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Nursing is a rewarding career, but it’s also a demanding one. Nurses are busy from the time they clock in until the time they clock out. Then they head home to be met with the demands of family responsibilities. Yet in 2010, the Institute of Medicine made a call asking for 80% of all registered nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing by the year 2020. National nursing organizations took up the call, and now the goal is 85% of all RNs having this degree. Many hospitals have even higher goals as they strive for the coveted Magnet status.

While a better educated nursing workforce is a good goal, it is not necessarily realistic with the way today’s nurses operate. Most RNs are working full-time jobs, with demanding 12-hour shift a common feature. Many also have family and parenting responsibilities. Classroom-based training is not realistic or feasible. They simply do not have time to go back to traditional nursing school to earn their BSN.

So how are these standards going to be met within the next year? The answer is through the online education model. Many schools are rising to the challenge offering RN-to-BSN degrees that are offered entirely online. These programs provide the flexibility that busy nurses need to be able to pursue their degrees without sacrificing their family or career responsibilities.

A Closer Look at the Need

Why is there such a push to have more nurses obtain bachelor’s programs? Why did the Institute of Medicine put that 80% figure out there in the first place?

The first reason is down to change—medical care is becoming increasingly complex. In the 21st century, nurses not only need hands-on skills to do their jobs, but also need to have a clear understanding of health policy, embrace evidenced-based practices, and know the value of collaboration. Today’s nurses must be able to make decisions on complex topics, and the limitations of an RN program make it difficult to obtain this level of skill and knowledge.

Not only that, but research has found that BSN-carrying nurses have better patient outcomes and higher overall competency in the field. Better patient outcomes are beneficial to everyone from the companies that hire nurses to the patients that receive care, which makes the BSN a degree worth pushing for.

Another driving factor is the coveted Magnet designation that hospitals are pushing to obtain. In order to become Magnet hospitals, healthcare facilities must show that they have a proven plan for obtaining the 80% BSN level. Many are striving for higher levels in order to ensure they reach this benchmark.

As a result of this push, many healthcare facilities are now calling for nurses to have a BSN for even entry-level positions. Those that are already in the field need to start considering options to increase their level of education, and those who are considering a new career need to look to BSN programs at the outset. With so many nurses who are currently in need of additional training to get their BSN degree, online programs are growing in demand.

Why Online Works

Online degree programs for RN-to-BSN training work for a number of reasons. The primary one is the flexibility they provide. Many programs require nurses to be online weekly, but do not dictate when that has to be. Many classes are pre-recorded, so nurses do not have to sit at the computer at any set time for a live class. If the nurse needs to log in at midnight after a long shift or first thing in the morning before getting the kids off to school, that flexibility is available.

Online degree programs also require no travel. All of the work is completed at home, in a coffee shop or anywhere reliable internet service is readily available. This creates less strain on the busy working RN, who is already dividing time between work and home responsibilities.

“We have accommodated on many occasions for students with family and life emergencies,” says Holly Breault, Program Chair of Post University’s RN-to-BSN degree program.

“Also, since we understand that all our nursing students are already nurses, they have families, work, and other responsibilities to juggle. We work with students to the best of our ability with their busy life schedules.”

Breault continued, “I have logged online in the middle of the forest while camping to help a student understand a virtual reality simulation.”

In addition, much of the coursework for these programs can be completed during lunch breaks on the job, if the RN is working a field with scheduled breaks. Again, this level of flexibility makes it possible to complete coursework even as a busy working professional.

Online RN-to-BSN degree programs do not sacrifice the quality of the education on the altar of convenience. These programs come from top nursing schools and feature education from exceptional instructors. The quality of the education is high, even if the format of the education is flexible. When students have questions or need more interaction, the format allows for them to get clarification directly from their instructors, even without a traditional classroom model.

“We include nursing students in our Nursing Advisory Board meetings,” says Breault. “We review feedback closely as well as program learning outcomes to ensure that we are teaching our students and that they are learning.”

Upgrade to a BSN Through Post University

If you are an RN who is looking to earn your BSN so you can position yourself for better career possibilities, but you need the flexibility of an online program, Post University has your needs covered. With an RN-to-BSN degree program offered entirely online, you can build your professional knowledge and skills while still maintaining your full-time career. If you want to ensure that you are part of that required 80%, now is the time to begin your training—2020 is just around the corner.

At Post University, the RN-to-BSN courses are taught in an 8-week, fully online format. It focuses on leadership, cultural competency, end-of-life care, clinical reasoning and ethics, community health, and communication. It provides the needed skills for today’s demanding nursing world. Our program uses a virtual, immersive training setup to help nurses practice making real-life decisions and collaborate with colleagues, all without needing to leave home. These planned practice experiences are what make the Post University RN-to-BSN program stand out.

In the current medical world, an RN degree is not going to be sufficient for long. Make sure you are prepared for the new demands by earning your BSN from Post University. Learn more about our online RN-to-BSN degree program today.