C. Anyinam1, S. Coffey2, G. Lindsay2, R. Vanderlee3, K. Woodend4, K. Cummings5, M. Cochrane5, S. Mairs5, D. Diniz1

1George Brown College (CANADA)
2University of Ontario Institute of Technology (CANADA)
3Nipissing University (CANADA)
4Trent University (CANADA)
5Durham College (CANADA)
Bridging programs are one of the most rapidly growing areas of post-secondary curricular development in North America. In Ontario, Canada, Registered Practical Nurses (RPN) can continue their professional development through bridging education between their college diploma programs and a university degree, leading to eligibility to write the national registration exam for Registered Nurses. In this presentation, we will provide an overview of findings from an externally funded, multi-partner study examining post-secondary nursing education RPN-to-BScN programs. In this research we examine nursing bridging education in 50% of the programs in our province. Program delivery formats range from completely face to face to completely online, with both part-time and full-time options. Using mixed method analysis of qualitative and quantitative data (student tracking and registrarial data, student and alumni surveys), this study highlights the strengths and challenges involved in this type of educational offering.

Specifically, we will focus on student perceptions and experiences of:
a) preparedness for the program,
b) transition into the program,
c) barriers and facilitators, and
d) impact of entering the program on multiple dimensions of their lives.

Additionally, quantitative data will be presented, providing a “snapshot” of student tracking data that gives us insight into typical student progression through the program, including elements such as:
a) admission GPA and any association with continued success indicators in the program,
b) range of transfer credit granted, and
c) student performance in this bridging program compared to traditional 4-year BScN and general Health Science student performance.

In our discussion, we will identify areas for educational development related to RPN-to-BScN programs across our jurisdiction, with international application. Discussion about bridging education, innovation in curriculum development, and educational research will be invited.