There are many legitimate career, academic and personal reasons why a nurse should earn their RN-BSN degree online. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing(AACN), approximately 34 percent of four-year, nursing degree graduates are RN-BSN students. Read below to learn why this degree is so beneficial and why you should complete it online.
Most traditional RN-BSN programs require approximately 120 credit hours. This will take students with an associate’s degree two years to complete, as long as they have completed the 60 credit hours of lower division undergraduate courses. Most RN-BSN programs will require 30 credit hours of upper division nursing courses and 30 credit hours of clinical training. RNs who already have a nursing diploma, industry certification, supervisory experience or accredited on-site training continuing education credits (CEUs) may be able to earn or transfer credits from their previous programs and experiences.
There are also accelerated online programs that offer distinct advantages, such as a lesser time commitment than traditional RN-BSN programs. These programs may only take 12 to 18 months to complete, but the workload will be more intensive and demanding. These online degree programs will also come with a stricter admission, screening and performance standard.
RN-BSN degree programs are dedicated to giving nurses the skill sets needed to deliver superior levels of care in various health care systems and environments. Online nursing degrees, just like brick-and-mortar degrees, will focus on three main nursing areas. First, they focus on leadership, communication, critical thinking and other professional development competencies that increase efficiency, accuracy and collaboration. Second, advanced technical proficiencies that allow nurses to treat a wider range of patients and symptoms are a focus.Third, nurses learn cultural and diversity awareness that helps them to understand various factors that impact the delivery of medical care for most Americans. Fourth, these degree programs prepare students to pursue nursing specialties in surgery, oncology, diabetes, psychiatry, pediatrics and gynecology. Beyond career advancement and development, these degrees teach students that higher nursing education makes major differences in clinical and patient outcomes.
Online and traditional classes will teach identical content and require the same assignments. Basic and prerequisite courses will cover biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and microbiology. All of these courses can be easily completed through distance education platforms. Students may also take non-medical related electives that will help them in their careers, such as classes in leadership, organizational dynamics, information technology, project management.
RN-BSN degree programs will include upper level nursing courses. These are usually ethics, anatomy, statistics, physiology, nutrition, nursing procedures, legal guidelines, health care informatics and evidence-based research. Some degrees may offer advanced electives in community health, nursing administration and professional development. Most degrees allow students to take classes in OB-GYN, surgical, adult, pediatric and geriatric nursing.
Keep in mind that most RN-BSN degree programs will require applicants to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and receive their nursing license before they can be admitted. There may be special grammar, vocabulary, mathematics and reading comprehension exams. Some degrees require students to pass a drug screening, physical exam and criminal background check before they can participate in the program.