Q&A: RN to BSN program

Hello! I have officially been back to blogging consistently for a month and I have to say it feels good to be back! I graduated Medical University of South Carolina’s RN to BSN program in August 2019. I loved the program and had a great experience there and I am proud to call myself an MUSC alum! I did a LOT of research of different programs before I started MUSC so I wanted to share some general information on RN to BSN programs that I found in my research as well as a little bit of my experience in one to anyone who may be thinking of taking this path. Sorry this post turned out to be longer than anticipated, but I was trying to answer a lot of the questions I know I had before starting this journey. Let me know if you have any questions!

What is a RN- BSN Program?

A RN-BSN program is a transition program for Associate of Degree Registered Nurses to become BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) prepared nurses. The actual program is typically one year if you go full time, although part time and self paced programs are also an option. Upon graduation, you will be awarded the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Classes include gerontology, physical assessment, leadership, and research.

Are prerequisites required?

Yes. Most bachelor degrees require at least 60 hour of core classes- math, science, english, arts, etc. I completed my classes at the community college I attended for my ADN (RN) program. I was able to earn an Associate of Science Degree and complete all the pre-requisites required for my program. Make sure you check the program you are interested in for required pre-reqs before you start taking classes! Most have specific classes that are required. Part of the reason I chose MUSC was because I had all the classes and wouldn’t need to take any more. A lot of the other programs I looked at I would have had to taken an extra semester of classes because I needed a specific science, math, psychology, etc.

What type of time commitment is required?

RN to BSN programs vary in what type of classroom attendance is required. The program I attended was 100% online and did not require any specific check in times, which I really liked. Some programs are hybrid, where you attend class or lab weekly/biweekly and the rest is online. Other, may be 100% in seat, although I don’t think those are as common. As far as coursework and studying, I would say I spent at least 10-15 hours a week completing assignments.

What was the coursework like?

Papers, papers, and discussion post. You will write, “Great post! Thanks for sharing!” more times than you can count. And you will spend a lot of time researching, writing, and editing papers. HOWEVER. Don’t be afraid. I personally like to write and research and don’t mind papers, but I know not everyone is this way. Even if you don’t like writing papers, it can be done. If you are super worried, look to see if you program provides any type of writing help or resources. Also, Purdue OWL APA guidelines + an APA manual are absolute MUST.

Do I have to take the NCLEX again?

Nope! An RN is an RN, whether BSN or ADN prepared! No more NCLEX!

Why should I get my bachelors?

I think their is a lot of disagreement on if nurses should have to obtain their BSN or not, especially with the push for programs to only be BSN, magnet status wanting hospitals to house 80% BSN prepared nurses, etc. I think it’s a very personal decision to go back to school and varies among the individual. It is a big financial and time commit to return to school, but you can find ways to help with that. My hospital reimbursed me for part of my tuition in exchange for me staying one year as a RN. Going online and having a flexible class schedule allowed me to work and live without school (completely) ruling my life.

Most hospitals are requiring nurses to complete BSN to keep your job unless you are grandfathered in, I had to sign a contract I would have mine within 5 years of hiring. BSN also opens up a lot of job oppurutnies both in and out of the bedside/hospital. Things like case management, leadership, program coordinations, public health, education, etc. all either require BSN, or you will be more likely to get the job with the added boost. It also sets you up for grad school and continued education if you decide that is the route for you.

What was your personal experience with the program? 

First day of “class”

I really did love my BSN program and had a good experience. It was all online and didn’t require any set log in times so I could keep my schedule and not make any changes at work. I went to school full time and worked full time and still felt like I had time for fun and hobbies. A lot more time than I ever had in my initial licensure program. I understand the exhaustion and burn out that follows completed nursing school, but honestly, RN-BSN is not nearly as stressful. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of papers, discussion post, and research- but the stress and amount of work is way less. I was busy but it was manageable.

I will be honest and say that I do not feel the program necessarily helped me grow a lot clinically as a nurse- all of that growth has come from my time as a nurse. However, the research and discussions I engaged in really helped me to see nursing in a big picture kind of way. And to be honest, it made me see a lot of the issues with nursing. Systemic issues involving leadership, staffing, burn out, disparities in healthcare, and more all came to light and really changed my perspective on some things. It could be discouraging at times but it also helped me to grow as a nurse and person and helped to shape and guide my beliefs and passions as well as career goals and aspirations.

Have you or do you plan to attend an RN to BSN program? Do you have any questions for me?

2 thoughts on “Q&A: RN to BSN program”

Melissa Weaver

Another great and informative post!

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