What is a bridge program in nursing?

Here is all you need to know about these nursing training programs.

On-Campus And Online Nursing Bridge Programs

Online nursing bridge programs benefit working professionals who wish to earn another degree but lack time to visit campus multiple times weekly. Due to the flexibility offered, distance learning appeals to these students.

Many classes are asynchronous, so students can log in at their convenience to watch pre-recorded lectures, communicate with peers and professors, and turn in assignments.

Some courses follow an asynchronous format, requiring students to log in at predetermined times to participate in live lectures and projects.

Because many students enrolled in these programs are already employed as full-time nursing professionals, schools schedule most live classes around their schedules.

What is a Nursing Bridge Program?

Bridge programs prepare graduates to compete for jobs at a higher level. To learn more about the jobs available to nurses with various degrees, visit Nurse Journal’s list of open positions.

Additionally, interested individuals can learn about the best online RN-to-MSN programs and online master’s in nursing programs.

Accredited Bridge Programs For Nursing

These ten graduate schools offer unique educational paths for nurses, such as RN to MSN bridge programs, NP bridge programs, and more.

1.   Grand Canyon University

Programs available:

  • MS in Nursing: Public Health (Bridge)
  • MS in Nursing: Nursing Education (Bridge)
  • MS in Nursing: Health Care Informatics (Bridge)
  • MS in Nursing with an Emphasis on Leadership in Health Care Systems (Bridge)

Grand Canyon University, located in Phoenix, Arizona, is a private Christian university.

They place a premium on service and leadership development while providing accessible education to students from diverse backgrounds.

GCU offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in various career-focused fields, including nursing, healthcare, business, and education.

For 35 years, GCU’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions has assisted students in preparing for healthcare career goals.

They are home to many graduate nursing programs designed to help current registered nurses pursue additional education in nursing.

The college offers traditional classroom instruction and online education, which may be ideal for working healthcare professionals.

2.   Nova Southeastern University

Programs available:

  • RN-MSN – Nursing Informatics
  • RN-MSN – Executive Nurse Leadership
  • RN-MSN – Nursing Education

Nova Southeastern University, located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a private research university.

The university offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional healthcare, business, law, and education programs. Its mission is to provide high-quality academic paths for students seeking life-long learning, both on-campus and online.

NSU’s Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing is home to over 1,300 students in various programs.

Their RN to MSN. The program is designed for registered nurses who wish to earn a Master of Science in Nursing while earning a BSN.

This bridge program offers a variety of paths and concentrations, making it ideal for registered nurses with a range of interests and goals.

3.   Grantham University

Programs available:

  • RN to MSN Bridge Program

Grantham University is an entirely online institution based in Lenexa, Kansas. The university was founded in 1951 by WWII veteran Donald Grantham to serve nontraditional students, including veterans.

Grantham University is accredited institutionally by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The College of Nursing and Allied Health at Grantham University offers several nursing programs, including an RN to MSN bridge program.

This online program is designed for registered nurses (RNs) with an associate degree in nursing (ADN/ASN/AAS).

Candidates complete 25 credits of undergraduate coursework before enrolling in one of Grantham’s MSN specialization tracks.

4.   Capella University

Programs available:

  • RN-to-MSN Nursing Leadership and Administration
  • RN-to-MSN Diabetes Nursing

Through distance education, students can earn bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and certificate degrees at Capella University.

Over 38,000 students from all over the world benefit from their flexible and competency-based programs. Capella’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences has a student body of about 20%.

Programs offered by Capella include RN to MSN and RN to BSN/MSN Combined Option programs.

It’s possible to specialize in Care Coordination, Diabetes Nursing, or Nursing Leadership and Administration through the RN-MSN curriculum.

FlexPath is another option for students who want to complete their MSN in a shorter period.

5.   Purdue University Global

Programs available:

  • Accelerated BSN to MSN

PU Global is an approved online university part of the Purdue University network.

In addition to more than 180 online programs, they offer a wide range of services for working adults. Students may expect personalized and interactive online learning at Purdue Global.

Purdue Global’s nursing school offers a variety of online degree options taught by dedicated healthcare professionals with real-world expertise.

Several MSN and DNP programs are available for nurses at various stages of their study that can help them better prepare for a career in nursing.

6.   Sacred Heart University


  • RN-BSN-MSN – Clinical Nurse Leader
  • RN-BSN-MSN – Nursing Management and Executive Leadership

Fairfield, Connecticut-based Sacred Heart Institution is a catholic, private university. Over 8,000 students are served by SHU, which has more than 70 academic programs.

Modern Catholic education is the university’s goal while promoting students’ critical thinking and intellectual curiosity in and out of class.

Traditional and online nursing programs are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and certificate programs at the College of Nursing at SHU.

Nursing bridge programs are also available, such as the RN to BSN to MSN program.

Candidates can obtain a BSN and an MSN in the same program while pursuing a career-focused specialization through this unique learning route.

7.   Indiana Wesleyan University

Programs available:

  • MS Nursing – Associate to Master’s – Nursing Education
  • MS Nursing – Associate to Master’s – Nursing Administration

Indiana Wesleyan University is a Wesleyan Church-affiliated evangelical Christian university.

Although the institution is headquartered in Marion, Indiana, programs are offered online at education centers around Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio.

The Ott Hall of Sciences and Nursing is one of IWU’s most recent additions, a 111,250-square-foot health sciences facility with unique teaching and research labs.

IWU offers a variety of nursing programs, including an online ASN-MSN bridge program that enables nursing students to build on earlier educational accomplishments while preparing for future ambitions.

Students pursuing an ASN-MSN degree can major in Nursing Administration or Nursing Education.

8.   Spring Arbor University

Programs available:

  • RN-MSN

Spring Arbor University is a Christian university founded in Spring Arbor, Michigan, in 1873.

In addition to undergraduate, graduate, and adult accelerated degree completion programs, the university houses 97 majors and programs of study.

To help students reach their long-term ambitions, they place an equal emphasis on academics and spiritual preparation.

Nurse Practitioner, MBA, and Education are all options in the RN-MSN bridging program at Spring Arbor.

Students in the MBA program learn about the business aspects of nursing administration, while those in the Ed program learn about the educational aspects of nursing.

Family Nurse Practitioners and RN-MSN/AGPCNP are two more tracks to becoming a Nurse Practitioner (Adult-gerontology Nurse Practitioner).

9.   Walden University


  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Bridge for Registered Nurses – Adult & Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Adult learners can take advantage of Walden University, an authorized university that caters to their specific educational needs.

Students can earn degrees and certificates in various career-oriented fields like nursing, health sciences, counseling, education, and more through the university’s online programs.

They work with students from over 150 different nations.

The RN to MSN Track: Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – Family Nurse Practitioner program at Walden University may interest people seeking a bridging program.

RNs with a hospital diploma, an associate degree in nursing, or a bachelor’s degree other than a BSN are eligible for this program.

The program includes foundational, core, and specialty courses to help nurses fill knowledge gaps and prepare for future endeavors.

10. Bradley University

Programs available:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Family Nurse Practitioner Track (BSN to DNP)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice – Leadership Track (MSN to DNP)

An independent private university, Bradley was established in 1897.

More than 5,000 students at Bradley University are enrolled in 185 different academic programs. Nursing and counseling degree programs are available online and on-campus at the university’s main campus in Peoria, IL.

Many nursing programs at Bradley University, including the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, can help students prepare for a new professional path.

DNP-FNP is designed for those with a bachelor’s degree in nursing but no master’s degree. Additionally, candidates are required to complete 1,000 hours of practicum work.

11. Vanderbilt University

Programs available:

Master of Science in Nursing

Nashville, Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University is home to the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN).

A close relationship exists between Vanderbilt University and the separate nonprofit Vanderbilt University Medical Center, affiliated with the university.

According to the US. News & World Report, the School of Nursing, is among the nation’s top 10 nursing schools.

In addition, its Master of Science and Doctor of nursing practice programs are ranked 8th and 6th, respectively, in the report’s 2022 rankings of graduate schools.

Vanderbilt University’s RN-to-nurse practitioner program requires applicants to have a 3.0 GPA.

Advanced practice specialties offered by the master of science in nursing include family nurse practitioner, nurse-midwife, and pediatric nurse practitioner.

Student clinical experience is made possible by the university’s faculty practice network.

12. Yale University’s

Programs available:

Master of Science in Nursing

With Yale University, the state of Connecticut boasts a whopping nineteen different private, nonprofit institutions of higher learning for undergraduates.

New Haven, Connecticut, is home to the University of Connecticut’s main campus.

NCES estimates the school had 12,974 students enrolled in its most recent academic year.

A total of 1,579 first-year students and approximately 1,563 second-year students registered for the 2017 fall semester (which makes its freshman retention rate 99 percent ).

Students in the graduating class complete their studies in 1500% of the average student’s time to complete their degree.

Adult/gerontology primary care, adult/gerontology acute care, and family nurse practitioner are among the specializations available through Yale University’s RN-to-NP program, as are many more.

Additional specializations are available, including diabetic care, gender, and sexuality health justice, oncology, or research.

The MSN program includes coursework in advanced nursing practice and hands-on experience in the hospital setting. Scholarships and leadership opportunities are also available to students.

13. University of Virginia-Main Campus

Programs available:

Master of Science in Nursing

Programs in mental health, neonatal care, adult-gerontology acute care, and pediatric primary care are all available at the University of Virginia’s RN-to-nurse practitioner program.

It is necessary to have the prior professional experience to take some courses.

The School of Nursing offers scholarships to students. Several hospitals and clinics in Virginia work with UVA to help nursing students gain experience.

14.                Johns Hopkins University

Programs available:

MSN Healthcare Organizational Leadership Track

Medical leadership at Johns Hopkins University is taught through an integrated MSN program. The RN-to-NP curriculum trains students to meet those needs as healthcare demands evolve.

Full-time students complete the online curriculum in two years. Students meet clinical hours. Students will learn about the research process, evidence-based practice, and healthcare economics.

15.   University of Pennsylvania

Programs available:

Master of Science in Nursing

The RN-to-NP program at the University of Pennsylvania includes advanced physical assessment and clinical decision-making classes. Nurse practitioners’ professional roles are examined by those pursuing a nursing degree.

Adult gerontology acute care, neonatal care, and pediatric acute care are all student options. Penn Nursing grants and endowment scholarships are available to full-time nursing students.

16. California State University-Fullerton

Programs available:

Master of Science in Nursing

Leadership programs, nurse education, women’s health care, and school nursing are all available to students in the RN-to-nurse practitioner program at Cal State Fullerton.

Students can complete some courses entirely online. Nursing research, advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and advanced health assessment are just a few topics covered in this course.

17. University of South Florida-Main Campus

Programs available:

Master of Science in Nursing

University of South Florida (USF) students can pursue an RN-to-nurse practitioner program tailored for working adults.

Adult/gerontology primary care, family health nursing, pediatric health nursing, and adult/gerontology acute care nursing are all concentration options.

Clinical prevention, nursing education, acute care, and health management focus on the MSN program.

18.   University of Rochester

Programs available:

Master of Science in Nursing

Six concentrations are available in Rochester’s RN to NP program.

Students can specialize in pediatric nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, adult acute care nurse practitioner, or family psychiatric mental health nursing.

When Loretta Ford became the first dean of the School of Nursing, she helped shape the nurse practitioner’s role development.

19.   California State University Long-Beach

Programs available:

Master of Science in Nursing

Family nurses, pediatric primary care nurse practitioners, and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner tracks are available at CSULB.

Advanced nursing practice requires a thorough understanding of research and health evaluation.

Human diversity and psychological difficulties in healthcare are covered in depth in the coursework required for many healthcare-related bachelor’s degrees.

20.   University of Central Florida

Program available:

Master of Science in Nursing

Healthcare simulation, nurse education, and leadership and management courses are available through the University of Central Florida’s online MSN degree program.

The College of Nursing was founded in 1979 with more than 60 faculty members.

Students pursuing an MSN degree gain clinical experience and culminate their studies with an evidence-based project. Students study nursing leadership techniques, healthcare system improvements, and nursing research methods in this program.


A nursing bridge program has both advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages may include saving money and time. Studying on the internet may help because it eliminates the daily commute. Some of the drawbacks include a condensed curriculum and no time for breaks.

Typically, the student taking the bridge course already holds a nursing degree.

You may be able to skip some classes if you have previous nursing experience. There are fewer credits to complete and pay for because many nursing schools charge per credit.

Online programs provide additional adaptability with bridge options. You might be able to work and go to school part-time. Pre-recorded lectures are used in some classes, which you can access at a time that works for you.

Some also use live lectures, but they try to schedule them at convenient times for working people.

On the contrary, in a traditional program, you may be unable to work outside of class. If you’re not in a rush or don’t have any prior nursing training, an accelerated program might not be the best option.

Using a time-saving program, you’ll probably have a more intense study schedule.