As you think about your nursing education, you may be wondering how to incorporate the clinical experiences you need. While this is relatively easy to do in a traditional nursing program, you may be curious as to how it is accomplished if you decide to pursue your degree in a non-traditional, online program. One of the benefits of enrolling in an online RN-BSN program is, of course, the flexibility it offers. Some of that flexibility includes the ability to work on classes at home and at the hours that work best for you. However, a nursing degree must include hands-on, clinical experience as well as academic coursework. Read on to learn some of the ways online RN-BSN programs may include that.
Benefits and Challenges of an Online Bridge Program
As mentioned, there are many benefits of online nursing programs, especially if they are bridge programs like the RN-BSN. One of the chief benefits is the flexibility such a program provides for someone who needs to continue to work while pursuing their degree. Working from home allows you the space and time to pace your coursework around family and vocational responsibilities. If you are pursuing an online RN-BSN program, then you must already be a registered nurse (RN) and are seeking to finish a bachelor degree in nursing. You may have become an RN either after completing a diploma program or more likely after completing an associate’s (two-year) degree. The advantage to pursuing online courses toward your BSN is that you can continue to work as a nurse while pushing forward with your schooling. Sometimes you can even receive help from your workplace, in the shape of tuition reimbursement. Even though the flexibility can be very good, sometimes it can feel challenging to juggle both your work commitment and your schooling.
Clinical Experiences Via Your Previous Work Experience
Of course one of the main benefits of working as an RN while you pursue your BSN online is that you will already have some clinical experience under your belt. Clinical experience is considered “hands on” practical nursing experience, and you will already have done a good bit of that to become an RN in the first place. It’s possible that you will not be required to do much more in order to obtain your BSN. If you do need to obtain more practical experience, it is possible that you can do so through your existing workplace. The important thing in either case is that you communicate clearly with your nursing program advisor to make sure that your previous or current work fulfills your clinical experience obligations. If more is needed, the advisor should be able to help you find a convenient location in which to complete it.
Although every nursing student is unique and different educational paths work for each one, it can be a good idea to look into online bridge programs. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing believes that nurses with their BSN are well-prepared for the demands placed on them. If you already hold an RN but have not yet completed your BSN, online RN-BSN programs offer plenty of flexibility, including flexibility regarding your needed clinical experiences.