Utah State University has launched a new online program to help registered nurses get their bachelor’s in nursing.
This new RN to BSN program is designed for already licensed RNs who want to pursue their BSN. It will be completely online so that students can remain in the communities they already live in and work in while they further their education, an added benefit for those who may live in rural communities.
“A unique aspect of rural nursing is that nurses are members of the community, and frequently have deep roots there,” wrote Carma Miller, the head of USU’s nursing and health professions program in an email. “Often their patients are neighbors, family members, close friends, and people they are familiar with.”
Miller said helping rural professionals “aligns beautifully” with USU’s land-grant mission.
Nurses with a BSN can expect improved job prospects and the possibility to specialize in a specific area of care, according to Miller.
“Many hospitals now require their nurses to have a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, a BSN degree is required to become a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist or other advanced practice role,” Miller said. “It’s also helpful for nurses who wish to specialize in areas such as pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, surgery, oncology, diabetes, and mental health.”
Nursing degrees at the bachelor’s level and higher are linked to “lower death rates, fewer medication errors and positive patient outcomes,” according to a USU release announcing the program.
The idea for the new RN to BSN program has been floating around since 2016, Miller stated. A proposal was submitted to USU in fall 2018, and the program was finally approved in fall of 2019. The program is part of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.
“It has been an exciting process,” said Aubrey Johnson, the RN to BSN program lead. “The support of the students and community members have been overwhelming and encouraging.”
Applications for the program opened in January 2020 for the initial fall 2020 semester, and only 40 students will gain admittance each semester. Students must be current RNs, and the program may be completed in two or three semesters, “depending on whether the student takes additional bachelor’s courses to meet graduation requirements,” according to the USU release.
Visit USU’s nursing department online at https://nursing.usu.edu/programs/rn-to-bsn to learn more, or to apply for the RN to BSN completion program.