With the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) coming to be considered the standard in the nursing profession, many nurses want to learn more about RN to BSN programs. These accelerated programs offer already practicing RNs the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree while continuing to work. One advantage of these programs is that they typically do not take as long to complete as a traditional BSN degree.
Why a BSN?
Nurses have always been important, but their role has increased in importance as health care and health care delivery has expanded. Nurses not only have to have a broad array of skills and knowledge, but proficiency with technology as they handle information in new ways today. Communication and leadership skills are also crucial as many nursing roles now involve health education regarding preventative care and the promotion of public health.
Although nurses can become RNs with a minimum of a diploma or associate’s degree, they are often encouraged to go on for a BSN degree to ensure that they have the adequate preparation they need to take on these kinds of expanded roles and responsibilities. A BSN is also needed if a nurse ever wants to go on for a master’s degree (MSN), which is required in order to become an advance practice nurse.
Obtaining the BSN
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) there are almost 700 accredited RN to BSN programs, with over 400 of them offering at least some online courses. The flexibility of these programs is one of their chief assets. They are designed with working nurses in mind. While a traditional BSN degree will take four years to complete, an accelerated program when you are already an RN can be completed in one to two years. How long it takes will depend on how much time you are able to devote to the program as well as your previous education and working experience. The courses you took at the associate’s level may be transferable, though such decisions will need to be made by the school with which you’re applying.
Although one to two years of schooling while working may seem like a lot, the short-term challenges will likely pay off in long-term career benefits. So many nurses are realizing the benefits of these programs that they have seen increases in enrollment for 12 straight years. It is also important to know that many nurse employers, eager to have their students gain further education, will sometimes offer partial tuition reimbursement for these programs. Many nurses find it worth their while to invest the finances and time needed in order to complete a bachelor’s degree.
The nursing profession is growing and changing, and keeping up with the demands of the profession may well mean more education. If you are a working RN who is looking to complete a BSN, it can be a good idea to check out one of the many RN to BSN programs that can help to open more doors in your nursing future.