If you are one of the 2.7 million registered nurses in the United States, you may be looking at ways to advance your career. While some RNs hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, many still do not. With the growing complexity of healthcare and the continued need for competent, highly educated nurses to take on leadership roles in the long-term and primary care of patients, healthcare professionals have called for increased numbers of nurses to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. Many working nurses are finding the flexibility of an online RN to BSN program to be a great help in achieving this goal.
The flexibility and speed of an online program
More than 400 accredited RN to BSN programs can be completed fully or partially online. Enrollment in these programs is on the rise. Many working nurses find much to appreciate in an online RN to BSN program because it provides the flexibility to complete coursework around a busy work and personal schedule and allows them to complete a degree more quickly than a traditional program. While many on-campus RN to BSN programs take around two years to complete, online programs may take 12-18 months or even as little as nine months, depending on which coursework you’ve completed prior to starting the program and how much time you are able to devote to your studies.
Working and earning a degree
The question, “How long does it take to get a BSN?” has multiple answers. Online programs provide flexibility that can work in your favor whether you hope to finish the degree at an accelerated pace or decide to stretch the degree out over several years. Regardless, there are multiple advantages of continuing to work while in school. Not only do you continue to earn a salary, but you will also have a built-in practical component for the more hands-on knowledge you’ll be learning in your coursework. Depending on your situation, you may need to consider whether you can take courses full time or part time. If you are able to become a full-time student and drop your working hours to part time, you may find that you are able to finish the degree more quickly and that you have access to more financial aid.
How you utilize the flexibility of an online RN to BSN program is up to you. The exciting thing is that by pursuing your BSN, you will better prepare yourself for the challenges of leadership and learning that lie ahead in your nursing career. Nurses who hold a BSN degree typically earn more income than those who do not, and a BSN opens up possibilities to pursue advanced degrees. Perhaps even more importantly, the BSN provides you with the opportunity to acquire new knowledge in nursing research, community health and other key areas that will help you grow as a professional and serve your patients with greater confidence.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Registered Nurses. Retrieved April 20, 2015, from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm
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