Mark Hall has worked as a registered nurse (RN) for nearly 20 years, yet he recently returned to school for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). With all that experience, some might question the value of pursuing a BSN. At first, Hall was a little doubtful himself. He now believes that earning a BSN will put him in a better position to improve healthcare and advance his career.
Hall is enrolled in the University of Louisiana (UL) at Lafayette online RN to BSN program. He is one of many RNs returning to school to earn a BSN. One reason is a strong push nationally for nurses to achieve higher levels of education.
Research shows better patient outcomes for hospitals with more BSNs. As a result, the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) has called for 80 percent of the nursing workforce to have a BSN by 2020. In fact, some hospitals already require their nurses to have a BSN. States are moving in this direction as well.
Is It Possible to Balance School With a Busy Schedule?
Online programs are known for being flexible and convenient. For working RNs, this is a necessity. UL Lafayette's 100-percent online RN to BSN program makes it possible for students to earn their BSN while managing everything else in their lives, including their jobs. Multiple start dates let students begin at a time that works best for them.
For Melyssa Johnson, UL Lafayette's online format was the only way to go. Like many RNs enrolled in an RN to BSN program, Johnson was working full time. She was also 31 weeks pregnant, and her husband was deployed. Showing up in person for a class was not an option for her.
Despite everything she has going on, Johnson said homework is not a struggle. "Whether it's two in the morning, five at night or at noon, you can do it anywhere." For Johnson, that might be a coffee shop or on a break at work.
The online format also worked out well for Kevin Adams, who graduated from UL Lafayette's RN to BSN program in May 2017. Adams said it took some discipline at first. But once he figured out what was required, he was able to balance school and work -- while leaving time for the gym, the dog, the house, and even the lawn.
Adams also liked the accelerated time frame of his online courses. "Every seven or eight weeks," he explained, "you have a course out of the way. It keeps your interest."
As Hall, Johnson and Adams all found, UL Lafayette's online RN to BSN program is convenient. But that does not mean it is easy. Hall found it more demanding than he expected. But, as Johnson noted, "You can go at your own pace."
NursingLicensure.org points out that more hospitals are now hiring only nurses with BSNs. Others are requiring RNs to complete their BSN within a certain period of time. In Johnson's case, her employer requires RNs to earn their BSN within five years of employment.
BSN-prepared nurses are good for patients. But earning a BSN can also put nurses on track to achieve personal goals. Adams, for example, wants to go into teaching one day. For Johnson, a BSN gets her a step closer to becoming a family nurse practitioner.
Whether it is mandatory or not, there are many advantages to earning a BSN. UL Lafayette's RN to BSN program provides the flexibility nurses need to get there.
Learn more about the UL Lafayette online RN to BSN program.
Sources:NursingLicensure.org: The Future of the Associate Degree in Nursing Program
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