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What to Expect in an Online RN to BSN Program

Nurses preparing to enroll in a registered nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) program should know how these programs operate. With over 400 RN to BSN programs offered online, prospective students have many options. There are certain elements to this type of online study, however, that are common to all reputable programs.

Differences Between ADN and BSN Coursework

BSN coursework differs from associate degree in nursing (ADN) coursework in several regards. A primary difference is that BSN programs require a capstone course prior to graduation that applies comprehensive program knowledge to solving problems through identification, analysis, synthesis, plan implementation and evaluation.

Baccalaureate-level coursework also includes the application of evidence-based practice through research — for example, evaluating evidence and basing decisions on research findings. In addition, BSN courses implement direct and indirect care practice exercises to bring real-world application to conceptual practices.

Clinical Requirements: a Pathway to Direct Care Practice

Though clinical requirements will vary considerably from one online RN to BSN program to another, they all comprise some portion of the degree program. In fact, 60 hours of clinical work per course is not uncommon. However, UNCW’s online RN to BSN program does not have a required number of clinical work hours. Clinical practice experiences are integrated into various course assignments throughout the program.

Practical Considerations of an Online RN to BSN Program

RN to BSN programs vary greatly in cost, depending on factors like in-state discounts, but they typically range from $75 per credit hour to $300 per credit hour. Online RN to BSN programs typically require two years to complete, but some accelerated programs reduce this to a matter of months. Many online programs are flexible enough to offer working nurses the ability to earn a BSN part time.

BSN courses differ from ADN coursework in several ways, and the advanced training they offer can improve nurses’ career opportunities. Employers look favorably upon nurses with BSNs; some hospital systems like the Veteran’s Administration now require a BSN for entry-level positions. RNs eager to dive into an online RN to BSN program can take comfort in the knowledge that, despite which program they choose, they will share a knowledge base common to all accredited RN to BSN programs.

Learn more about the UNCW online RN to BSN program.


AACN: Expectations for Practice Experiences in the RN to Baccalaureate Curriculum

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