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Practical Nurses' Lived Experience of Returning to School

Chachula, Kathryn, MN, RN; Smith, Mary, MN, RN; Hyndman, Kathryn, PhD

doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000543
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The lived experience of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) pursuing Bachelor of Nursing (BN) education is not commonly studied in Canada. The aim was to understand the transition experience of LPNs who bridged into a BN program. Max van Manen's phenomenological methodology was used through use of a semistructured interview guide to explore the lived experience of LPNs who pursued baccalaureate nursing education. Five themes were found: seeking advancement; stepping back into the student role; juggling work, school, and family; struggling to be understood; and seeing things differently. In summary, LPN-to-BN students have a well-developed sense of identity as nurses. These students can benefit from a specifically designed, stand-alone bridge course to situate them within a BN program that leads to successful fulfillment of entry-to-practice competencies for RN licensure.

Author Affiliations: Assistant Professor (Ms Chachula), Faculty of Health Studies, Department of Nursing, Brandon University, Manitoba; and Doctoral Student (Ms Chachula), College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon; Executive Director (Ms Smith), Association of Registered Nurses of Manitoba, Winnipeg; and Adjunct Professor (Dr Hyndman), Faculty of Health Studies, Department of Nursing, Brandon University, Manitoba, Canada.

The study was funded by a grant from the Brandon University Faculty of Health Studies.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Ms Chachula, Faculty of Health Studies, Department of Nursing, Brandon University, 270-18th St, Brandon, MB R7A 6A9, Canada (

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Accepted for publication: March 12, 2018

Published ahead of print: May 24, 2018

Cite this article as: Chachula K, Smith M, Hyndman K. Practical nurses' lived experience of returning to school. Nurse Educ. 2019;44(1):53-57. DOI: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000543.

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