If you have already earned a Registered Nurse’s (RN) license and are interested in advancing your nursing career, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a smart way to reach the next level of your career. A 2019 Campaign for Action report notes that the percentage of RNs who have earned a BSN degree was at an all-time high – at 56%, up to seven points in ten years.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has extensive research concerning BSN-educated nurses. The AACN notes a strong correlation between a nurse’s education level and the quality of patient care. Recognizing the benefits created by a core of baccalaureate-trained nurses, state governments (like New York, for example) have begun to require an RN to complete their BSN degree within a decade of the original license issuance.
The really good news is that, as a nurse professional, there are more ways than ever to earn a Bachelor of Science degree– from online RN to BSN programs that offer rolling start dates.
How to Evaluate Online RN to BSN Programs
Online RN to BSN programs are an excellent choice for working learners who need flexible scheduling to fit a tight or unusual schedule. The online RN to BSN academic degree program that is right for you depends on your experience and personal career objectives.
- Newly licensed nurses may prefer an on-campus RN to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. The total campus experience offers opportunities to network with local professionals.
- Working professionals interested in earning their BSN would likely prefer the convenience provided by an online RN program.
The research required in selecting any higher education program is the same for on-campus and online programs. The factors used to determine if a quality program is a good fit include – the higher learning institution’s rankings, its accreditation, your budget, and program length.
Most higher learning institutions are regionally accredited by one of the Department of Education’s agencies. This is important because accreditation ensures an independent organization evaluates the quality of the education provided. Regional accreditation is the most widely accepted concerning the transference of credits among schools.
There may be individual academic degree programs within an accredited school that seek a more specialized accreditation. In the field of nursing, RN to BSN programs should have received accreditation from the CCNE – the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or ACEN – the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
The modern post-secondary education market includes many independent organizations, agencies, and companies that evaluate schools in terms of a graduate’s employability, admission rates, or return on investment, among others. The Princeton Review, along with US News and World Report, represent two of the more familiar and oldest of these ranking services.
Check Online Reviews Posted By Current & Prior Students
These online boards offer honest opinions from students who are walking the same path and are helpful when deciding which of the online RN to BSN programs are the right fit.
BSN nurses are in high demand as the degree develops a nurse’s critical thinking skills and prepares them for leadership roles across various outpatient and inpatient medical or rehabilitation facilities. Employers show a significant preference for nursing candidates who hold a BSN degree.
Practicum & Clinical Hours
Clinical rotation requirements are typically required but offered with these accommodations, among others-
- The RN’s current medical setting.
- A medical setting in the student’s location.
- At a campus intensive.
- Studying abroad.
- At an approved public medical service agency for those with a public health specialty.
The Bottom Line
Nurses represent the largest sector of the healthcare workforce, so they are uniquely positioned to truly make a difference in someone’s life. They are a vital facet of every medical team. With research indicating better-educated nurses are prepared to offer a higher level of care, there can be no downside to earning a degree from one of the many quality on-campus or online RN to BSN programs.