Many nurses have an incorrect impression of the role and benefits of the bachelor’s degree in the profession of nursing. One common misconception is that the BSN is only for nurses pursuing managerial positions. The changing landscape of health care demands more from nurses, even those at the bedside. The bachelor’s degree in nursing covers additional study in evidence-based practice, leadership, public health, and nursing science that helps graduates take a holistic approach to practice. The shortcomings of the ADN make it almost impossible for graduates to fit in the fast-paced, technologically advanced settings of hospitals and community clinics. Experts, formerly on the opposite side of the issue, can now agree that nurses need at least a BSN to meet the current demands of the system. Due to initiatives devised by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation the percentage of the nurses practicing with a bachelor’s degree or higher is on the rise.
In the state of Oklahoma, where there’s a constant battle to add more nurses to the workforce, the associate’s degree presents a sustainable solution to add a steady stream of new nurses. Cut off the program, and the nursing shortage will intensify. Those who obtain a license to practice as a registered nurse after completing an associate’s degree should recognize the necessity of continued learning. The ADN is an excellent choice for fast entry to practice but should not be the end point. Experience must go hand in hand with education. Experience should guide the desire to learn more, to produce better outcomes, to take a greater role in care.
The RN to BSN completion program is designed for nurses to make the transition from the associate’s degree to bachelor’s degree in nursing in 9 to 18 months. It requires some financial commitment, but the benefits are worthwhile for nurses who are just starting out. If you take this step, it will influence your practice but also make a difference in the lives of the patients you serve.
Benefits of Progressing to a BSN Degree
The decision to go back to school after settling into a career is never an easy one. More than 65 percent of registered nurses in Oklahoma start practicing on the merits of the associate’s degree. The demands for nurses in the state – even for those trained at the associate degree level – mean very few nurses are motivated to move up. Though employers are willing to accept the associate’s degree they still recognize the value of that a BSN prepared nurse can add to the health care team. For this reason, BSN RNs earn a competitive advantage in the job market, getting the best opportunities and compensation. In light of the contributions of the better-educated nurses, more and more employers require their nurses to return to school to upgrade their skills. Fortunately, through online RN to BSN programs, nurses can go back to school without putting their careers on hold.
The debate surrounding the benefits of the BSN degree began more than a decade ago, and it’s heating up. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report,“Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” refers to the need for nurses to have a higher level of education to use the technology that is a critical part of today’s complex health care systems. Experts agree that the BSN nurse can add greater value to the team as they put their broader understanding of the science of nursing to good use. The BSN curriculum covers essential areas of practice in greater depth than the associate’s degree, giving students the ability to use critical thinking, nursing research, clinical judgment during practice. They gain a comprehensive knowledge of nursing theory, nursing informatics, community health care, public health, leadership and management, and case management. Those who complete degree are prepared for practice outside the limits of acute care.
Another reason for the push for the BSN degree can be described in two words: Magnet Status. The American Nurses Credentialing Center implemented the Magnet Recognition Program to identify the top health care facilities based on the quality of care. Magnet recognition requires all nurse managers to have at least a BSN degree. It also encourages administrators to have the greater percentage of nurses involved in direct care to also hold a BSN degree. Approximately 60 percent of nurses employed in Magnet-recognized hospitals have a BSN, and the number keeps rising. To establish their credibility and commitment to quality care, hospital administrators readily comply with the guidelines devised by the ANCC to achieve the prestigious title. Employers are requiring (demanding) that their nurses return to school to keep up with the rapid changes in technologies that are becoming a critical part of health care. More than this, those who commit to completing the BSN will be prepared to produce more successful outcomes for the patient. As more hospitals are bypassing two-year degree nurses for those with a four-year degree, you should consider the RN-BSN to get ahead of the curve and avoid redundancy in the future.
Another reason ADNs are under scrutiny is linked to research that shows that patient outcomes improve when the nurse treating the patient has a higher degree. One study found that by increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree by just 10 percent can reduce patient mortality by 5 percent after common surgical procedures. Subsequent studies conducted over the last decade proved time and time again that BSN prepared nurses help to improve patient outcomes. BSN nurses are superior in these cases because they learn the things that are impossible to learn in a two-year program. Apart from the development of the task-focused skills, they learn how to create, implement, assess, and adjust a nursing plan of care. They gain a broader perspective of nursing that helps them produce better outcomes.
Another advantage of going back to school if you already have your ADN is found in career advancement. BSNs typically get opportunities to move into supervisory or administrative positions for which an ADN will not qualify. They may work alongside physicians, participate in research opportunities, and qualify for clinical teaching positions. BSNs are more likely to enroll in a graduate program and obtain certification in a specialized field to assume advanced nursing positions, such as nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, and nurse midwife.
Requirements for Enrollment in an RN to BSN Program
The RN to BSN program supports career mobility as it gives working registered nurses the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The flexible format includes internet-based sessions to accommodate the schedule of working nurses. Part-time and full-time tracks may be able. The associate degree gives nurses an advanced standing in the program, requiring them to complete approximately 30 credits to obtain the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. The curriculum builds on the nurse’s previous education and experience and prepares them to take their practice to another level. The BSN takes learning to a greater depth and covers topics, such as community health, leadership, family nursing, research, and health care policy. Graduates will be prepared to provide primary care in various health care settings, counsel patients, families, and communities, and continue lifelong learning. The will have a broader perspective and, thus, have a greater impact as a professional nurse. The BSN degree may provide job security, opportunities for roles in leadership, eligibility for positions in the armed services, veterans’ hospitals, and correctional facilities, public health, and educational institutions. Most noteworthy is the increased likelihood of BSN prepared nurses to use the foundational study provided by the BSN to move on the graduate study.
The RN-BSN may be completed in as little as 9 months. Working nurses typically complete the requirements in 4 to 6 semesters provided the student meets all the graduation requirements. While the academic courses are delivered online, students will be required to complete the field experiences at a facility that is conveniently located in the nurse’s locality.
- A nationally accredited associate degree with a major in nursing
- At least 60 college credits available for transfer
- Official high school transcript or GED
- A cumulative GPA of 2.5 in previous college coursework
- A license to practice as a registered nurse in Oklahoma
- Have access to a computer and high-speed internet
The estimated cost the RN-BSN program for Oklahoma residents is $8,125 not including the cost of books, fees, supplies, and other expenses.
Oklahoma RN to BSN Programs:
ADA, OK RN-BSN programs:
East Central University
1100 East 14th Street, Ada, OK 74820
Boulevard, OK RN-BSN programs:
Northwestern Oklahoma State University
709 Oklahoma Boulevard, Alva, OK 73717
Bartlesville, OK RN-BSN programs:
Oklahoma Wesleyan University
2201 Silver Lake Road, Bartlesville, OK 74006
Bethany, OK RN-BSN programs:
Southern Nazarene University
6729 North West 39th Expressway, Bethany, OK 73008
Edmond, OK RN-BSN programs:
University of Central Oklahoma
100 North University Drive, Edmond, OK 73034
Goodwell, OK RN-BSN programs:
University Oklahoma Panhandle State University
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, OK 73939
Langston, OK RN-BSN programs:
PO BOX 150, Langston, OK 73050
Muskogee, OK RN-BSN programs:
2299 Old Bacone Road, Muskogee, OK 74403
Oklahoma City, OK RN-BSN programs:
Oklahoma City University
2501 North Blackwelder, Oklahoma City, OK 73106-1493
Platt College- Central Oklahoma City Campus
309 South Ann Arbor, Oklahoma City, OK 73128
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
1100 North Lindsay, Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Shawnee, OK RN-BSN programs:
Oklahoma Baptist University
500 West University, Shawnee, OK 74804
Tulsa, OK RN-BSN programs:
Oral Roberts University
7777 South Lewis Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74171
University of Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive, Tulsa, OK 74104
Weatherford, OK RN-BSN programs:
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
100 Campus Drive, Weatherford, OK 73096