Nursing is one of the more noble professions any person can choose. What better way to spend one’s day helping those who are sick and scared to feel better? While many registered nurses get their initial training at the community college level at some point they may wish for career advancement. When this is the case the best way to do so is to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, known as a BSN. Since these nurses usually work long hours on various shifts it’s almost impossible for them to attend traditional in-person classes. The answer then is to look for an accredited online BSN program. Many colleges and universities offer online BSN degrees for registered nurses looking to advance their careers.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree
A BSN degree acts as a bridge for those RN’s who wish to move up the career ladder. It lets them expand their medical knowledge, broadens their scope of patient care and prepares them for graduate studies for advanced nursing jobs such as:
- Nurse midwife
- Nurse practitioner
- Nurse anesthetist
Applicants to these programs must be currently licensed registered nurses. If accepted to an online program it’s possible to finish it in as little as 16 months depending upon how much time per week is devoted to study. Students must have access to a computer with internet capability, a webcam, word processing and other office software, e-mail and any additional specialized medical software that is required by the program. Some software can be downloaded while some may need to be purchased.
This degree may be arguably the most demanding of any online program. In addition to online classes students are required to complete practicums demonstrating their ability to take hands-on patient care and put it into real-world practice. All practicums are supervised by a nurse practitioner and held at local medical facilities near the student. Students must be self-motivated and prepared to spend up to 10 hours per week on each class. Online discussion groups are used for group projects and providing peer support. Professors usually offer online office hours to provide a more personal environment.
Courses in an online BSN program focus mostly on developing a nurse’s clinical reasoning and analytical skills. Courses taken can include the following:
- Health assessment
- Issues in nursing practice
- Concepts and processes of contemporary nursing
- Nursing leadership and management
- Clinical concepts in population-focused nursing
- Nursing informatics
- Exploring complementary and alternative practices
- Nursing Research and statistics for evidence-based practice
In taking these courses the program attempts to build upon nursing skills learned early on and enhance them with advanced coursework.
BSN degrees are becoming more and more important to employers. The American Association of Critical Care Nurses has conducted research indicating that lower mortality rates, less errors and higher quality of care are all associated with nurses who have a BSN degree. Due to these findings most medical centers now require RN’s to hold a BSN before being hired. This is especially the case at high-level medical centers like magnet hospitals and academic medical facilities. Some jobs a BSN degree can lead to are:
- Nurse Educator
- Unit Manager
- Nurse Supervisor
- Nurse Clinician
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports RN’s with a BSN will be given preference regarding salaries, benefits and shifts. Salaries for RN’s with a BSN will average close to $80,000 yearly.