Types of Nursing Programs


There are three types of programs that lead to initial licensure as a Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse:

Post-licensure programs lead to more advanced degrees:

Practical Nursing Program Lead to Licensure as a LPN

The licensed practical nurse (LPN) is prepared to function as a direct caregiver under the supervision of other licensed health professionals, primarily in structured settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and chronic care facilities.  Community college graduates may transfer some or all of their academic credits to any Kentucky associate degree nursing program.  The curriculum generally includes foundational science content and nursing courses with an emphasis on the clinical practice of skills learned in the classroom setting.  Supervised clinical practice takes place in hospitals and long term care facilities.  Observational experiences are provided in other settings. These programs require approximately 40-46 credits.

Associate Degree Programs Lead to Licensure as an RN

The associate degree registered nurse (RN) is prepared to function as a caregiver in a variety of settings, and to work with other professional nurses and members of the health care team in planning and implementing comprehensive health care.  Graduates of these programs are eligible to transfer academic credits to a baccalaureate completion program for RNs.  Applicants must meet the entrance requirements of the community college as well as those of the nursing program.  Many community college nursing programs require 5 to 6 semesters to complete the sequence of study.  The curriculum includes a total of 65-70 credits with approximately half in the sciences and humanities and half in the nursing major.

Baccalaureate Degree Programs Lead to Licensure as an RN

Graduates of these programs are prepared to provide care to individuals, families and communities in wellness and illness settings providing comprehensive health services.  They are prepared to assume positions of leadership and responsibility in a variety of practice settings, and to enter graduate school for specialized study.  Applicants must meet the entrance requirements of the college or university as well as those of the nursing program.  The baccalaureate degree program graduates are prepared for graduate study (master's degree) with a specialization in a variety of nursing disciplines.  The program of study usually consists of the first two years in general education courses concentrated in the humanities, social and physical sciences.  The last two years build upon this broad general education base, offering courses in both nursing theory and clinical practice.  Supervised clinical practice occurs in hospitals, clinics, community health agencies, and other health care delivery areas.  Professional issues and beginning research techniques are also part of the curriculum.

Master's Programs in Nursing

A program leading to a graduate degree with a major in nursing offered by a senior college or university. The master's degree builds on the knowledge, skills and competencies of baccalaureate nursing education and provides for the attainment of advanced knowledge, and for specialty nursing. Graduates are prepared to work in a variety of settings and a variety of advanced practice nursing roles. The master's degree is usually required for entry into doctoral study.

Doctoral Programs

A post baccalaureate nursing doctorate curriculum provides for entry into professional nursing practice and preparation for initial licensure. Graduates are prepared to practice within and across diverse healthcare settings.