Comprehensive Guide to Online RN to BSN Degrees and Programs
OnlineRNtoBSN.com's sole purpose is to inform you on all you need to know about Online RN to BSN programs. With hundreds of RN-BSN programs in our database from hundreds of schools, colleges, and universities in the United States, you are sure to be able to find the best program for you.
Career as a Registered Nurse with a BSN
With a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, Registered Nurses have a number of different pathways they can travel. There are a number of different specialties in nursing, from working with kids (pediatrics), to cancer-specific (oncology), to working with the elderly (geriatrics). We have compiled different career options for RN's, and assembled them with data we've researched as well as a write-up of the skills, training, certifications, and degrees necessary.
Top BSN Specialties
Keep in Mind
RN's with a BSN tend to have higher wages, more career options, and different management or leadership opportunities. Find out more.
Not all Online RN to BSN Programs are created equal. Be sure your program is accredited. CCNE or ACEN accredited programs tend to be the best.
Check with your current employer for tuition repayment programs. Many hospitals and healthcare facilities have such programs to help RN's get their BSN and beyond.
There are a number of different types of…Learn more >
There are various nursing professions that are specifically…Learn more >
Nurses willing to obtain a career path which…Learn more >
Trauma nurses are registered nurses who provide emergency…Learn more >
Registered nurses with an associate degree often choose…Learn more >
Registered nurses are medical professionals who assist doctors…Learn more >
Oncology nurses work with cancer patients and help…Learn more >
Registered nursing is a rewarding and demanding career,…Learn more >
Types of Online BSN Programs
A BSN degree has become the most preferred qualification that a nurse should have to grow in his or her career. If you want to pursue higher degree in nursing, you must have a degree in BSN as it will be a prerequisite for a Master degree in Nursing.
It will give you the best job opportunity in the healthcare sector. It is a four-year program that demands serious commitment from students. For working students this program has the scope for online classes but for practical training, you have to attend classes in local hospitals or on campus.
For the students who do not have a bachelor degree in any field, they will need four years to complete a BSN. But if you have a bachelor degree in non-science field, you can apply for the BSN program and earn your degree in just two to two-and-half years. For those who have a bachelor degree in science can be able to apply for an accelerated BSN program and earn your degree in just 12 to 18 months.
The BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing education program is one of the most demanded educational programs among nurses in US. It is a 4 years study program which gives students extensive education on nursing. Also helps them to hold advanced nursing roles in different health care facilities. This program is much in demand among international students as this program offers the scope of relocation upon completion of the program. Many colleges and universities in US offer a BSN degree.
Online Accelerated BSN Program
It is the quickest option to become a registered nurse as the program duration is 12-18 months. As these types of programs are fast paced and very competitively framed, it is quite famous program among international students. These programs are also known as second-degree programs and it will work well for those who have a prior degree.
Online RN to BSN Program
These programs are specially designed for those nurses who have Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and wished to have BSN degrees. This type of bridge program is very helpful for RNs who want to have a degree in advance nursing. These programs are in very much demand in working nurses as it offers online education facility.
What Does a Registered Nurse Do?
Nurses play important roles in the healthcare sector. They promote good health, prevent illness and suffering and give a better life to a person. But before knowing what a nurse really do, you must know where a nurse can practice his or her duties :
Nurses can work in:
- Cruise ships
- Military facilities
- Hospice facilities
- Physician’s offices
- Schools, camps
- Long-term care facilities
- Private as well as retirement homes
Some nurses also prefer to work as a consultant in the healthcare, insurance and legal sector.
In a hospital a nurse can be required to work in different units according to the need of the situation. Actually everywhere! To get an idea about the job responsibility of a nurse in a hospital, you must know the area of his or her work:
- Patient care units, ICUs , Surgical and recovery units
- Operating rooms, trauma care centers, and emergency rooms
- Medical records section, maintaining hospital records
- X-ray and other diagnostic units
- Pediatrics section
- Looking after neonatals in intensive care units
- Psychiatric and drug treatment centers
Day to Day Activities
- Providing required medications and intravenous drugs to help patients and prevent patients from further risks
- Observing and taking records of patients’ conditions and briefing doctors and other members of the health care team about patient’s condition
- Giving pre and post-operation care
- Giving emotional support to patients and their families
- Guiding patients about how to administer medications and physical therapy on their own
- Counsel patients and public on the disease management, nutritional plans etc
- Administering junior staffs
- Teaching student nurses
Types of Nurses Depend on Degree Level and Experience
Depending on various specialties, there are different job responsibilities of nurses. In the Unites States nurses can be primarily classified as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Registered Nurses (RNs) and Advance Practice Nurses (APNs).
To become registered nurses (RNs) you should have a diploma, associates or bachelor’s degree in nursing with many hours of clinical experience and must have passed the state board examinations. RNs have some specific duties like providing direct care and take decisions on the care needed for a patient. They also supervise LPNs and nurse aides.
RNs give the needed scientific, psychological and technological support for the care of patients in the health care settings. They practice in hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, ambulatory care centers, community health centers, schools, and retail clinics.
Quick Note About Licensed Practical Nurses – Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) usually work in the healthcare team and provide basic and routine care under the direction of an RN or physician. LPNs need to have 18 months-2 years of training and must pass state or national boards to renew the license. However, most hospitals and other healthcare facilities are requiring that RN's obtain their BSN degree, so the LPN / LVN is beginning to become less prevalent.
The job responsibilities of these LPNs would cover administering medications, keeping records, taking measurements and performing emergency life saving techniques such as CPR and providing basic care.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurses
Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are basically RNs with advanced education, skills, and scope of practice. They can work independently and also responsible for some additional duties like prescribing medications, examining patients and diagnosing them.
Major types of APRNs :
Nurse practitioner (NP) – NPs are mostly absorbed in clinics, nursing homes or private hospitals and give services ranging from providing primary and preventive health care services, advise medication, and diagnose.
Certified nurse-midwife (CNM) – CNMs provide primary healthcare to women in gynaecological and low-risk obstetrical care in hospitals, birth centers, and homes.
Clinical nurse specialist (CNS) – CNS works in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, private offices and looks after physical and mental health problems. They are also found to work in consultation, research, education, and administration.
Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) – CRNA administers over 65 percent of anesthetics given to patients every year.
Key Skills of All Nurses
- Be caring and sympathetic by nature
- Should have excellent teamwork and interpersonal skills
- Must have observational skills
- Ability to work under pressured situations
- Should have verbal and written communication skills
- Resilience and Endurance
- Ability to convey information properly
- Must be an active listener
- Service oriented attitude
- Ability to think logically and rationally and find out alternative solutions
Have you ever thought of considering a career in Nursing? It is a highly rewarding profession. What is more important is that being a nurse you can make a difference in someone’s life, bring rays of hope and cheer in one’s life, which is very hard to find in other professions. It is the fastest growing occupation in US which is expected to generate employment to around 581,500 more nurses by 2018. An aging population, reduction in the nursing workforce and innovations of newer technologies in the medical world explains the high growth potential of health care sector.
Nursing job is considered to be Universal as wherever you go in this world, you will be always valued as a Nurse. A nurse can help one to heal illnesses, give you the support to cope with your illness.
There are only a few professions which can give you so many options to choose, starting from where to work to specialization areas. A nurse can work in General and Surgical Hospitals, Doctor’s offices, Nursing Care Facilities, Outpatient Facilities, Home Health Services etc. There are some reasons why you can choose Nursing as a career option.
Nurses tend to have flexibility
There is flexibility attached to the nursing job. You can choose your own working schedule. You can work in different shifts within the range of 4-12 hours shift. You can also work on weekends, weekdays depending on your preference.
With the growing demands in the healthcare sector, nursing allows you to work in any part of the province and any locations. All across the world- wherever you go, there is need for a nurse.
Nursing skill has over 104 specialties and a number of advanced nursing degrees. This makes Nursing highly mobile as a career. If you wish you can move to any verticals, any specialty or go for higher studies according to your preferences. You can choose to be a medical assistant or work in different departments or go for nursing management and share your expertise in nurturing new nurses. For example you can work in Pediatrics department or in trauma ward by gaining some hands on experience.
Continuing Education and Learning
If you want to work in an environment where you can have the scope of learning continuously then Nursing skill would be ideal for you. Each day will come with it’s own challenges for a nurse giving ample scope to learn and try different things.
As a nurse you will learn to value life more after seeing a person constantly fighting for life. It is a difficult task to take care of an ailing person. But if you succeed, nothing will give you the happiness like you get saving one’s life.
While working very closely with the doctors, patients, medical staff, administrators in day to day life, this gives you an enormous opportunity to gather knowledge from experts in other career fields and improve your interpersonal skills.
Healthcare is an excellent industry to be in
Don’t worry. You will not loose your nursing job due to recession or economic depression as healthcare industry is such an area which needs to function even in economic crisis also. Even if you have a reduction in salary due to recession but you will enjoy job security. A nurse will always be in demand whatever may be the economic situation of a country.
Getting an Online BSN as an Adult Learner
If you are from some other industry and don’t have any formal nursing degree but want to pursue a career in nursing? Don’t worry. You can switch your career and apply for a Second degree BSN, Accelerated BSN etc.
An average registered nurse can earn more than $52,000 a year whereas the more qualified and specialized nurses earn over $72,000. It is estimated that a nurse who works in a Personal Care Services earns more compared to the other verticals.
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nursing stands among the top 10 professions in the list of career with largest job growth. It is a field with wide ranging career options, starting from entry-level practitioner to doctoral-level researcher.
For an entry level nursing job, you need to have a three-year Registered Nurse (RN)-degree. But many organizations are demanding from the nurses to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree. To match with the increasing demand for more skilled nurses in the healthcare sector, many nursing schools are offering RN-to-Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and MSN to Doctoral programmes.
After having a professional degree, you might wish to go for a specific specialty, each having its own education requirements.
Choosing an RN to BSN Program
The location is a key parameter in the selection of a nursing school. If you are free from any family or social responsibilities, work etc, then choosing a nursing school away from home may not be difficult for you. Check whether the nursing school offers any online courses for your flexibility. Before joining a school check if any of the classes for the required course have flexible hours, make your plan accordingly. Clinical rotation is a part of the nursing school programs hence you should be aware of the location for your nursing school. Additionally one should be careful about the licensing requirements and check if the school matches the requirements.
Once evaluating yourself as a nursing student and your learning needs, now it is important to evaluate the nursing schools that you are taking into account. Few points to be remembered at the time of choosing a school:
I) Check the accreditation. A renowned accreditation authority sometimes enriches the reputation of the nursing schools.
II) Another way to evaluate the reputation is to take the opinions of other students or ex-students.
III) Find out the relationship of the nursing schools with clinics, hospitals & other healthcare facilities as they have to build up rapport with the various medical facilities for facilitating clinical trainings to the students.
IV) Must check if the nursing school is authorized by state nursing boards.
The nursing schools may not always provide you the nursing specialty that you want to be specialized and start your career. In some cases nursing specialties entail that you get an advance nursing degree from an accredited nursing institution. So depending on the nursing specialty you wish to focus on decide which school you want to attend.
Important Questions to Ask About Online RN to BSN Programs
Maybe you are an RN looking to return to college to earn your Bachelors Degree? Or maybe an LPN who wants to become an RN as quick as possible? Or maybe an RN who wants to earn your Masters Degree in Nursing? What ever your particular case if you are a registered nurse or looking to earn an advanced degree there are important questions you need to ask all the online nursing schools you are looking at prior to enrolling in their program.
The last thing anyone wants to do is spend time and money trying to earn a degree or complete a program and find out it is not everything you thought it would be. So who and what do you ask to make sure it is? As far as who you should ask goes a great place to start is former and current students of the programs your have an interest in taking. Another great place or people to ask are the instructors and your employer or potential employers.
Another really important question is “Is an Online Nursing Program Right For You?”. Online programs are great for some people, but not everyone. Are you disciplined enough to handle more freedom then sitting in front of an instructor? How about communication? Can you learn without having peers and teachers to speak in person with in a regular classroom setting?
Although a traditional campus based program is still extremely popular among working RNs and full time students, the newer alternative education methods of online and distance based learning are becoming more and more popular as are an accelerated nursing program as well. In the past not many of these types of degrees and completion programs were available unless you went to a campus setting. But with everyone’s life’s getting so much more complicated and busy those more traditional brick and mortar educational institutions do not offer the best solutions for many nurses seeking to advance their careers.
As a result it has become much more common today for professional nurses to return to college not by going to a local campus but instead sitting in front of their computer and working from home or other remote locations to earn a degree.
But before you put down your hard earned money on a degree program make sure the school is accredited and a well respected school. You see there may be some fly by night scams and programs out their just trying to get your money that may not provide you a real education. Some may be true scams where others may be just really poor programs that top employers do not want anything to do with. So before you break out your check book make sure the program has a great or at least good reputation.
Another area of importance to ask questions about is what, if any, credits can you transfer to the nursing degree program? Maybe you completed some CLEP courses or took classes from another University and do not want to repeat the class. It is possible the online school may accept some or all of those types of courses. But make sure to ask upfront and not just assume that that is the case.
Last but not least is the question or issue of money. How much is it going to cost you to earn that bsn online nursing degree or other degree? Also, how do online nursing schools compare to more traditional nursing schools with respect to the cost? How much money will you save or will it cost you more money to complete your nursing program online? What about financial aid or loans? Are loans and other types of financial aid available for online nursing school programs?
These are all important questions you need to really think about before committing to an online program. The online programs for nursing are great for many just make sure that is solution fits your personality and learning style.
Why Advance Your Career from an ADN to BSN Degree?
Registered nurses compose the largest vocation in the healthcare industry. RNs treat patients and their families to prevent sickness, promote health and assist ill patients. When working directly with patients, an RN observes and records patient symptoms, dispenses medication, and assists in surgery or treatment. Other registered nurses work in administration. They supervise nursing stations or work within the community training about healthy lifestyles.
The majority of registered nurses have jobs in hospitals. Hospital nurses execute medical treatments and help in bedside care. Some perform managerial roles. Typically, a nurse works in a specialized department, such as maternity, surgery, emergency room, or pediatrics. However, some will move among departments.
Nurses who have jobs in medical centers, clinics, or doctors offices are referred to as office nurses. They prepare patients for exams, assist the doctor during examinations, give medication, and uphold patient records. Some are responsible for laboratory work.
Nursing care facility nurses work in retirement or nursing homes. Administrative duties take up much of their time on the job. However, they also have supervisory responsibilities. Patient treatment plans are usually developed based on observations from a nurse. Some RNs specialize such as by working with patients who have Alzheimer's disease or who are stroke victims.
Home health nurses travel to a persons home. They work independently, sometimes supervising home health aides. They assist several different types of patients: those recovering from surgery, the elderly, childbirth patients, or cancer patients. The government and private organizations hire public health nurses. These nurses work within the community to counsel families and individuals on healthcare matters, such as diets, immunizations, childcare, or preventive care.
Occupational health nurses or industrial nurses, provide care at places of employment. They often provide emergency assistance and prepare accident reports and provide health exams for employees. Nurse supervisors and head nurses typically are employed in hospitals. They train new nurses, plan and prepare work schedules, and supervise the nurses on the job. Maintaining the equipment and ordering new supplies are also job requirements.
Nurse practitioners obtain licensure or certification for this advanced position and finish additional training. They are able to prescribe medications, along with, diagnose and treat common illnesses. Other advanced nursing positions are certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists.
Questions on Being a Registered Nurse
If you are looking or are interested in working in the medical or health care field as an RN (registered nurse) there are a few different paths that may work for you. These paths to becoming a registered nurse may vary based on your goals set for your career and/or your current educational and financial situation.
If you want to be an RN and want to start working as soon as possible, then you should research some schools and/or hospitals that offer RN diploma programs or an associate degree in nursing which would qualify you to be an RN after completion of required exams. These types of program can get you working more quickly then a four year BSN degree, but your career growth option could be limited. For example you may not be able to enter into a management role unless you later return to school in your career to complete an RN to BSN degree program for a university.
Another way to become an RN is the by going to a university and earning a BSN or Bachelor of Science in nursing degree for the University’s school of nursing. This type of a degree may typically take four years to complete and you would then likely have the needed education if you decide to apply for a management position later in your career.
Lastly is a nursing degree program geared towards people who already have a BS degree, but the degree in not in nursing. There are some bridge to BSN track programs from some universities that may be able to allow people an easier path to becoming a registered nurse that can be quicker then completing a more traditional nursing program.
What ever decision you are leaning towards you should make sure to do your due diligence and research multiple nursing school programs to compare the cost, length, and type of the programs. Also keep in mind if you decide on an associate degree in nursing or a nursing diploma program you can later complete an RN to BSN degree either online or off-line if you choose.
Important Nursing State Law and Regulation Information to Know
Nursing Practice involves specialized knowledge, skills and strong decision making ability. Career of nurses varies widely depending upon a number of factors like types of healthcare facility, diseases, difference in the approach of therapy etc. Also nurses work in a society that is ever changing. As a result, risk of impairment is also present in the nursing care practices.
As because this profession poses a great amount of risk of harming common people if handled by unprofessional or incompetent persons, state laws plays a significant role in this situation. State laws protect the interest of the citizens from harm by empowering police. This type of protection is formed with rational laws for regulating nursing practices.
Nurse practice act (NPA) is basically laws prevailing in each state and territories and enacted by the legislature of each state. These laws define the duties of nurses, their qualifications, scope of practices involving various types of activities & services and ensure safe nursing practices. This act defines misconduct and describes how investigation and disciplinary procedures are taken for the case filed against nurses.
As the nurse practice act is not sufficient to give necessary assistance to the nurses, as a result NPA of each state set up a Board of Nursing (BON). This board is the primary authority which develops administrative rules and regulations for clarifying the nursing laws. These rules are consistent with the State nurse practice act. Before enactment of these rules, public reviews are collected on this.
Although each NPA of different states have specific guidelines but there are some basic areas which are determined by the NPA:
1. The authority, rule and composition of a nursing board
2. Standards of education programs
3. Standards and reach of nursing practices
4. Types of nursing titles and their licenses
5. Licensure requirements
6. Specifies on what grounds disciplinary actions are taken and possible solutions
Nursing practice is authorized and protected by state for the safety of people who needs nursing care. The guidelines and rules of nurse practice act provide safety to the patients from unprofessional nursing practices. It also helps nurses to learn about the safety parameters which are to be followed during practices. So every nurse should have knowledge about nursing laws and regulations. This NPA is duly amended as scope of practice changes in nursing field. The aim of this nursing law will only be fruitful if nurses are fully aware of the present nursing laws in their state, ignorance of which can not ever be an excuse.