An online nursing program may be the best way to earn your Registered Nurse (RN) license. However, not every online program for this professional degree is created equal. What makes an RN to BSN program different from a traditional RN program? What makes it easy or hard for students to succeed?
RN to BSN or Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science Degree (BSN) programs are available in both accelerated and traditional formats. The main difference between these two programs is the length of time it takes for credits to be earned. An RN to BSN program takes four years to complete; a traditional RN program takes six years. In addition to the length of time, the type of RN to BSN program that is chosen also determines if clinical experience will be required by the school before students graduate. An LPN must complete an approved clinical internship prior to matriculation while a BSN student must complete a certified nurse-midwife course and a board exam before earning his or her first RN license.
Are RN to BSN programs hard? Are they worth it? These types of nursing programs differ from traditional RN programs in a variety of ways. They are no longer designed for a one-year program but for a four-year educational program that involves both academic study and clinical practice. A traditional RN to BSN program requires students to complete all the coursework from the previous year in order to be eligible for their bachelor’s degree. As a result, students must cram and complete as many courses as they can in a short period of time.
Is it safe to take a jump from a BSN to RN program? The short answer is yes, if the student is willing. There are many reasons why RN to BSN programs are more intense than a traditional RN program; these reasons include gaining more clinical experience in less time, receiving a certification in a different field within RN licensure, gaining remuneration in a different field from within the RN profession, or even opting for a different field altogether. In addition to these reasons, students who leave nursing education with an associate’s degree still have to pass a state exam in order to be legally qualified to work in that state.
Is there room for flexibility within an RN to BSN program? Although students may be scheduled to spend a large portion of their time on clinical rotations, there is still a fair amount of flexibility within the class schedule. In fact, an LPN can spend a third of the year in classroom instruction and a second third in clinical experience. With an LPN’s long time in the workplace, the student has already had the opportunity to build themselves a solid foundation of knowledge and skills which will greatly help them once they enter the workplace.
Another consideration when it comes to RN to BSN programs is the salary. Salaries within this profession are among the highest in all fields. Many LPNs make upwards of $40K per year while some as much as 60K. These salaries are quite encouraging for someone who is just getting out of nursing school and may be worried about not being able to get the same salary as experienced nurses. However, this does vary between states. Generally speaking, the higher the salary, the more hands-on experience the RN will have and therefore the better chance at obtaining a higher salary once they get hired.