Leveling Education and Social Support Resources to Advance Professional Nursing Practice (LEAP)

USA College of Nursing LEAP


The University of South Alabama College of Nursing (USA CON) has been awarded a grant funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to prepare licensed practical nurses to become registered nurses ready to increase the RN workforce within their community. The Leveling Education and Social Support Resources to Advance Professional Nursing Practice (LEAP) program offers recruitment and training opportunities for currently-licensed LPNs/LVNs and prepares the participants to provide culturally-aligned care in rural and underserved communities.

The LEAP program is open to currently-licensed and actively practicing LPNs who have completed their LPN/LVN certificate at a regionally-accredited institution. Applicants must be admitted to the LPN-BSN program to apply for the program.

Download Program Flyer

Project Objectives

  1. Improve the supply and geographic distribution of the nursing health workforce by increasing the number of RNs entering the workforce through the development and implementation of an accredited LPN/LVN-to-RN bridge program.
  2. Reduce barriers that prevent LPNs/LVNs from transitioning into registered nursing careers.
  3. Increase the diversity of the nursing workforce to better address the needs of the populations they serve by recruiting and supporting students and faculty, including those from diverse populations such as students and faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented minorities in the nursing profession. 

Program Benefits

  • Financial Support
    • Tuition, Books, Fees
    • Selected Supplies
  • Student Support
    • Tutoring
    • Mentoring (Professional and Peer)
    • Technological Assistance

Application for the Program

Applications are provided to all students accepted to the LPN to BSN pathway. Once applications are received, an interview will be scheduled for each applicant to discuss the program with a grant team member. 

If you have any questions about the application process or for more information about the LEAP program, please contact Ms. Catherine Murphy, Project Secretary, at leap2usa@southalabama.edu   

LEAP Team Members

Faculty and support personnel for the LEAP program include: 

  • Dr. Leigh Minchew, PhD, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
    Project Director
  • Dr. Theresa Wright, DNP, RN, CCRC
    Faculty and Preceptor Development Coordinator
  • Dr. Emily Bentley, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, AGACNP-BC 
    Clinical Partnership Development Coordinator
  • Dr. Kristina Miller, DNP, CRNP, CPNP-BC
    Curriculum Development Coordinator
  • Dr. Jo Ann Otts, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CENP
    Lead Professional Mentor and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Activity Coordinator
  • Dr. Kimberly Jordan, DNP, RN, CNS
    Health Education Mentor and Clinical Site/Preceptor Coordinator
  • Mr. Caleb Howard, MS
    IT Specialist
  • Clinical Placement Advisor and Assessment Coordinator
    Position Currently Open
  • Mrs. Catherine Murphy
    Grant Secretary


For more information about the LEAP Program, contact an advisor or grant team member at leap2USA@southalabama.edu.

For more information about the LPN-BSN program, contact an academic advisor at conlpn2bsn@southalabama.edu. 

The Nursing LEAP program is funded by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling approximately $3.4 million with 0% financed by nongovernmental sources. The contents are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official view of nor an endorsement of HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. government.