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Advancing Your Degree Doesn’t Have to Disrupt Your Life: One Student’s LPN to BSN Experience

Feature Story
Posted on Feb, 04 2013

Photo of Hunter Bultema

When Hunter Bultema graduated from high school and was trying to figure out what he wanted to be when he “grew up”, nursing was definitely not at the top of his list. While his family and friends encouraged him to go into a health profession, he was hesitant as to whether nursing was really the right fit for him. Taking their advice, Bultema ultimately decided to begin his associate’s degree in nursing in Wahpeton, North Dakota. Bultema figured the program was only two years and if he decided to go into another occupation after the two years, he would still have plenty of time. When he graduated with his Licensed Practicing Nurse (LPN) license, Bultema realized he had actually enjoyed himself and wanted to continue on towards his bachelor’s degree in nursing.


Moving to Fargo a few years ago, Bultema enrolled at North Dakota State University in the LPN to Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) program. The LPN to BSN program is specifically designed for LPNs who want to complete their baccalaureate degree in nursing and become eligible for licensure as a registered nurse. While Bultema was excited to begin work towards his four-year degree, he was not ready to stop working fulltime. Luckily, Bultema was able to take classes through the Distance and Continuing Education (DCE) online program.


The program was a perfect fit for Bultema who was working full-time at BioLife Plasma Services in Moorhead, Minnesota. “Everything is online so I am able to manage work and school,” notes Bultema. “Instead of having to go sit in class after a long ten hour shift, I can work my homework schedule around what works for me.”


While Bultema was concerned about not being face-to-face with his instructors and other students, he was impressed by how “life-like” the online classes actually felt. “I’ve had courses where you can meet online at a specific time, like 9:00 a.m. on a Tuesday,” says Bultema. “The instructor will go through lecture material just like they would in class and you can chime in with questions or comments to the entire class.”


Bultema notes that if you are unable to “attend” the class at the designated time, instructors record entire lectures and let you listen to them during your own free time. Additionally, since instructors in the LPN to BSN program are registered nurses with advanced degrees, the real-world experiences they bring really add to the impact of the class. “It is one thing to read all the symptoms for a disease out of a textbook,” says Bultema, “but to have an instructor give you their firsthand knowledge and experience of what to look for and recognize makes it so much more beneficial.”


Bultema graduated in December 2012 with his BSN degree and hopes to get a position in Emergency Room (ER) of a hospital. He is also enthusiastic about the additional career opportunities that will come along with receiving his degree. For Bultema, receiving his BSN allows for more opportunities within the hospital such as managerial or administrative positions, while also having the available options for nursing jobs outside of the hospital and away from the “bed side”. “That’s the great thing about the LPN to BSN program,” reflects Bultema, “I will now have the ability to find a job outside the hospital. It would have been a lot more challenging to do that if I had not made the decision to advance my degree through this program.” 


For more information about the online LPN to BSN program through DCE, visit www.ndsu.edu/dce/degrees/undergraduate/lpn_to_bsn_option or call 701-231-7015.