Pathways to a Nursing Career: Transitions of Licensed Practical Nurses who Become Registered Nurses in North Carolina

Cheryl B. Jones, PhD, RN, FAAN; Mark Toles, PhD, RN; George J. Knafl, PhD; Anna S. Beeber PhD, RN

October 2015

Research Brief

Key Findings:

  • Prior studies have not described the occurrence of LPN-to-RN professional transitions; thus, this study addresses an important knowledge gap.
  • Support is needed to provide career counseling for individuals who enter LPN programs, and to the existing LPN workforce.
  • Incentives are needed to encourage LPNs to become RNs to: bring diversity to the RN workforce; build local communities; help fill gaps in providing community-based, primary and ambulatory care, along the full continuum of care that extends from home to long-term care services.
  • Research funding is needed to determine the viability of the LPN-to-RN pathway as a source for increasing the numbers of RNs and increasing the diversity in the RN workforce of the future.
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