Nursing Student Finds Career Growth through Inaugural LPN to BSN Program at Berkeley College School of Health Studies

Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, Ext. 1-5122



See caption below.

In the fall of 2016, a special program for licensed practical nurses (LPN) seeking a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree began at Berkeley College in Woodland Park, NJ, as the result of a collaboration with Union County College that was supported through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Jersey Health Initiatives Program.  Latoya Yvette Spears of Kenilworth, NJ, is proud to be one of the students in this inaugural class who expects to complete the last semester of the program and graduate in December 2017.

For Ms. Spears, the road to career success has been long. It took her six years to earn a Licensed Practical Nurse degree while working full time as a Pharmacy Technician at Walgreen’s and raising a family of five children with her husband. Inspired by her family and colleagues, she was honored to accept a special invitation to join the inaugural class at Berkeley College that would open new doors.

“The LPN to BSN program affords Licensed Practical Nurses the opportunity to seamlessly transition and advance their education,” said Josiane Hickson, EdD, RN, Chair, Practical Nurse and Patient Care Technician programs, Berkeley College School of Health Studies. “Due to the fact that industry demand for baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses is growing, this program gives nurses a variety of choices for professional experience and growth.”

Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, CEO, National League for Nursing, also has acknowledged the value of this historic program in New Jersey. “The design and implementation of seamless models that promote academic progression and lifelong learning is vital to meet the national call for a highly educated and competent nursing workforce,” said Dr. Malone.

Despite her busy schedule, Ms. Spears finds ways to make it all happen. While she is enrolled full time in the rigorous LPN to BSN program, she works for two home health care agencies. “Working in home care rather than in a job with fixed work times made it easier for me to accommodate my schedule,” she said.

She enjoys helping people and also finds time to give back to the community, serving in two ministries at her church. Ms. Spears recalls admiring her aunt who is a nurse and all of her accomplishments. When working alongside Registered Nurses at a school for children with special needs, her colleagues encouraged her to obtain a higher degree.  Now, as part of her semester’s portfolio development work with Dr. Hickson, Ms. Spears is researching how to further her education by pursuing professional opportunities and enrollment in a Master of Education program after she graduates with her Bachelor’s degree. On her own initiative, Ms. Spears asked one of her professors, Djenane Bartholomew, DNP, Practical Nurse and Patient Technician program, School of Health Studies, Berkeley College, to be her mentor.

“All of my professors challenge me to do my best,” Ms. Spears said. “They are all approachable, willing to explain and go the extra mile if I cannot grasp a concept right away.  They show that they care about me and my success.”

When asked about how her enrollment at Berkeley College is preparing her for success she said, “I see myself being successful in the future and always continuing my education because you should never stop learning,” Ms. Spears added.  “I am also successful if all of my children see me as a role model or imitate or learn from my example of never quitting and obtaining their goals.”

Photo Caption: Djenane Bartholomew (left), DNP, Practical Nurse and Patient Technician program, School of Health Studies, Berkeley College, faculty mentor, and Latoya Yvette Spears, LPN-BSN student, in the classroom at Berkeley College in Woodland Park, NJ.

About Berkeley College
A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,100 students – including more than 440 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies, and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.


Berkeley College has five New Jersey campuses – Dover, Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. In New York there are three campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For four consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is

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