Why Pursue a RN-BSN Program?
RN to BSN completion programs enable a registered nurse who does not hold Bachelors in nursing degree to complete their BSN. As many RNs completed an associate’s degree or a diploma program they do not have a BS in nursing degree. Therefore if these RNs wish to advance their career, they may need to continue their education and earn the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree.
Most RN to BSN completion programs are designed for current working Registered Nurses. These programs are usually specifically tailored for a professional nurse who is either working full-time or part-time, and therefore will be designed to be as flexible as possible.
It is important to keep in mind some of the characteristics you are looking for in a RN to BSN completion track program. Every program varies between tuition cost, acceptance rates, and more, so you may need to contact several schools, but here are a few points to keep in mind:
- Does the RN-BSN program accept recent graduates from ADN programs?
- Does the program allow diploma and Associate Degree prepared RNs to complete their BSN degree?
- How does the program cater to Adult/Working Students?
- Are there options for Fast Track or Accelerated Courses
You may consider asking the schools that you contact about their specific program. Here are a few questions we recommend asking at the absolute minimum:
- Are there any requirements for campus residency?
- Can you attend class anytime you want – Day, Night Weekends?
- Can you earn your BSN degree online while working full time?
- How fast will the accelerated courses allow you to complete your degree? 18 months, two years, more?
What to Know About the Online RN to BSN
Online RN to BSN:
- RN to BSN programs generally take about two years to complete.
- Some schools allow students to transfer credits from the associate degree program to help them earn the BSN even faster.
- As part of the educational requirements, BSN students must complete didactic studies and clinical internships and rotations in various areas of nursing.
- Expect a mix of academic lectures and study-on-your-own homework.
BSN Specialization Tracks
- RNs may pursue additional education in specialized areas of nursing such as pediatrics, emergency room, trauma, cardiac care, neonatology, geriatrics, and dermatology, among others.
- If pursuing areas of specialization, the student will complete additional internships in those areas.
- Although certification may not be required, a BSN degree can enhance the resume and improve employment options.
- The BLS predicts that RNs should see a job growth of 19 percent between 2012 and 2022.
- As of May 2014, registered nurses nationwide earned an average annual wage of $66,640.
- Certifications, years of training, employer and geographic location are all factors for income.
- The BLS reports that medical and surgical hospitals are the industry that employs the largest number of RNs.
Top BSN Nursing Resources
- National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)
- Bureau of Labor Statistics – Registered Nurse
- American Association of Colleges of Nursing (CCNE)
- American Council for Education in Nursing(ACEN)
What is the NCLEX?
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a national examination for licensing for nurses in the United States and Canada. There are two exams – one for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN), and one for professional nurses (NCLEX-PN), and they must be taken upon graduation from nursing school in order to become and practice as a nurse in the healthcare field.
If you are currently an RN looking for a BSN program, you should have passed the NCLEX-RN already. All RN-BSN specific programs require that you have an RN license, as it is a bridge program catered specifically toward RN’s that have their RN license.
According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), in 2012, the average number of questions for each candidate was approximately 119 on the NCLEX-RN specifically, with the exam lasting around 2.5 hours, on average.
The exam uses computer adaptive testing (CAT) to measure core competencies needed for newly licensed nurses. Each of the questions will fall into one of the five steps: assessment, analysis, planning, intervention and implementation, and evaluation.
CAT testing methodologies generally involved providing questions based on your previous answers. The more answers you get correct (or incorrect), the quicker you may finish the exam with less questions. The test will also give you tougher questions if you answered the previous question correctly, getting progressively more difficult as the exam goes on. Likewise, you’ll get easier questions if you get an answer wrong.
The CAT method of testing is adaptive to different answers from different people. More information can be found in the below video.
What is the NCLEX CAT Method of Testing?
What Does a Registered Nurse Do?
Nurses play important roles in the healthcare sector. They promote good health, prevent illness and suffering and give a better life to a person. Nurses can work in many industries, including: clinics, hospitals, hospice facilities or homes, schools, retirement homes, and more.
Day to Day Activities Can Include:
- Providing required medications and intravenous drugs to help patients and prevent patients from further risks
- Observing and taking records of patients’ conditions and briefing doctors and other members of the health care team about patient’s condition
- Giving pre and post-operation care
- Giving emotional support to patients and their families
- Guiding patients about how to administer medications and physical therapy on their own
- Counsel patients and public on the disease management, nutritional plans etc
- Administering junior staffs
- Teaching student nurses
he most common classifications of nurses are Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs), and Advanced Practice Nurses (APRNs).
Typical Qualities of All Nurses:
- Caring and sympathetic by nature
- Should have excellent teamwork and interpersonal skills
- Must have observational skills
- Ability to work under pressured situations
- Should have verbal and written communication skills
- Resilience and Endurance
- Ability to convey information properly
- Must be an active listener
- Service oriented attitude
- Ability to think logically and rationally and find out alternative solutions
Tips When Considering an RN-BSN Degree
When searching for the best option for you there are many things to consider. The questions and tips below may help you make a more informed decision.
- Are you looking for an innovative RN-BSN track that is progressive in nature? Or are you searching for something more traditional?
- What are you most interested in finding? More specifically do you want something which will lead to a Bachelor of Science in nursing or a Masters in nursing degree?
- Is speed an issue? Do you want to complete everything as quick as possible? If so make sure to ask each institution how long it will take for completion from beginning to end. Also ask about how much flexibility you have with your classes.
- Everyone is different, what is best for you may not be best for someone else
- Use a spreadsheet (or at least a piece of paper or notepad) to prepare questions in advance before you talk with school recruiters/advisors. Indicate on your list which things are most important to you.
- Do not rule out an online option, check with at least one or two online schools to help you compare both campus based and online degrees. Also check with at least one or two campus based schools for a total minimum of 3-4 different ones.
- What are your short-term and long-term career goals? Do you want to end up in a management position? Do you want to always work on the patient care side or do you have other aspirations? Now is the time to brain storm to create your list of questions. Do not leave off any question you can think of as you are considering a major investment of money and time which may greatly impact your future career.
- Do you want to stay in-state or travel out of state? Use our listing on the left to get started with gathering info of which school to contact for more specific information.
- The benefits of going from RN > BSN > MSN vs RN > MSN may vary. As each person has a different set of circumstances and each persons goals differ there may not really be any best choice in general for everyone which is why it is important for you to find out what will work for you based on your career goals which will ultimately help you make a decision of which option would benefit you more.
- Do you plan to continue working full-time?
- Will you need financial aid to help you pay for your education?
- Are you looking for a convenient and shorter choice or something more traditional?
- Asking yourself some of the above is a good start, but you should spend at least some time coming up with more questions for your specific goals prior to talking with a school representative.
- Also consider talking with other students or graduates to find out what to expect and what the difference is between your choices.