RN-BSN Completion Programs
Rn-bsn programs are university-level programs specifically designed to address the educational needs of associate degree or diploma rns who desire to complete the requirements for a bsn. Graduates of these programs earn a fully accredited bachelor of science in nursing degree. Many hospitals require the baccalaureate degree for management, patient care coordinator, and educator positions.
Applicants for bsn completion programs must hold a current unencumbered license to practice as an rn in the united states. Usually there are the additional requirements of a college gpa of 2.5 or above and no prerequisite grades below a "c." some rn-bsn programs require applicants to have completed prior nursing degrees from an accredited institution; others forgo this stipulation. My rn-bsn program readily accepted the credits i earned from my adn program, even though it was not nln accredited.
If the interested rn is a diploma graduate from a hospital-based school of nursing, he or she may be required to take the college level examination program (clep) exams to receive credit for courses previously taken without college credit.
There are more than 600 rn-bsn programs nationwide, with over 30,000 students enrolled at any given time. Programs can span anywhere from 12 to 36 months in duration, depending on the number of courses completed at the time of admission to the program, program requirements, and number of courses one chooses to take per semester. It took me 3 semesters to complete my rn-bsn program back in 1998-1999, a credit equivalency of 130 semester hours.
There are also approximately 140 programs nationwide to transition rns with diplomas and associate degrees to the master's degree level (msn), but this is the subject of another blog.
Some prerequisite courses must be taken before entrance into most rn-bsn programs. These courses may include organic chemistry, health, microbiology, statistics, college algebra, and specified electives. There may be a time limit for acceptance of academic credit (particularly with the sciences and statistics). Most programs allow the transfer of 30 to 60 college credits, depending on prior articulation agreements. I was awarded full credit for my adn courses since i had planned ahead and took "college transfer" community college courses.
In my experience, the most difficult part of the bsn-completion process was getting the prerequisite courses out of the way. I worked nights after graduation from my adn program and the schedule for these prerequisite courses at the local community college was not accommodating to my needs. Therefore, i ended up taking most of the prerequisites by correspondence (this was before the days of online courses). I had already taken a few prerequisites while completing my adn (college algebra and microbiology).
Today, most bsn completion programs are very student-friendly. Great efforts are made to meet the needs of nurses returning to school (some after decades of being away) and facilitate the transition from the adn/diploma to the bsn level. Some rn-bsn degree programs are totally online, others offer a combination of online and traditional classroom courses, and still others are situated on satellite campuses in students' hometown areas. Many bsn-completion programs offer flexible class scheduling, which allows learners to continue working full time while going to school part time.
Degree completion programs provide rns with additional education and build on previous knowledge. Typically, students are given some credit for their prior knowledge and work experience. Rn-bsn program objectives and teaching methodologies take into account the professional and life experiences of rn students.
Rn to bsn programs provide course work to enhance professional development and explore current political, cultural, and social issues that impact patient care delivery systems. Additional courses that these students may take include health assessment, pathophysiology, community health, leadership, research, health policy, and a few additional clinical courses, although this is not the major focus of rn-bsn programs.
Clinical content focuses on what students did not cover in their adn program and the clinical experiences may be completed in students' local areas. I had an excellent "pilot project" interdiscipinary rural health clinical experience. For this, i was paired with allied health students (med students, pharmacy students, and nutrition students) as we worked on various projects to enhance the health of the rural community. Another experience allowed us to visit various community agencies, such as a soup kitchen and a domestic violence shelter. For my clinical capstone, i followed a nurse practitioner for 120 hours over 6 weeks. This last experience was exhausting, but i learned so much from my wise mentor!
My rn-bsn educational experience was great: the faculty were exceptional, inspiring, and supportive. I grew professionally in ways i had not even envisioned. Getting my BSN also opened professional doors for me that I had not foreseen. It proved to be one of my smartest career moves. To those who are pondering this educational path, my advice is go for it!
all things nursingLast edit by Joe V on Feb 3, '13
Joined: Mar '01; Posts: 12,046; Likes: 6,492
Nurse Educator; from US
16 year(s) of experience in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, pedsAug 19, '09thanks for the article, i am going to graduate as an RN coming feb. i don't understand should i go for rn-bsn online prog from ut elpaso. or rn-msn. and also if someone can give advise what kind of msn is in demand.Aug 26, '09Hi, VickyRN
I completely agree with you, I just completed my RN-BSN program in June of 09 and I really feel that it was a great decision on my part. I highly encourage anyone considering this career path to make the decision do complete their degree.Aug 27, '09Quote from eugeniaYes, this is definitely a smart career move. Shortly after I received my BSN, I was able to start as full-time faculty at a local community college. This was an unexpected door that opened for me because of my BSN.Hi, VickyRN
I completely agree with you, I just completed my RN-BSN program in June of 09 and I really feel that it was a great decision on my part. I highly encourage anyone considering this career path to make the decision do complete their degree.Aug 27, '09It was very informative, having received my Diploma in Europe I had no idea about the details required to be accepted into a BSN program.Sep 20, '09I'm excited to "finally" be getting my BSN (even though it's only been a few years since I graduated with my ADN). I've had almost nothing but positive experiences so far, and have recommended the program I am in to several other nurses who have asked about it! I'm excited to see the doors that can/will open for me once I've completed the program as well!Sep 21, '09Quote from AnerooExcellent, Aneroo. By advancing your education, you are investing in yourself And wonderful opportunities will open up for you.I'm excited to "finally" be getting my BSN (even though it's only been a few years since I graduated with my ADN). I've had almost nothing but positive experiences so far, and have recommended the program I am in to several other nurses who have asked about it! I'm excited to see the doors that can/will open for me once I've completed the program as well!Sep 22, '09I heard a few of my prior nursing instructors say that ADN/RNs only make about a dollar less than BSN/RNs, but that's not been my real life experience.
A BSN/RN also opens up many more employment opportunities than ADNs.
To my knowledge, only the Army accepts ADNs, while all other military branches accept
only BSNs, no ADNs.
I took the Pre-Nursing program in preparation for BSN, got my ADN, then went on from there.
It's a short stint from ADN to BSN that way, and well worth it! Most can be done online
while you work full time.
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