According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Montana had 8,500 RNs in 2010. It is likely that many more RNs will be needed in the future in the state. A report describing the healthcare workforce in Montana prepared by the Montana Healthcare Workforce Advisory Committee, predicts that nearly 3,000 more RNs will be needed in the state by 2020. The report stated that Montana residents will be the third oldest in the nation, on average, by 2020.
Montana's large size and low population makes recruitment and retention of RNs and other healthcare professionals especially challenging. Education is often inaccessible in the most rural and underserved areas of the state. However, if you're interested in moving from an RN to BSN degree, there are numerous accredited online programs available. Some are open to students living in any state.
Schools to consider
Salish Kootenai College (Pablo). Students can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis. Courses are offered as a hybrid online program with some mandatory campus attendance. Three classes require clinical time at institutional or community-based agencies with preceptors. Clinical time can be arranged near the student's home with faculty approval.
Montana Tech of the University of Montana (Butte). The program is open to Montana-licensed RNs with associate degrees. The nursing classes may be completed in two semesters, although the entire program takes four semesters. Classes include business writing, nursing research, care of the aging patient, and nursing across the healthcare continuum.
Western Governors University (Salt Lake City, UT). Online students are accepted from every state. The program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Most students graduate in 18 to 24 months. The program requires 90 contact hours of mentor-guided clinical experience in a community or public health setting and is open to students in all states.