2011Spring-Frontpage-FutureOfNursing1

So, this might sound a little off topic for The NP Mom, but I know many nurses read this blog – as well as working adults, considering an online college program.  I did much of my post-master’s education online, because of the PERFECT fit it provided my family.  Have you ever considered a career in nursing or an online education?  Then this blog is for you.

A guest post by Vera Mosley – an avid blogger that specializes in nursing and education matters.”

Although a two-year ADN degree is sufficient for entry-level nursing positions, more and more healthcare facilities are putting an emphasis on higher education. It is because of this that the popularity of BSN online programs is steadily increasing. As a working nurse, however, you may be wondering if working toward an online degree is really the right career move for you. In order to make your decision easier, we will take a closer look at what exactly it is that online RN-BSN programs have to offer and how such a program could fit into your lifestyle. 

Why should you consider enrolling in BSN online programs?

  • Prepare for the future – Although it is true that both ADN and BSN programs are able to provide you with the clinical knowledge that you need to find work as a nurse, it has been said by the American Association of Colleges and Nursing (AACN) that “having nurses prepared at the BSN level translates into better patient care”. In addition, an AACN fact sheet has revealed information from studies that have shown a decrease in mortality, fewer medication errors, and a jump in positive outcomes when RNs have achieved their BSN degrees. Although this is not to discredit RNs with a lower degree, statements and studies like these have influenced states like New York and New Jersey to consider proposal that all ADN nurses achieve their BSNs within the next decade. Only time will tell if legislature of this nature will actually come to pass, however, for those who are preparing for a long future in nursing, it may be wise to achieve their BSNs. 
  • Be considered for other positions – One of the major differences between an RN-ADN and an RN-BSN is the ability to change the direction of your career path within the healthcare industry. Although it is possible for an ADN to be able to move up the ladder or switch to an education-focused role, typically those with a higher degree will be considered first for managerial or teaching positions. For those who like to know that they have options, BSN online programs may be the way to go.
  • Knowledge is power – Putting aside the potential for pay raises or priority in being considered for higher job positions, obtaining a BSN should come from your own personal drive. The greatest advantage to achieving a higher degree is the knowledge and training that you will receive. An education is one of the few things that no one can ever take from you, and the knowledge that you receive while working toward your BSN will empower you on a personal and work-related level. 

How long does it take to earn a BSN online?

The exact time that it will take you to earn your BSN degree will depend on you and the time that you have to invest in your program. Typically, if worked at continuously, an RN-ADN can achieve the BSN level within 2 to 2.5 years.  If you have credits beyond your ADN that will transfer toward the credit hours required to earn a higher degree, the duration of your program will be decreased. 

How can the study required for BSN online programs fit into your life?

  • Multi-Task – Make use of the time while you’re waiting for a pot to boil or a casserole to bake and get your nose in your book. You can study your notes while walking on the elliptical machine at the gym, quiz yourself on your lunch break, and you can even brush up on your studies when taking a bath. 
  • One sacrifice a day – By simply cutting out one thing a day (ie: one TV show, one hour of internet games, etc.), you can find time to work on school without sacrificing all of the things that bring you joy in life.
  • Plan a cram session – In the days leading up to a major test, it is natural to feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Even if you feel that you know that material, it’s a smart idea to plan a day out in advance that you know you can dedicate to quizzing yourself, refreshing your memory, and (yes), even getting a little R&R to relax your mind. 
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