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How to Select an RN to BSN Program

Posted by Megan Kokenge, Director of Enrollment Services Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019

BSN student Taylor writes on the glass dry-erase boards in NMC's study rooms.

As a registered nurse, the decision to go back to school can be daunting. You've already worked hard to earn your Registered Nurse (RN) license, and that's a big accomplishment. 

If you're looking for next steps, earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a great move. There's a push to make the BSN the standard entry for nursing. Many hospitals and health systems are following suit by requiring their nurses to have bachelor's degrees. 

The idea of going back for your BSN is an excellent choice and will set you up for a world of opportunities, including greater access to jobs, promotions and better pay to name a few.

Nebraska Methodist College put together a list of questions to help you research RN to BSN programs and find the one that is the best fit for you!

Format

RN to BSN programs are offered in several different formats. Some programs are offered 100% online, while others require students to attend classes on campus. You might even find a program that offers a blend of both, which would be considered hybrid.

As you look into programs, the format is very important. You will need to determine what is the best fit for your schedule and learning style. If attending class each week at a certain time isn’t right for your life, an online program could prove more suitable. If you really desire to interact with your classmates and faculty members face to face, an on-campus program is probably what you are looking for.

Reputation

Many schools offer RN to BSN programs. At some schools, this might be the ONLY nursing program they offer, along with non-healthcare related degrees. Other schools may offer several nursing programs with a sole focus on nursing and healthcare.

Ask yourself if nursing is what the school specializes in. Do they have a reputable, established nursing department?

When a school is focused on nursing, it offers students some critical advantages over other programs and schools.

Some of the differences you'll find at a healthcare college:

  • Full time nursing faculty (not just adjuncts)
  • Established nursing accreditation
  • Strong healthcare-focused curriculum (not re-purposed courses from other programs)
  • Relationships with recognized nurse leaders and faculty
In addition, students should always verify that programs are fully accredited by an nursing accreditation agency like the Commission on the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Prerequisite Requirements

RN to BSN programs are not all built the same. Some require you to have certain prerequisite courses completed prior to enrolling. Others do not have any prerequisite requirements, but might ask you to complete additional courses at the college or transfer the courses in.

It is valuable to compare what prerequisites are required of each program. Required prerequisites could lengthen the time it takes to complete your RN to BSN program and add to the overall cost of earning your BSN degree.

Clinical and/or Practicum Requirements

As a practicing nurse, you might wonder if you need to complete a clinical component again. This is a great question.

Some programs do include a clinical component in their RN to BSN program; other programs include a practicum. In a clinical, students observe and treat actual patients often in departmental rotations to give them a variety of hands-on experience. Practicums are practiced-based projects that allow you to put your nursing skills and current coursework into action.

It is also important to ask if the school assists you in setting up your clinical or practicum or if you have to set up your own experience. 

Cost of Attendance

When comparing RN to BSN programs, cost is always a significant consideration. Programs might charge a flat tuition rate per semester or per credit hour. It is also very important to research what additional fees are associated with the program and how much books might be.

If an online program has a residency requirement, you might be asked to visit campus. If this is the case, travel expenses could add to the cost. 

Interested in learning more about Nebraska Methodist College’s RN to BSN program?  Give us a call and we can help answer the questions above and see if we are the right fit for you! You can reach us at (402) 354-7200 or admissions@methodistcollege.edu.

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Topics: healthcare education, RN to BSN, online education

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