are those who may not be certain that they want to commit to nursing.  For many, the solution is to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  This option lets them get exposure to the role of bedside nursing.  The duties they perform are crucial and they work closely with LVN/LPNs and RNs.  Many nursing programs are aware of the bedside experience and give credit for experience.  Schools now offer a bridging program CNA to RN.

RNs in Demand

Currently, there is and has been a shortage of RNs making them in demand.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth will continue faster for RNs than average growth for other occupations.

A change in the healthcare system and increased demand for healthcare services equals increased demand for nurses.  As baby-boomer nurses age out and retire the opportunity for AD and BSN nurses increase.

CNA to RN Programs

Many CNA programs offer courses that can be transferred to a nursing program.  This is called a bridge program and can count towards the prerequisites for the first semester.

Some courses that can count are:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Personal care/patient hygiene
  • Environmental care (e., bedmaking)
  • Vital signs
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise/activity
  • Special needs care
  • Medical terminology
  • Communication

This training can give you as a CNA an advantage when you apply for a nursing program.

Another way to apply for an RN degree is to “test out” of required prerequisite courses. Most of the time nurse assistants with years at the bedside have the knowledge needed make certain prerequisite courses are unnecessary. Test prep programs which are available online can help with the process of testing out.

Is it worth the cost?

One question you should ask yourself is it worth the cost?  When you consider the cost of a program may range from a few thousand for ADN to over  10 thousand or more per year for BSN ask yourself.  Remember that tuition is only part of the cost.  Are you going to be able to hold a job while in school?  What about your family and the sacrifice for them?  These are the things to think about.

Most schools will have a financial aid package or grants that may be available.

A Brighter Future.

The bottom line is what’s your goal?  If you are interested in the life of a traveler then you need to pursue nursing and get your Bachelors degree.  As a travel nurse, you get to choose when and where you want to work.

As for most registered nurses, they are found in the inpatient, or hospital, setting in :

  • Physician offices
  • Home Health Care Services
  • Nursing Facilities
  • Outpatient care centers

Regardless of where you choose to work as a nurse, you will always have job security.  Nurses have opportunities to climb the ladder to the top salaries and choice positions.

If you want more information on other RN “bridge” programs, including LPN to RN  this information will get you started.


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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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