The first nursing degree you get enables you to become a registered nurse (RN). Other lower nursing qualifications like certificate programs only allow a student to have junior nursing duties like Licensed Practice Nurses (LPNs), Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA) among others.
Nursing Degree programs
The first step in becoming a registered nurse is by enrolling for either of the listed nursing degrees programs:
i) Associate of Science in Nursing degree
This is the lowest starting point in getting a nursing degree. Students who enroll for this nursing degree have to undertake at least two years of study in a nursing school. The degree program will include core concepts of nursing and clinical practicum sessions where, the student nurse gets to interact with patients in a clinical setting.
Upon graduation with this nursing degree, you will be expected to take and pass a National Council Licensure Exam for RNs.
ii) Bachelor of Science in Nursing
This is a four-year degree program where nurses are intensively trained on diverse nursing courses. Unlike the ASN degree, a BSN degree has a larger coursework and hence, RNs who take a BSN has greater expertise than those who take ASN. Like the ASN, completion of a BSN qualifies a student to take the NCLEX-RN certification test.
iii) LPN to BSN nursing degrees
These degree programs are meant for LPNs who want to get the transition to RNs. The program offers a chance to LPNs to increase their practice scopes and get better pay margins
iv) RN to BSN degree
The program is designed for RNs who already have an ASN but want to advance their educational qualification. Students who take this path are usually RNs who want a flexible and highly exempted credits route to getting a higher nursing degree.
v) Second Degree BSN degrees/ Accelerated BSN degree
These degree program aims at enabling non-nursing students who hold other bachelors degree to get a nursing degree. For people who want to change careers, this is the easiest way to get a nursing degree. The duration of study is reduced as your former bachelor’s degree credits are recognized.
Different Modes of Study in Get a Nursing Degree
After choosing your nursing degree, you decide to register in one of the following study modes to get your nursing degree:
Fulltime Nursing School
In this study mode, nursing students must be in campus for all nursing training whereby, students take both theory and practical classes within campus. Usually, many nursing schools are university hospitals and this allows the students to have convenience in attending the supervised clinical rounds.
This mode of study is also called traditional nurse training and involves one-on-one students-instructors interaction. It is the most preferred method of study especially for first-time nursing school students or those who do not have to work another job at the time of study.
Getting a Nursing Degree Online
Online nursing degrees offer students the chance to get their nursing degree right from home without having to attend college. The students use web tools like webinars, audio conferencing and other online education delivery systems to learn the nursing concepts.
This is the most appropriate way to get a nursing degree if you want to keep your job or if you have a tight time schedule. It is also recommended for students who have a prior experience in nursing as things will not sound too complicated or too new. The popular nursing degrees under this study mode include LPN to RN programs, paramedic to RN degree programs and RN to BSN.
Accreditation of Nursing Degrees
To be on the safe side and ensure you get a valid and recognized nursing degree, students must always confirm that the ministry of education approves the nursing school in question. Students must also check with their states’ board of nursing to ensure the course work and curriculum is up-to the required state standards.
Other accrediting bodies like National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission are in a position to guide students to only enroll for accredited programs. This will be of advantage as it will prevent incidences of wasting time and money in the journey towards getting a nursing degree.