As more services move online, it is no surprise that nursing education has followed. The convenience of online classes convinces many people that further education is possible while working and juggling family needs. More than half of schools offering Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) completion programs offer at least part of their RN to BSN program online. This is in response to the demand from employers looking for nurses who have completed a bachelor’s degree. An American Association of Colleges of Nursing survey from 2014 showed that 80 percent of employers require or prefer nurses to have a baccalaureate degree. As such, many nurses turn to online RN to BSN programs to advance their education while working.
Advanced degrees help move nurses out of traditional roles
As healthcare market dynamics continue to evolve, nurses are taking larger roles with health systems looking to adapt and thrive in the future. These broader roles in process improvement and healthcare design require additional training.
Enrollment in RN to BSN programs has risen every year for the past 12 years, with a 10.4 percent increase from 2013 to 2014.
Nurses benefit from BSN completion programs by achieving professional development, enhanced analytical skills and a better understanding of the market forces pushing on healthcare,
Popularity also driven by IOM recommendations
Behind the staggering growth in online RN to BSN program enrollment is the recommendations of a 2010 Institute of Medicine report called “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change and Advancing Health.” Among its recommendations, the report called for nurses to practice at the top of their license, seek higher education and use data effectively to help manage changes in the healthcare system. In addition, as more hospitals seek Magnet® designation, many nurses will be required to have earned at least a BSN to be employed at those institutions.
The length of online RN to BSN programs varies but generally ranges from one to two years. In addition to data analysis and professional development skills, nurses in these programs gain a broader understanding of the range of challenges facing patients who can be impacted by care delivery, such as cultural, economic and social issues.
Completing an online RN to BSN program enhances a nurse’s skills and perspective to the benefit of patients. As the profession continues to gain in stature, BSN completion programs are integral tools to success for many students wanting to remain in the workforce while advancing their education.
Learn more about the University of Rhode Island’s online RN to BS in Nursing program.
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