The Ultimate Guide to Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Nurse studying online

As the health care delivery system in the United States becomes increasingly more complex, due in large part to the increasing, active population of aging baby boomers, the need for highly qualified nurses grows. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) calls for 80 percent of nurses to have their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) by 2020. Additionally, some states are implementing a “BSN in 10” initiative that would require nurses to earn their BSN within 10 years of initial licensure.

As more prestigious hospitals and academic health centers require nurses to have BSN degrees, it makes good sense to prepare for your successful career in nursing by pursuing advanced education and training now.

What are the benefits of getting your BSN degree?
Nursing is a competitive field. Holding a BSN can make you a much more attractive candidate to employers because studies link better patient outcomes to nurses with a bachelor’s-level education. This makes it easy to understand why a 2014 survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) found that 45.1 percent of hospitals and other health care settings require new hires to have BSNs.

Nurses with BSNs can be promoted into positions with increased responsibilities, including head nurse. If you intend to move into research, public health, consulting, or teaching, you’ll need at least a BSN. This degree also serves as the foundation for graduate-level training. If you decide to pursue a career as an advanced practice nurse (APRN), you’ll discover that most MSN programs prefer candidates with BSNs.

What are the benefits of an online RN-to-BSN program?
Enrollments in RSN-to-BSN programs continue to increase every year, reports the AACN. Because schools recognize that most nurses must continue to work, many now offer online RN-to-BSN programs that provide the flexibility busy nurses need. An accredited online course allows you to manage your time effectively and reach your educational goals without neglecting your personal and professional obligations.

An online RN-to-BSN program provides the comprehensive education you need in the shortest amount of time possible. Each school has different requirements, but programs typically last between one and two years. Some programs allow you to choose between a part-time and full-time schedule.

You’ll attend non-clinical courses and perform homework online while obtaining your clinical experience in person, typically at a local clinic or hospital. This hands-on training gives you the in-depth knowledge and technical proficiency you need to work as a BSN, RN, while also honing your leadership, interprofessional collaboration, and communication skills.

What are the enrollment requirements for an RN-to-BSN program?
Most RN-to-BSN programs require applicants to hold a current, unrestricted RN license and possess an associate’s degree (ADN) or diploma in nursing from a community college or hospital-based school of nursing.

Although each school has its own list of admission requirements, you may also need:

  • GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Criminal background check
  • Passing score on the seven-part HESI Admission Assessment (A2) Exam

What is the RN-BSN curriculum like?
Because you already have on-the-job experience, your online BSN program covers more complex topics. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the issues that affect patient care while sharpening your analytical and clinical reasoning skills.

  • Courses you may take include:
  • Professional Aspects of Nursing Practice
  • Health Assessment
  • Nursing Leadership and Management
  • Community and Public Health Nursing
  • Cultural Diversity
  • End of Life: Death, Dying, and Bereavement

What’s the career outlook and salary for a BSN?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment growth in the nursing field from 2014-2024 to be 16 percent—much faster than average. This represents an additional 439,300 jobs.

Not only does your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree grant you access to desirable positions not open to RNs with lower credentials, you’ll out-earn them, too. The median salary for an RN with a BSN who has been employed for at least five years can be as much as $11,795 higher than the median salary for all RNs, according to Payscale.

Are you ready to take your nursing education to the next level? Online RN-to-BSN nursing program prepares students to provide evidence-based, quality care using 21st century nursing skills that meet the health care needs of a diverse and aging population. Students are qualified to practice in an increasingly complex health care system to improve the well-being of populations in local and global health care environments.

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