Registered nurses with a diploma or associate degree may wonder how long it takes to earn an RN-BSN degree for advancement. RN-BSN programs offer an accelerated path by offering credit for previous schooling and life experience. Most RN-BSN degrees can be completed within 18 to 24 months full-time. Part-time learners typically have five or six semesters to finish their degree requirements. Colleges offering RN-BSN programs usually offer an online or hybrid format that mixes in-class meetings with online coursework. This gives registered nurses the flexibility to achieve their RN-BSN degree in a self-paced mode while working. Licensed RNs can significantly expand their technical skills and clinical knowledge within a fairly short time. If you’re considering returning to school, here’s what you must know about RN-BSN degrees.
Reasons to Pursue a RN-BSN
Having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is becoming the standard for professional nursing practice. The Institute of Medicine has called for an 80% BSN workforce by 2020 to increase the quality of patient care, according to Reflections of Nursing Leadership. Research has linked baccalaureate-level nurses with lower medical errors, reduced risk of patient death, and increased productivity. Finishing an RN-BSN program could make you more marketable for nursing jobs, especially in specialties. Many hospitals and other health organizations have added “BSN Preferred” to their job listings. A bachelor’s degree expands clinical leadership skills for supervisory roles, which provide higher income. BSN nurses can also attend graduate school to earn a Master of Science in Nursing.
Typical RN-BSN Curriculum
Completing an RN-BSN program takes anywhere from one to three years, but the wealth of knowledge developed is invaluable. Nurses will typically begin by completing general education courses in the liberal arts, humanities, and natural sciences. This well-rounded core will expand essential critical thinking and decision-making skills for good bedside manner. Next, RN-BSN students will further their nursing courses to the 300 and 400 level. The curriculum could include courses like community health, patient assessment, nursing informatics, care coordination, nursing research, and healthcare leadership. The majority of courses may be online, but RN-BSN programs also generally include field practicum with local healthcare providers.
Choosing the Right RN-BSN Program
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there are currently 679 RN-BSN programs in the United States. More than 400 are available at least partially online. Selecting the right degree from this plethora of higher education options is tough. One of the most important considerations is accreditation because it determines whether you’ll qualify for transfer and financial aid. Regionally accredited colleges with CCNE or ACEN accreditation are best. If courses aren’t online, the school’s location and proximity to leading health organizations should be considered. Tuition is another factor to avoid falling into debt. In-state public colleges usually cost much less than out-of-state public or private schools. You should also weigh the schools’ specialties, class sizes, clinical opportunities, and job placement rates.
Related Resource: Search 50 Most Affordable Competitive Colleges for Online RN-BSN Degrees
Being a registered nurse doesn’t necessarily require a bachelor’s degree, but the increasingly complex profession now prefers it. Pursuing a RN-BSN degree offers an ideal, accelerated pathway for advancing. Having a BSN can unlock doors into popular specialties like psychiatric mental health, pediatrics, orthopedics, geriatrics, informatics, and administration. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, reports that America’s over 2.7 million registered nurses earn an average yearly salary of $71,000. Now that you know how long it takes to earn an RN-BSN degree, you can determine whether it’s a smart investment for your career.