The associate degree has been a popular path to a nursing career for many years, but now working RNs see the value in earning their BSN to enhance patient outcomes. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is now preferred or even required by many employers. While it can take four years to earn a traditional BSN, post-licensure RN to BSN programs make it possible to earn a BSN in much less time.
The University of Houston-Victoria, for example, offers an online RN to BSN program that RNs can complete in just 12 months. Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), UHV's RN to BSN program prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills they need to deliver high-quality patient care.
Patient safety is driving the push for more BSN-prepared RNs. Thus, many working RNs may be expected or required to return to school to earn their BSN. UHV's online RN to BSN program is designed to help RNs overcome some common obstacles to earning their degree.
Flexibility and Simplified Scheduling
Time is a common concern for RNs returning to school. The thought of taking classes while working can be overwhelming. But online programs provide the flexibility RNs need to plan coursework around shifts and other obligations.
RNs may get credit for some of the general education courses they have already taken. For example, students who have an ADN may receive advanced placement up to 36 hours for lower-level prerequisites.
For more time savings, consider that students in online programs lose no time commuting to and from campus.
And keep in mind that traditional on-campus programs follow a semester schedule — one to three start dates a year. By comparison, UHV offers RN to BSN students five start dates each year. If one start date doesn't work, there's no need to wait an entire semester for the next one to roll around. Working RNs can start at a time that best suits their schedule.
What If Students Need More General Education Credits?
A BSN features more than core nursing courses. It also emphasizes the liberal arts. Although some may question why RNs need a liberal arts education, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing notes that a liberal arts education boosts skills in "communication, assessment, cultural sensitivity, resourcefulness, the ability to apply knowledge, and scientific reasoning" — all essential to nursing.
Courses in English composition, U.S. history, political science and psychology fulfill general education requirements for a BSN. Some RN to BSN students may find that they need additional general education courses. Even so, students can earn their bachelor's degree fairly quickly with UHV's online RN to BSN. Courses are eight weeks each — compressed and accelerated to meet the needs of working nurses.
The AACN now recognizes the BSN as the entry-level degree for professional nursing practice. Returning to school to earn a BSN does take commitment. But improved quality of care, higher salaries and stronger job prospects are strong incentives.
Learn more about the University of Houston-Victoria's online RN to BSN program.
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.