Whether you have taken years to establish your nursing career or are jumping straight into your bachelor of science in nursing, commonly shortened to BSN, your life is probably much more hectic now than it was when you first entered nursing school.
Traditional nursing programs can be difficult to work into an already busy schedule, but luckily, there are some great online nursing degree programs available now. If you are questioning whether or not to pursue an online BSN program, here are five things to consider before earning your RN-BSN degree online.
Before you make any final decisions, it is crucial for you to research all of the institutions you are considering applying to. The two major accrediting organizations that you should be on the lookout for are The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, or CCNE, and the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission, or NLNAC.
2. Admission Requirements
Before you add a program to your shortlist of options, be sure that you have a clear understanding of what the school’s admission requirements are for earning your RN-BSN degree online. Most schools will require a specific set of prerequisite courses, verification that you are an active RN and completion of an accredited two-year nursing program prior to application.
Make sure to note down any submission deadlines as well because many programs are strict and limited in space.
3. Nursing Career Goals
As you know, nursing is an immense field filled with plenty of opportunities and dozens of career paths. It is important to define your career goals before you apply to any RN-BSN programs because each school has a different set of benefits to offer you.
It may seem unnecessary to research and plan according to your career goals, but choosing a program that fits well with where you hope your nursing career will take you can make a difference. Schools that mesh well with your career goals will have more opportunities for you to make connections and gain experience in your chosen specialty, even if the program is long-distance.
4. Financial Commitments
Some people are able to finance their education easily, but the majority of people need assistance before they can afford to earn an RN-BSN degree online. If you will need financial assistance to enroll in a BSN program, affordability should be a factor you consider when choosing a school. There are many scholarships, grants and aid packages available to nurses who meet a school’s criteria, so it is worth taking the extra time to find out what sort of aid is offered before choosing a program. Some schools even partner with healthcare organizations to provide tuition reimbursement, so if you are already employed in healthcare, ask your employer about education assistance.
5. Time Commitments
Anyone who has been through nursing school understands firsthand how daunting the workload can be, and earning your RN-BSN degree online is no exception to that. Despite the fact that you likely have a family, career and adult responsibilities, instructors will demand all of your time. It can be easy to put off work when you are not in a physical classroom, but your success in an online program depends on setting up a strict schedule and sticking to it.
Nursing is a constantly growing and expanding field. Medical institutions are already giving preference to nurses with a bachelor’s degree, which means there is no better time than now to further your education. Obtaining your BSN will open up a world of opportunities for you, but be sure to consider these five things before earning your RN to BSN degree online.