You hear conversations or read articles about a bachelor's degree becoming the minimal requirement for entry-level nursing jobs or promotions. Are you prepared if that happens? If you are a nurse with a Diploma in Nursing or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), it might be time to think about pursuing a baccalaureate degree. And it does not have to take four years to graduate. You can complete an RN to BSN degree program in half the time.
What Is an RN to BSN Program?
The RN to BSN curriculum builds on the foundational coursework and core competencies taught in an associate program. An RN to BSN program extends a nurse's experience and clinical knowledge by examining nursing values, theory and research. At the completion of the program, nurses are prepared to deliver safe, evidenced-based and holistic care to patients.
Are There Different Types of RN to BSN Programs?
Yes. Three types of RN to BSN programs are available to nurses. You can enroll in an on-campus program, a hybrid program that offers both on-site and online classes, or a 100-percent-online RN to BSN program. Programs generally take two years to complete, but there are some accelerated online options which allow students to graduate in as few as 14 months.
Why Choose an Online Program?
Online RN to BSN programs are geared toward the working nurse. The programs have flexible schedules that make it convenient for nurses to keep their jobs and carry out family obligations. Most online RN to BSN programs allow nurses to pick from multiple start dates and are accessible anytime and anywhere. This enables nurses to study during work breaks or in the comfort of their homes before or after their shifts.
While all schools have slight variations in their course selection, the coursework in an online program is not easier than it is in on-campus programs. The only difference is students do not have to travel to and from a campus and sit in a classroom. Nurses will find that all of the BSN programs are matched in difficulty and focused on preparing students for a wider scope of practice.
What Are the Enrollment Requirements?
You must hold an associate degree or nursing diploma and be a licensed RN to apply to an RN to BSN program. The admission criteria for RN to BSN applicants may vary depending on the college or university. Typically, prospective students must meet these eligibility requirements:
- Hold an unrestricted license to practice nursing.
- Criminal background check, physical examination or drug screening — not every school requires applicants to undergo these procedures.
- Official transcripts sent from the college or university where the applicant graduated with an ADN.
- At least a 2.0 or greater cumulative grade point average (GPA).
What Should Nurses Look for in an RN to BSN program?
You want to enroll in an RN to BSN program that is accredited. Without proper accreditation, you may face problems receiving financial aid, attending graduate school or qualifying for nursing jobs. Accreditation signifies that a school meets the standards for preparing students for the nursing practice. Many employers prefer to hire nurses who have graduated from an accredited institution. The accreditation organizations are:
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
- Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA)
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Nurses work long shifts both day and night so they may be hesitant about committing to a traditional RN to BSN program. But an online program makes it possible for nurses to complete a baccalaureate degree without leaving their jobs or sacrificing time with family.
With a BSN, nurses can advance in their career and increase their salaries. The role of nurses in healthcare is expanding due to the evolving complexity of patient care. And that is why nurses should consider completing an online RN to BSN program.
Learn more about the EIU online RN to BSN program.
Sources:Nursing Explorer: Test of Academic Skills (TEAS)
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