As a fully fledged RN, you probably know by now how to successfully juggle your job, your shifts and time spent with your family and kids. But what if you want more from your nursing career? How can you take the next step in advancing your career without sacrificing your personal life, your family time or your work?
With the new legislature pushing for BSN-educated nurses and with hospitals’ plans to increase the BSN workforce by 80% by 2020, the pressure and the necessity of stepping up from your ADN knowledge are on – and so are the opportunities. In an ever-changing nursing job market that urgently needs professionals, you can get a better career mobility, an impactful role in advanced health care and a higher income, nonetheless, with a BSN degree.
Becoming a BSN-prepared nurse is now the main priority for many RNs, and this sought after degree is why nursing school has become so competitive. Rest assured, you will be a great working parent, partner and a great learner at the same time, with the right tools and mindset.
Here’s what you need to look for in a program in order to get your BSN degree in the fastest and easiest way, without losing time away from your family and work:
1. Choose a Flexible Online Program with Asynchronous Classes
The first thing you might be tempted to look for when pursuing your BSN is a very short, fast track RN-to-BSN program. However, short can sometimes mean a full-time effort that takes you away completely from work and family.
So, if you don’t want to experience nursing school burnout, go for an accelerated program with asynchronous classes that lets you complete your coursework at your own pace and on your own schedule. You’ll be able to work on coursework more during some weeks, or less when things are too hectic – so you don’t have to worry about compromising your work responsibilities for your school ones (or vice-versa!).
This type of accelerated program is specially designed to be the fastest way to get a BSN degree for working professionals. Even though you get to have the most flexible schedule, you still have to work hard to complete all the coursework.
All your didactic or theory learning will take place online through interactive modules and quizzes and include all the other relevant guidance you need to be successful in the course. Plus, you will have to complete interactive learning modules, which requires you to take graded quizzes. The learning modules will guide you through applying the knowledge gained in various ways, so you can engage with the content you’re learning.
Then, you can use your newly gained understanding of concepts in case studies, as well as in online discussion boards (where you experiment the benefits of a close-knit community of peers).
Although it is an online RN-to-BSN program, it will take you at least 25 hours per week to learn effectively. So be prepared to work and study then work again – but with the flexibility to complete any assignment when it is convenient for you as long as you meet the respective deadline.
Read more about what to expect from the online RN-to-BSN Program at Nightingale.
2. Pick a Hands-on Coursework that Teaches Key Skills Applicable to Your Job
As an RN, we know time is more than precious. With night or weekend shifts and a family at home, it seems impossible to literally go back to school to get your BSN degree. Not to mention the pressure a highly-experienced nurse can feel when thinking about being too old to get a BSN.
However, not all courses are created equally, and this is why you need to check the coursework before enrolling in a program. Moreover, employers are more interested in your abilities and relevant knowledge of modern health care settings, not just in the BSN diploma.
A good program is designed to work around your hectic schedule and provide practical, immediately applicable and relevant coursework that is required for career mobility, higher pay and the chance to be a leader.
At Nightingale College, our Program was built with all that in mind, without deviating from the rigorous academic standards. All learners engage in online didactic and Capstone Project experiences in various key nursing concepts like community nursing and leadership, critical care, gerontology, disease prevention or nurse informatics. All of these experiences provide insights to apply at your every-day job, so you actually feel that you are improving as a nurse professional while in the Program.
During an RN-to-BSN accelerated program, you delve into advanced levels of critical thinking, problem solving and leadership, policy and ethics. You will be able to implement what you learned at work, on a daily basis.
Here’s how the online RN-to-BSN Program at Nightingale College can help you:
- Advance understanding of management, public health, social sciences and communication courses.
- Leadership training that helps nurses who wish to advance to administrative, research or teaching positions.
- Nursing theory and nursing informatics that teach you how to use new technology in the workplace.
- Additional courses that help nurses have a better understanding of complex issues affecting both patients and the health care environment.
3. Allocate Between 8 Months to 1 Year to Get Your Degree
No matter how motivated and prepared you are to go back to school and get that BSN degree, you will still need to allocate up to twelve months for the whole process. Steer away from any fast-track program that promises to train you to BSN level under 8 months.
At Nightingale, there are 9 nursing courses in the RN-to-BSN Program. They are taught over approximately 3 semesters (or 12 months), for a total of 24-semester credits (if the required GE courses have not been completed). If you have completed all GE requirements, you can complete an RN-to-BSN Program in just 2 semesters (or just 8 months).
Experiential learning hours are dedicated to the Community Health and Capstone Projects and you can complete them in your own community or local facilities. This way, your active role in the community’s well-being is beneficial for both your studies and people you care about, without having to travel anywhere.
Even though it is the fastest way to get your RN-to-BSN, this doesn’t mean you have to cram for your assignments or exams.
On the contrary, instead of neglecting your current abilities, knowledge and clinical experience, the Program is carefully designed to help you reach advanced nursing skills and the most relevant know-how needed in modern health care settings. This helps nurse learners build upon the things they have already learned and improved their know-how, not sacrifice it.
4. Always Enroll in a Fast Track Program That Has Prerequisites (and is Accredited!)
Many potential nurse learners are wondering about prerequisites. Are they important? Wouldn’t be best to enroll in an RN-to-BSN program that doesn’t have such tough requirements?
But nursing school is not easy and requires a lot of work as we mentioned. That is why it’s important to start with basic knowledge to make sure you get the best education. It is important to know what to expect from a good RN-to-BSN nursing program like Nightingale’s and why prerequisites matter for your education and your success, after all.
Some topics seem harder because they require prerequisite knowledge, which most learners don’t have. Moreover, prerequisites for a fast RN-to-BSN online program may seem difficult to some people. This happens because they might have passed through previous study programs without retaining much. Or they are missing key nursing concepts and skills that would help them understand advanced courses.
The breadth of BSN prerequisites is a good indicator of a course’s quality and is a factor that should be considered alongside the course’s length and affordability.
The easiest RN-to-BSN would be one with a fair level of prerequisites that will make learning a bit easier. This way, you would build your education upon the things you already learned.
Take caution: an RN-to-BSN with no prerequisites can really hurt your nursing career. However, Nightingale’s RN-to-BSN Program offers you the chance to complete the BSN prerequisites during your nursing core courses.
Read our RN-to-BSN Program admission requirements and become a successful Nightingale learner this year!
Also, find out everything you need to know about different types of accreditation – national and regional – as well as other important advice on selecting the college or university that is right for you.
Enroll in Nightingale College’s 12-month online program
A good nursing program is always challenging and requires dedication. But it doesn’t have to take away from your meaningful work or family time, or sacrifice knowledge just to have another diploma under your belt.
At Nightingale College, the RN-to-BSN Program is designed to help learners with full-time jobs. It can be completed in 12 months (3 semesters) if the required general education (GE) courses have not been completed. If a learner has completed all GE requirements, the Program can be completed in just 8 months or 2 semesters.
Learners who hold an associate of science degree in nursing and transfer a minimum twenty-seven (27) semester credits of general education, including the required Physical Sciences credits, can complete the RN-to-BSN Program within 3 semesters, or forty-eight (48) weeks of instruction.
To make things even easier for working RNs, Nightingale College’s accelerated RN-to-BSN Program has 3 start dates per year for enrollment: the Spring, Summer and Fall semesters.