How to Choose an RN to BSN Program
By Shanna Shafer RN, BSN
Shanna Shafer RN, BSN is driven by the impact nursing, and nursing education, can have on the health of our patients, families, communities, and nation. She has almost ten years of nursing experience in a variety of settings, and currently serves as the Managing Editor at BestNursingDegree.com
I had been practicing as a Registered Nurse for only a year and a half before I decided to go back to school. Of course, I am one of those self professed lifelong learners (aka nerd) who derives a great deal of personal satisfaction from academia. There was never really a question in my mind as to whether I would get my BSN, so that part of the decision making process was quite easy for me.
For those of you who may not be as certain about whether you want to earn your BSN, I would recommend talking to your fellow nurses, especially those who have done it, as they likely have insights that may help you understand the why’s and how’s of going back to nursing school. You can also read about some of the benefits, including how having a Bachelor’s degree can make a difference in your practice, your earnings and your professional development, on our nursing program pages.
Once you have decided that yes, you are going back to school, now you must decide where to go. For some, this decision is easy, as there may be a nursing school nearby that offers exactly what you are looking for. Great! In that case, starting the application process is the next step for you.
But what if there are no nursing schools in your area?
What if there are several RN to BSN bridge programs to choose from?
If this is the case, you will need to do some investigating before you decide which school is your best bet for successfully earning your Bachelor’s degree.
In my case, there was more than one program to choose from, and I had to research each school’s offerings. At that point, I was suddenly thrust into the dream of earning my Master’s degree, as I was intrigued by several of the graduate level programs I found. I would have applied for a dual degree program in Public Health and Nursing, however, it was not offered as a Direct Entry option, and required that I already have my Bachelor’s studies completed.
Back to the drawing board I went, and re-focused my search back to the bridge programs that I knew would be the next best step in continuing my education. There were two options in my location, both with similar application, admission and graduation requirements, as well as similar prerequisites, and tuition costs. I thought these were the most important characteristics to consider, until I found the one thing that ultimately influenced my decision the most.
When I was reading about the programs, and actually trying to determine just how I would be able to go back to school while working full time, I was a little overwhelmed. I was trying to wrap my head around how I would be able to give high level patient care at work, care for and give attention to my husband and daughter at home, and take on the three day a week class schedule that was required for the RN to BSN program at the State University in my city.
It was daunting to consider, and I nearly gave up the idea right then and there. That is, until I found that one of the programs offered was specially designed for working nurses. The nursing courses were offered only one day per week, allowing for a single day worth of classroom activities, clinicals and lecture, as opposed to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule.
I was even more relieved to find that a number of the supplemental courses were offered online and even on Saturdays, allowing me to contemplate a feasible and flexible schedule that would complement my working hours without requiring me to rush from school to work or vice-versa. This arrangement also allowed me to maintain days off from both school and work to be with my family and enjoy the finer things in life (yes, I’m talking about sleeping here).
Long story short, I’m saying that there are several hurdles you may run up against as you contemplate heading back to school to become a Baccalaureate prepared nurse, but most of them are surmountable. It is important to take time to investigate each school thoroughly, according to your own prerequisites, to find what is going to work for you.
If you would like to learn more about RN to BSN programs that offer the flexibility of independent scheduling as well as online options, feel free to contact the schools below. I highly recommend looking into the curriculum, cost, and requirements as well, so you can be fully informed before you move forward with your decision making process.
And, as always, please feel free to contact us at any time for more information or to ask specific questions related to furthering your nursing education by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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