Nursing is aprofession that requires a high level of scientific expertise, compassion and skill. An experienced RN seeking to advance their knowledge and career has the option of transitioning in an RN to BSN program in Pennsylvania. As healthcare reform policies, advanced medical interventions and preventative medicine expand the role of the RN, new information and advanced education are necessary to achieve these objectives. There are many real life stories of hospitals requiring nurses to have their BSN, and many others giving preference to those who do.
If you are serious about pursuing a successful career in nursing, consider the benefits of earning your BSN sooner than later. With the current changes and innovations in the field of healthcare, having a bachelor’s in nursing can help you develop the skills employers need. BestNursingDegree.com helps students across the nation find and compare BSN programs. Whether you are looking for a campus or online program, we can help you easily request information from several schools at once.
Even though Pennsylvania has 130,930 licensed RNs, the projected future nursing shortage in the state is expected to be huge. According to the Health Resources Service Administration, Pennsylvania will require an additional 54,000 RNs by 2020 to meet the anticipated need. Nationally, well over half a million additional RNs are needed. Registered nursing will be the fastest growing occupation in the U.S. until at least 2018, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) says.
While the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice advocates that at least two-thirds of practicing RNs should hold a BSN degree or higher, only 36 to 37 percent of RNs have a BSN. A recent AACN survey shows that RNs with BSN degrees are more likely to find jobs at graduation than those without.
RN to BSN Programs provide courses to advance diagnostic reasoning, health assessment and management strategies. Advance practice, patient care and leadership models are provided to comply with the new framework developed by healthcare reform. Advanced courses to increase nursing knowledge are in science, humanities and other following subjects:
- Health policies and professional issues
- Effective nursing management, leadership and mentoring
- Baccalaureate Nursing Practice in the student’s area of choice
- Cultural diversity and public health
- Nursing informatics, computer literacy and medical technology
- Advanced practice in diagnostics and patient assessment
- Research and evidence-based nursing collaboration
The completion of an RN to BSN transitional program is approximately 20 months. Pre-requisites are included in the total credits of your degree. The 60 credits for your ADN are also calculated in a total of 125 to 130 credits. Pennsylvania usually requires more hours of the clinical practicum than other programs and consists of 15 to 20 weeks of a full time class schedule.
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Opportunities for the RN, BSN in Pennsylvania
RNs in Pennsylvania are afforded numerous opportunities in hospitals, home health and non-hospital work environments. An experienced nurse is valued by the healthcare community and valued for the dedication devoted to a BSN degree. Baccalaureate nurses have exclusive specialties and positions available to them that include the following:
- Hospitals like Penn State Hershey Medical Center, St Mary Medical Center and Abington Memorial Hospital have enacted policies that hire bachelor prepared nurses exclusively
- Nurses who specialize in informatics work in ICUs, maternity, cardiac care and emergency departments for Abington Memorial and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
- Nursing administrators and directors are employed throughout the Pennsylvania Health System and public health
- Mental health nurses with BSNs are independent and work as therapists in Westmoreland Hospital
- Nurse researchers work with independently funded projects, Penn State University and various medical research centers in the state
The Outlook for Baccalaureate Prepared Nurses in Pennsylvania
Like many states, Pennsylvania is demanding more RNs are prepared with BSNs in bedside nursing, administrative roles and public health. Studies reveal that the ADN program may not fully prepare the RN for responsibilities defined by healthcare reform, new medical technologies and evidence-based research. Pennsylvania RN's earn on average right at the national average of $65,000 annually (BLS, 2012).
Programs to consider:
- Chatham University (Pittsburgh). Students may select from part time tracks (usually two classes per semester) or full-time tracks (three to four classes per semester). Three courses have clinical components in addition to classroom work: community and environmental health nursing; under-served populations; and a nursing practicum which can be completed in the student's workplace.
- Pennsylvania State University (University Park). Students may study full-time or part-time at 10 Penn State campuses. An entirely online program is offered through Penn State World Campus. Students also may select from a combination of campus-based and online classes. Requirements for the RN to BSN programs may vary at the different campuses.
- La Salle University (Philadelphia). La Salle's RN to BSN program is fully online and allows students to move through the program at their own pace, accessing course materials at their convenience. Faculty members offer chat rooms and live virtual classroom meetings. Nursing courses can be completed in 13 months and there is no clinical requirement.