The continuous rise in the number of registered nurses educated at the bachelor’s degree is a direct response from an Institute of Medicine’s recommendation to increase the percentage of nurses holding the BSN to 80 percent by the year 2020. Although close to 51 percent of employers in Wyoming prefer to hire BSN nurses, the state faces significant challenges in achieving the IOM’s goal to boost the education of the nursing workforce. According to projections from the Wyoming Center for Nursing and Health Care Partnerships (WCNHCP), only 36.9 percent of registered nurses have a baccalaureate degree or higher. The WCNHCP does not expect a significant rise in the percentage due to the continuous stream of RNs graduating with an associate’s degree. However, as enrollment in RN-to-BSN programs increases, the number of younger nurses holding a BSN is expected to increase in the next four years. Unless those graduating from the associate’s degree move on to the baccalaureate, the overall percentage of BSNs will drop or remain the same though more nurses are getting the BSN than in previous years.
More employers are taking heed of the IOM’s recommendation and hiring more BSN nurses. This preference for BSNs is an excellent reason to enroll in a bachelor’s degree program from the onset. Due to the overall state of the workforce in rural Wyoming, there are only a few employers that require a BSN for as a condition of employment. However, most employers offer incentives for nurses to go back to school within a specified timeframe. They might offer tuition reimbursement, flex time, and pay differential for nurses with a BSN. The studies that link a nurse’s level of education with patient outcomes is a key motivating factor for the preference given to BSN nurses.
With just one baccalaureate program in the state, getting into the program can be quite competitive. Moreover, it might be difficult for those in rural or frontier areas to access the program, which presents a huge barrier to BSN education. Those who overcome the barriers to cost, distance, and competition may face an even greater challenge of finding an opportunity to complete the clinical requirements. The majority of hospitals in the state are critical access hospitals. This creates a challenge for completing the traditional clinical requirements.
Despite the barriers, the number of nurses with a baccalaureate degree is growing significantly and will grow in number – but probably not percentage – in the next decade.
Following is a list of the various types of BSN programs available in Wyoming.
LPN to BSN: Licensed practical nurses complete a 12 to 18 month diploma in nursing and sit the NCLEX-PN in preparation for the role and responsibilities of an LPN. LPNs work under the supervision of a registered nurse to care for patients in acute and long-term care facilities. Due to stricter hiring practices in hospitals and other acute settings, LPNs may work primarily in long-term care attending to the needs of the elderly and chronically ill patients. The LPN to BSN program affords these licensed nurses the opportunity to prepare for employment as a registered nurse where they will have a greater role in care and even assume positions in leadership. With the transfer of nursing courses, the student can complete the program in three years.
RN to BSN: The RN to BSN program lets registered nurses complete their education to meet their professional goals and meet the standards for registered nursing practice. Those who do not participate in the ReNEW program in Wyoming, may enroll in the RN to BSN program at the University of Wyoming to complete the BSN. Since RN-BSN programs are offered online, registered nurses can complete the program without affecting their work and family commitments.
Traditional BSN: The traditional (four-year) BSN admits students who may not have prior education or experience in nursing. The undergraduate program requires completion of the general education requirements and elective courses that will lay the foundation for the core nursing courses. The pre-nursing and nursing courses will commence in the sophomore and junior years. Those who enroll in this path take longer than associate degree students to become a registered nurse. But in light of employers’ preference for BSN nurses the extra time and money will pay off.
Fast-track BSN: The accelerated, fast-track, or second-degree BSN is designed for adults who hold a baccalaureate in a non-nursing discipline. The comprehensive program requires a full-time commitment. The curriculum is so intensive that full-time or part-time employment is not recommended. By transferring general education and science courses, the nursing courses can be completed in just 12 to 18 months.
To qualify for licensure as a registered nurse in Wyoming, graduates must apply to take the NCLEX licensure exam for registered nurses.
Traditional BSN Programs
The University of Wyoming offers a “Basic BSN Program” that is designed for adults who want to practice as a registered. Only 48 students are admitted to the program annually, so admission is competitive. The ‘small school’ atmosphere includes hands-on lab practice and interactive lectures in the school’s state-of-the-art classroom and Clinical Simulation Center. Students will complete the clinical externship in the spring semester of the senior year and will require travel to the sites designated for the clinical placement.
By the conclusion of the program, students will demonstrate their leadership abilities by the demonstration of quality improvement processes in safe patient care, collaborate with members of the health care team to provide patient-centered care, use the principles of health promotion and disease prevention in caring for patients, use evidence-based practice in care, operation within the core values of the profession.
Students must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to graduate with a BSN degree. The courses that make up the pre-clinical component of the program total 48 credits and must be completed in the freshman and sophomore years. These topics include general psychology, medical microbiology, general biology, fundamentals of statistics, physiology, principles of nutrition, communication, human anatomy, and general chemistry. Courses included in the clinical component include development influences on health, fundamentals of professional nursing, pharmacology, health assessment, evidence-based nursing, professional nursing care in acute and chronic illness, health care informatics, and professional nursing leadership.
There are two routes to admission to the BSN program at the University of Wyoming.
Freshman admission requires:
- A completed application submitted by December 1 prior to the fall semester you are seeking university admission.
- A high school cumulative GPA of 3.6 or above.
- ACT math, science, and composite scores of 23, 23, and 27.
- Select Basic BSN Pre-Nursing as the major.
- A valid email address to receive notifications from the School of Nursing.
Non-Freshman admission requires:
- A completed application submitted by September 1 prior to the spring semester you are seeking university admission.
- Apply for a separate admission to the university if you are not currently enrolled.
- Provide official transcripts of all college coursework completed up to the fall semester.
- Complete all the pre-clinical courses by the end of the fall semester prior to spring admission.
- A grade C or above on all pre-clinical courses.
- Non-native English speaking students must demonstrate English proficiency.
Acceptance to the university does not guarantee admission to the nursing program. Clinical placement may requirement criminal background check, health requirements, and CPR certification.
Second Degree BSN
The University of Wyoming hosts a Bachelors Reach for Accelerated Nursing Degree that is designed for adults who hold a non-nursing baccalaureate to prepare for a career as a registered nurse. The accelerated program (BRAND) is a collaborative effort between the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing and the University of Wyoming Outreach School. It is offered as a distant program that reaches those in Wyoming’s rural areas. The program runs from summer to summer and may be completed in 15 months. It includes online learning, hybrid courses, and a clinical externship. Students must be self-disciplined, independent, and motivated. Applicants can assess their transfer credits through the University of Wyoming’s Transfer Equivalency Self-Service site. The transfer reports are not final and must be used as a guide.
- A baccalaureate degree or higher with a minimum GPA of 2.5.
- Admission to the University of Wyoming.
- Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. All transcripts must be submitted by the October 31 deadline.
- Completion of prerequisite coursework by the end of the spring semester before the summer admission to the program. Courses must be completed with a grade C or better and a minimum of 2.75 GPA.
- Payment of program fee by the October 31 deadline.
- Active CNA certification or LPN licensure.
- Attend an interview at the Laramie and complete an essay by hand.
- Demonstration of English Language proficiency.
How Much Do BSN Programs Cost?
The tuition at the University of Wyoming is $129 per credit hour for resident students. The cost for full-time students is $1001. Undergraduate students enrolled in 12 or more credits are considered full-time.
Following is a list of Board-approved BSN programs in Wyoming with the NCLEX-RN pass rates.
Wyoming BSN Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rate:
Laramie, WY BSN programs:
The University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.91%
Laramie, WY ABSN programs:
The University of Wyoming (BRAND)
1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.86%