Registered nurses are an important part of health care, with excellent job prospects over the next eight years, according to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
All RNs must have a state license to practice, but the amount of education gained, can vary from nurse to nurse. RN graduates of approved nursing programs or recipients of an associate’s degree in nursing have usually taken two to three years to get their education. BSN (Bachelor of Science, Nursing) degree holders usually take four years. So someone with a BSN is an RN, but not all RNs have a BSN.
If they don’t already have one, many RNs decide to go on and get a BSN because of the greater opportunities available to a nurse with a BSN. For example, nurses who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot advance beyond an entry level position without a BSN. Yet the cost of that extra year or two of school to get a BSN can be overwhelming. Since all RNs, no matter what their education, usually start with an entry-level position, one possible career move is to become an RN through a nursing program or ADN, find your first job, then take advantage of tuition reimbursement programs offered by many employers, as you become more valuable to them. These programs, usually designed so that you continue working while studying for your BSN, can be a great way to cut tuition costs.
One possible way for an RN to achieve the goal of a BSN is through an RN to BSN online program. These programs offer flexibility, which is a great benefit to students who continue to work while studying for their degree. Getting a BSN requires both textbook learning and hands-on learning. Online programs cover the course work while your experience as an RN covers the clinical training. For this very reason, most online courses are only open to individuals who are already RNs. Clinical training is a vital aspect of nursing education, so to ensure graduates receive appropriate clinical training, some programs may offer it at a campus facility.
Another benefit of RN to BSN online programs is the speed and flexibility with which you can achieve a degree. Some programs make it possible to receive your BSN in only 12 months. Course work can usually be done any time of day, from any computer with an internet connection. Such flexibility makes online programs attractive to students whose work does not allow time to attend scheduled classes. Students in online programs still have the opportunity to interact with professors and fellow students, although the method may vary from program to program. Discussion boards and live conferences are just two possible ways that a program can encourage interaction. You also have ability to take courses from excellent schools in another state from where you live, without having to move.
You now know how much growth is expected in the field of nursing, how many more opportunities are available to BSN degree holders, and how easy online courses can fit into your schedule.