How to Choose an Online RN to BSN Program
The bad news for healthcare is that the current shortage of nurses is expected to reach 20% by 2015. The good news for healthcare--and for your nursing career--is that the nursing shortage has escalated the development of top-notch online degree programs. As a busy licensed practical nurse who wants to become a registered nurse, you have dozens of excellent RN to BSN programs to choose from.
There are so many reputable online nursing programs, in fact, that the choice can be downright overwhelming! Elaine, an LPN who is currently enrolled in an online LPN-to-BSN program through Indiana State University, says, "Deciding to become a Registered Nurse was easy; choosing the best program for my specific situation was a different story. Fortunately I had a mentor at my workplace who helped me ask the right questions."
Just what are the right questions? Below are three aspects that you need to consider in your quest for the perfect BSN nursing program.
1. Expected Job Opportunities
The demand for registered nurses is said to be high. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the employment of registered nurses is expected to expand 23% from 2006 to 2016, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Reality check: in October 2009, the national unemployment rate passed 10%--the highest in over 25 years. Nursing may be a hot profession, but that doesn't mean it's unaffected by the recession. Before choosing a program, ask about:
- average length of time new graduates take to find a job
- specific examples of jobs in which alumnae are currently working
- career counseling and job search services provided by the institution
2. The Program's Track Record
Don't even consider studying in an LPN-to-BSN or RN to BSN program at an institution that is not accredited. Your degree must be earned from an accredited institution in order to:
- Meet application requirements for graduate school and certain employers
- Be eligible to receive federal grants and loans
- Transfer academic credits to another school
- Qualify for a tuition assistance plan offered by your employer
- Earn professional licensure in your specialty
It's fairly straightforward to confirm whether the school is accredited or not (tips can be found here). In addition, you'll want to ask questions about the institution's history. Find out how long the institution has offered online programs, how many students have graduated from their LPN to BSN or RN to BSN program, and talk to recent graduates to get an idea of how the nursing degrees are perceived by employers and other health care professionals.
3. Reputation of the Faculty
One of the most important influences on an RN to BSN program's quality is the faculty. When new nursing grads look back on their educational experience, their most inspiring memories are often connected with a specific instructor. You may wonder whether your instructor's personality will come across in an online environment as clearly as it does in a traditional classroom. Don't worry: even with today's cutting-edge educational technology, you may feel as if you know your faculty and fellow students intimately.
To ensure that you're getting the best quality instruction, ask about the backgrounds of the instructors in any online nursing program you're considering. Are the instructors experts in their fields? Are they experienced in providing instruction in an online setting? Perhaps most importantly, how accessible will the faculty be to you?
In addition to finding out about expected job opportunities, the program's track record and the reputation of the faculty, you'll naturally want to consider other factors, such as the cost and the length of program. Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as necessary when comparing various RN to BSN programs. Once you find the perfect program, you'll be well on your way to the next step in your nursing career path: earning that coveted BSN degree.
Online RN to BSN programs offer the same degree your local campus based nursing school offers, but unlike your local nursing school, there's NO WAITING LIST with online RN to BSN program, and with the online nursng program you never even have to sit in a classroom so you can keep your job while you earn your BSN degree at your own pace! Why not look into the program and get started on your way to becoming an BSN nurse too?