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Online vs Face-to-Face RN-to-BSN Programs

Hi All,

I'm looking into pursuing an RN-to-BSN completion program. One thing I'm noticing is that many face-to-face programs seem to include Pathophysiology, Pharmacotherapy, and other more science-oriented courses, whereas the online programs seem to not include these as much. Has anyone noticed this? Any opinions about the quality of online versus face-to-face? Any experience with employers showing preference regarding the institution from which the BSN was obtained, or is the only thing that matters whether the degree came from an accredited institution? Thanks!!

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

I live in a large metropolitan area, with several colleges/universities, all but one of which offer RN-BSN either online, in the classroom, or both. For schools which offer both, there is no variation between the online and classroom-based curricula.

Are you sure that you're not comparing a college/university's pre-licensure program to their online RN-BSN completion program? The pre-licensure program is of course going to have to include formal pathophys and pharmacology as it will be students' first exposure. But many programs work this content into courses that are given a more broad title.

Thank you, Altra. That may be the case. However, I've noticed this same discrepancy at my local university as well, University of Southern Maine- specifically the in-classroom RN-to-BSN program lists Pathophysiology as a requirement before beginning the nursing-specific core courses, however, I believe it is assumed that the student already has a license and is practicing. To be honest, I was almost looking forward to Pathophysiology, as it has not yet been required of me thus far- although I've taken many sciences, Pathophys was not required of me to earn my ADN. It feels almost uncomfortable to think of earning a BSN without ever having taken Pathophysiology, but I can't seem to find an online program that includes it in the curriculum. Thanks for the response!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

I completed an online RN-to-BSN program because I wanted to continue working three 12-hour night shifts per week while attending school.

As far as the validity of online degrees is concerned, it is not as if your degree or transcripts are stamped with a notation to indicate you completed your education online. In fact, my BSN degree helped me land a great non-bedside job recently.

My online RN to BSN program did have a pharm class as well as as patho class which I guess was supposed to build on what I learned in my ADN program, but I don't feel it actually did that. Maybe they assume that since we were ADN prepared nurses we weren't "properly" prepared in those areas? I'm not sure. Honestly, I went with the program I did because of cost, convenience, and because it didn't require clinical hours, and I didn't have to do any addition pre-reqs in addition to what I had already done for my ADN and the AA I had. I didn't do a whole lot of looking into the actual classes I would have to take. It didn't bother me having to take the patho and pharm classes. It was a nice refresher I guess.

Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond. I too am interested in lower cost and convenience of the program. Guess I just wanna make sure I don't sell myself short on skills I may need later... If I later went on to earn an MSN would it be assumed that I'd already taken pathophysiology & pharmacology?

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

Thread has been moved to our Nursing Online Distance Learning forum to generate more feedback and replies.


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