If you are a Registered Nurse (RN), you likely already know how in-demand educated nurses are. By furthering your education with a BSN via an Online RN to BSN program, you could position yourself for amazing job opportunities that could increase your salary and help you achieve your career goals.
An Institute of Medicine report on The Future of Nursing initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation even called for increasing the number of BSN-prepared nurses to 80 percent (from 50%) by 2020.
Another recommendation from that same IOM report was to ensure that nurses are encouraged to engage in lifelong learning. As many people know especially with technology, processes, procedures, and treatment can change particularly in the healthcare field, and staying on the cutting edge of healthcare and nursing education is very important. If some of the biggest advocates in nursing, medicine, and healthcare such as the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are calling for increased education, it would be wise to pay attention to the data and reports they publish.
The Online RN to BSN program is ideal for current registered nurses that still need to work, but want to continue to advance their career. There are obvious advantages to a nurse holding a BSN vs. an RN degree – read on for specifics. Generally, however, nurses holding a BSN degree earn more and have more career advancement opportunities. With multiple online RN to BSN programs available that are cost-effective and readily available and accepting current student applications, now is an excellent time to apply.
Why BSN Prepared Nurses Are In Demand
There are many reasons to consider an RN to BSN program, but perhaps the most important is the fact that multiple credible outlets in the nursing and healthcare field are advocating increased education for nurses to help patients and communities live longer and decrease mortality rates. There were key reasons why The Future of Nursing Report holds true even after being published in 2010. Multiple studies before and after that report have been published stating that generally, hospitals and patient lives are in better hands with nurses holding a BSN.
- The October 2014 issue of Medical Care found that a 10% increase in the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses within hospital units were also associated with lowering the odds of patient mortality by 10.9% – source
- A May 2014 study in The Lancet found that a 10% increase in the proportion of BSN-educated nurses in acute care settings were associated with a 7% decrease in the death risk for discharged patients after common surgeries – source
- A January 2007 article in the Journal of Advanced Nursing found that hospitals with higher proportions of BSN-prepared nurses tended to have lower 30-day mortality rates, also finding that a 10% increase in BSN-prepared nurses associated with 9 fewer deaths for every 1,000 patients. In total for this study, 46,993 patients were studied at the University of Toronto – source
Online RN to BSN: Distance Learning vs. Local Learning
Many students prefer to stick close to home, even while obtaining a degree online. Your local community colleges and nursing schools may offer online courses, so that would be a great place to start. Some have their own online portals while others utilize a shared portal with other colleges. Since much of Nursing is hands-on, you may find that some schools offer hybrid programs, combining online courses for the basics while having you come in for labs and perform clinical at approved local facilities.
If you are not set on keeping it local, a wide variety of options are open to you. In obtaining your RN license and working in the field, you’ve already proven you know the basics of the field. Getting a degree is just a matter of showing that you have the education necessary to work in administration or a more advanced nursing position.
Distance learning enables you to take courses online from a school that is halfway across the country. Or a school that solely operates online. When choosing distance learning, it becomes more important than ever that you verify that your school of choice has the proper accreditation to satisfy the requirements of your state licensing board. All learning institutions list their accreditation, which you can then cross-reference online to ensure the accreditation is widely accepted. Some accreditation is regional. That does not necessarily mean it won’t be accepted in your part of the United States. It simply means you need to check to be sure.
Schools with Online RN to BSN Programs
Ball State University, based in Muncie, Indiana’s online RN to BSN programs were cited as among the best by Nursing Spectrum magazine. The basic framework of Ball State’s BSN program was conceived by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and involved a collaborative effort by Ball State faculty in the school of nursing, as well as the school’s information technology department. The school has found a way to include interactive hands-on training into its online format, pioneering the online classroom experience. “There’s no how-to book for online teaching,” Marilyn Ryan, the associate director of the school’s graduate program said in a statement on the school’s website.
Jacksonville University’s online RN to BSN program requires no campus attendance at all with its unique interactive experience. The video lectures are led by real instructors and live chat rooms will allow you to feel like you’re getting the true school experience without ever leaving your home. The discussion boards are hosted by faculty, adding to your ability to learn at your own pace.
UL Lafayette’s A 30-hour program based at UL Lafayette’s campus but offered with online courses. The coursework is designed to both use scientific methods to draw medical conclusions, apply nursing theory and practices in all professional decisions, and to learn nursing leadership qualities that can enhance not just the individual nurses exhibiting them, but the entire staffing unit that they interact with.
Utica College’s online RN to BSN program has been approved by the New York State Education Department. Based in Utica, New York, Utica College is a well-respected school in the industry, and its online learning component is geared toward the busy working nurse. The same faculty that teaches on-campus handle the online courses, as well, ensuring you are getting top-quality learning.
Western Governors University is solely an online school geared toward helping busy professionals accomplish their goals of achieving a bachelor’s degree. WGU requires students to pass assessments that determine their knowledge of the subject material, rather than strictly sitting through classes that may or may not teach anything. Upon registration, you will be assigned a faculty mentor that will guide you to reaching your degree goals. This program will take an estimated 18 months to complete.
Liberty University, a Christian college based in Lynchburg, Virginia, has a comprehensive online learning program for RNs to achieve BSNs. It is important to note that Liberty University does not offer its science classes online so you will have to get those at another institution and transfer them in. The school gives you credit for RN licensure and only requires that 50% of your required 52 classes toward your major be taken through Liberty.
If you are seeking to complete your Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing with an RN-BSN bridge program, there are a multitude of online RN to BSN programs from which to choose. Go through each of the choices and choose one that will work best in furthering your career goals.
Additional Online RN to BSN Programs
View a full list of accredited programs at the CCNE.