If you want to become a registered nurse (RN), earning your BSN (bachelor’s of science in nursing) degree, can open the door to exciting new career prospects. Obtaining a BSN degree will force you to overcome many hurdles, however. It’s wise to come up with a game plan in advance. By structuring your course load evenly and anticipating the scheduling obligations you’ll be tasked with fulfilling, you’ll find it easier to manage your degree program. Here are four specific challenges that you can expect to encounter along the way.

1. Picking a Program

As part of your RN-to-BSN program, you may attend classes at a physical location, online or both. Regardless which kind of program you pick, it’s important to select an option that maintains good standing with your state nursing board. It should also be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). If you prefer learning online, be certain to look for a course whose curriculum is certified by the Quality Matters Program.

2. Making the Mental Shift to Evidence-based Practice

Obtaining your BSN is more rigorous than earning your associate’s degree in nursing (ADN). Many degree programs focus heavily on teaching evidence-based practice. In addition to learning about the essential techniques that support this form of medicine, you’ll be challenged to master the underlying theory and history. Increasing numbers of RN programs are incorporating evidence-based practice into their curricula. You may have to adjust your thinking to align your mindset with the empirical evidence philosophies that dominate this form of medicine.

3. Attaining Research Skills

As part of your evidence-based practice education, you’ll have to learn how to use spreadsheets, write clinical reports, perform case studies and justify your care actions. You’ll also need to connect what you learn in social sciences, statistics, public health and psychology courses to your actual nursing practice and potentially complete intensive senior projects. To perform well in these subjects, you must hone your research and writing skills. If you know that these are weak points, you may want to look for degree programs that allow you to improve your competencies with appropriate electives.

4. Managing Your Current Career

Many people who pursue RN-to-BSN degrees are already working nurses. These individuals may find it harder to attend certain programs and fulfill their existing professional obligations. Because there are so many different options, it’s probably best to search for flexible diploma programs that let you study part-time, over extended periods or online.

Related Resources:
Top 10 Cheap Online RN to BSN Degree Programs
30 Best Affordable RN-BSN Degree Programs
Cheapest Accredited Online RN to BSN Programs to Most Expensive

Pursuing additional nursing education is a great way to improve your bedside practice. It can also further your understanding of the evidence-based medical techniques that move your career forward.