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Samantha Matthews

My LPN experience was fabulous and that made me want to come back to BTC for the RN Bridge.

Samantha Matthews, LPN Class of 2015 & RN Class of 2017

"I think it was helpful to do the LPN program and then come back for the Bridge program because with the skill set that I learned in the LPN program, I was able to put it to use at a clinic and really practice it. Then when I got to the RN program I was so ready to do it, and there was so much of the practical knowledge that I knew already that made it a lot easier for me."

“I finished my LPN program in 2014 and I had to wait until August 2016 to get into the bridge program because of the waitlist then, so I started full time at a clinic as an LPN. I think it was helpful to do the LPN program and then come back for the Bridge program because with the skill set that I learned in the LPN program, I was able to put it to use at a clinic and really practice it. Then when I got to the RN program I was so ready to do it, and there was so much of the practical knowledge that I knew already that made it a lot easier for me.

When our summer Bridge semester ended and we joined the RN students in the fall I think it took about a month for all of us to get used to it. Our instructors were very helpful with it; they gave us a mixed seating arrangement and helped us figure out how to get the class together for pot-luck dinners and study groups. The instructors purposefully mixed us up with our skills labs and clinical groups so that we had different knowledge sets and all the groups could succeed; plus, it added confidence to both groups of people.

Unlike some places that know half their class will drop off, BTC wants every single person to not only get to graduation, but be the best nurse possible.

BTC is unique because of their excellent NCLEX prep. The NCLEX is the exam you must pass to earn licensure to become a nurse, so it is a big deal. One woman I work with went to a different school and she said she was just on her own for the NCLEX. She was given a curriculum and what to study for, but she wasn’t given the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with an instructor. She was just running into it blind and before she knew it she was out and taking the NCLEX. She ordered a few books from Amazon and looked up a bunch of stuff online, but she didn’t feel very prepared. My experience was much different because BTC uses ATI (Assessment Technologies Institute) to review. ATI prepares you for the NCLEX because it covers different subjects and there’s a book that goes along with the subjects you’re covering in class. This ATI book has different facts and different rational and knowledge that goes along with your classwork. You can also study the NCLEX style questions in the book, so you’re studying all these different questions throughout the semester and then at the end you’re tested on it. You’re answering real comprehensive NCLEX questions, so by the time you get to the ATI test at the end of the semester you can tell how much you were taught, how much you studied, and how much you comprehended. It helped me know what I was understanding and what I wasn’t understanding. Then the instructors helped me work on those areas that need strengthening. When I sat down to take the NCLEX I felt like I was taking the ATI tests again because I had taken so many. After going through 2 years of schooling you want to be sure that you will pass the NCLEX, and at BTC we all had confidence that we could do it.

At first when I started nursing school I didn’t know if I would want to come back for my RN, but once I started the LPN clinicals I knew I wanted to be an RN. I found out really quickly in clinicals that there were a lot of things that LPNs couldn’t do that RNs could, and I wanted more leadership opportunities and to be able to do as much as I could. My LPN experience was fabulous and that made me want to come back to BTC for the RN Bridge. BTC will support you no matter what, whether it’s financial assistance or in the classroom, they will help. They want each of their students to succeed. Unlike some places that know half their class will drop off, BTC wants every single person to not only get to graduation, but be the best nurse possible. I never felt like they were trying to fill a quota, they were just trying to produce excellent nurses.”