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Required by work to get BSN - Don't want to write endless papers

Nurse Beth   (16,720 Views 29 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse Verified

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I need to get my BSN per hospital policy. Nineteen years ago I had accumulated almost 1/2 the credits necessary. I imagine they've expired & I'd have to start from scratch. Right now I have very little free time to devote to getting my degree. I need to find an online RN-to-BSN program that will primarily utilize work experience toward the degree requirements instead of endless papers! Where do I look?


Dear Doesn't Want to Write Papers,

A good place to hear what other RNs have to say is here on site, the RN to BSN Online School forum.

When choosing a school, it's most important that it's accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Here's a link that compares several top rn to bsn online programs. They vary in number of credits required, and the number of credits they will accept for your ADN.

I would make a spreadsheet, pick 8-10 accredited schools, and compare by price, length of time to complete, and credits required.

There are no shortcuts to getting your BSN. You can't avoid writing papers. It's part of academia, it's part of the work required to earn your degree, and any reputable school will require written papers. Think about changing your mindset and thinking of it as a new skill. You have to do it regardless, you can't change that, but you can change your response to it.

Best of luck,

Nurse Beth

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55 Posts; 2,709 Profile Views

I am an older student and got my BSN from University of Texas at Arlington. It was all online. It was not just papers. I already had my ADN so I had to take English, Algebra, Fine Art (Humanities), History, Statistics, etc. along with nursing classes. Yes, there are some classes that require writing papers but most classes in the BSN program require taking tests. It takes self-discipline but online does not waste time driving to school, parking, waiting for class to start. With online you can study anywhere, anytime as long as you have an Internet connection. I started college at 48 and am now getting my Master's Degree at WGU. They offer BSN degrees too. I really like WGU because they assign you a mentor to help you get through your program, plus each class assigns you a class mentor to help. The MSN IS paper after paper. I have been in school 8 out of the last 10 years. Yes, you miss some social activities but I have a 3.91 GPA and that makes me feel great! Good Luck. You can do it.

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Natkat has 8 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in dialysis.

867 Posts; 13,284 Profile Views

I also just completed my BSN from Western Givernors University, last week as a matter of fact. I did a lot of research. I asked everyone who was or has been in school for their BSN and Wedtern Governors kept coming up so that's what I did.

Dont let let not wanting to write papers stand between you and your degree. Just like you wouldn't let paying rent stand between you and homelessness. Sometimes in life we have to do things we don't want to do. It's not so bad. If you just keep going you'll get there, and your course mentors are there to guide you every step of the way. I'd say go for it. It's worth it.

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10 Posts; 1,107 Profile Views

I went to WGU (Western Governors University). It's 100% online and you'll be so glad you did it! It's competency based and you can get through with it as quickly as you need to.

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Fleur deLirious has 28 years experience and specializes in Rehab, Ortho, Telemetry.

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24 years after having switched from BSN to ASN programs due to financial constraints and graduating with an ASN, I returned to school and graduated with my BSN from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2012. I had always felt like a failure for not having earned a Bachelor's degree, and it weighed on me until I just had to go for it. I also saw the writing on the wall, with many hospitals hiring BSN-prepared nurses over ASN/Diploma RNs. I looked at many programs, and eventually chose UTA for several reasons:

1. I wanted a program that was fully accredited, with a solid reputation.

2. I wanted a school that had a brick-and-mortar component, not an "online-only" school with no solid foundation and extensive history. UTA is a state institution, and has been around for well over 100 years. They are also renowned as a research institution.

3. UTA's online nursing program was very highly rated.

4. UTA accepted ALL of my college credits (from 1984-1988). Not some of them. ALL of them. They also allowed me to use my specialty certification to count for one of my 3-hour elective courses. There are several colleges that will accept all of your prior college credits, with no limit on how recent they are. You worked hard for those credits; you shouldn't have to spend your time and money taking those courses again!

5. At the time of my enrollment, UTA had one of the best price packages going; and your cost was locked in as long as you took at least one course per year (I completed my degree in less than 2 years, though). Please note that the price lock did NOT pertain to the non-nursing courses, so if you enroll and need electives, I would suggest taking those early on to avoid price hikes. I believe they still offer the same "Academic Partnership" program, though the price has increased over the last few years.

OK. All that said, my opinion of online education was drastically changed by the time I graduated. I really didn't think online courses would be very difficult, but if you think it's a "pay your fees, get your B's" environment, think again. It was pretty much as hard as brick-and-mortar education, though some of the methods had to be adapted for the online format. I worked my tail off to graduate Summa Cum Laude, and I'm very proud of it. It's not a store-bought degree; it's hard-earned. Working full time, I found it hard to take more than one course at a time. I honestly don't know how my classmates with young children survived at all.

For me, the only thing that I HATED about the program (and they all have this component) was the group projects, designed to help you learn collaboration skills. I collaborate every day at work. Mostly what I learned from these group projects was that there are still people in this world (even RNs, the most respected profession) who are content and even determined to ride your coattails and graciously accept a grade they did not earn. I just had to give up my anger and leave it to Karma to reward them for their lack of effort at some point.

Do your homework. Compare the schools. Demand credit for your college courses, no matter how old they are. Look at the national reputation of the schools you are considering, and make sure their nursing program is fully accredited. And finally, congratulations for making a decision that, though you feel pressured into it, will give you a great sense of fulfillment and pride once you have that degree!

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1edwood79 has 20 years experience and specializes in Epic Trainer, Med/Surg, Psych.

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Is no one else disturbed by the fact that experienced nurses are being forced to get BSNs to keep jobs they have been doing for years? Where are out unions and professional organizations on this? If they were truly representing the best interests of nurses, or for that matter patients, they would be defending us from this BS, not advocating it.

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Is no one else disturbed by the fact that experienced nurses are being forced to get BSNs to keep jobs they have been doing for years? Where are out unions and professional organizations on this? If they were truly representing the best interests of nurses, or for that matter patients, they would be defending us from this BS, not advocating it.

Well, the part of the country in which I've spent most of my career doesn't have unions. And most of the professional organizations in nursing are in favor of higher educational standards, AFAIK.

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Seems that to be fair, established nurses without BSN should be offered incentives to pursue BSN. They should not be fired. Unions should press this point. Any new hires should be BSN only. Any experienced nurses who choose not to pursue BSN should be grandfathered in and allowed to keep working, except that there may be a pay differential to BSN RNs.

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wolf9653 has 20 years experience and specializes in Psych,LTC,.

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Hi, my school accepted my community college credits, where applicable, over 25 years later. So keep your fingers crossed on that. For my BSN I went to a local college, and they had about half of it online. There were a lot of papers. I guess it depends on the school.I did like being able to have some face to face time with my teachers, which I think makes for a fuller experience. But everybody's different.

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4 Posts; 567 Profile Views

Don't know about the Unions, but I know the BONs WANT the higher degree because they think it will make Nursing a more prestigious position, and it would give more of a reason to be paid more.

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LadyFree28 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma.

8,427 Posts; 75,497 Profile Views

Seems that to be fair, established nurses without BSN should be offered incentives to pursue BSN. They should not be fired. Unions should press this point. Any new hires should be BSN only. Any experienced nurses who choose not to pursue BSN should be grandfathered in and allowed to keep working, except that there may be a pay differential to BSN RNs.

I agree with this-to a point... If there should be a "differential" to BSN RNs, it should be a yearly bonus or something like that; having a peer who may be a senior nurse make less or different amount of money because they don't have a BSN seems a little unfair-at least to me...not saying that's what you are saying, but I'm just looking at that idea and how it can be interpreted from other angles.

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55 Posts; 2,709 Profile Views

I could have written this exact post. Going to UTA was great but hard and I agree about the group projects. I quickly learned to take the lead because the one project I didn't was mediocre at best. Not being ugly but one woman turned in her plagerized part of a paper 10 hours before it was due that I then rewrote. Another guy said he was going out to ride his horse and he didn't care about the project. I was surprised and sad that they did not care what grade they got as long as they passed. If my name is on it, I want it to be the best I can do. Same goes for my job.

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