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Arkansas State University

What Should You Consider Before Enrolling in an RN to BSN Program?

Returning to school can be challenging, so you should carefully consider your plan to continue your education. RN to BSN programs prepare nurses for career advancement by helping them obtain the knowledge and skills they need to provide evidence-based patient care and lead their fellow nurses. For many nurses, enrolling in one of these programs is an excellent decision. Before you decide if an RN to BSN program is right for you, consider what your goals are and what you will need to be successful.

Determine Your Goals

Knowing what your career goals are can help you decide if an RN to BSN program is the right fit for you. Many nurses choose to pursue BSN degrees because they hope to advance in nursing, find a different job, expand their clinical knowledge, become more competitive in the marketplace, or become eligible for a leadership role. Before you choose a program, you should decide what your goals are and think carefully about how having a BSN will impact your plans. Since different nursing programs can also help you reach different goals, you should consider what possibilities in nursing appeal to you the most.

A large variety of nursing opportunities are available, and there is a need for qualified candidates. Having a BSN degree may help you stand out. Because many regions, healthcare settings and specialties are experiencing nursing shortages, there is still plenty of room for many more nursing graduates. In fact, an Institute of Medicine report urges more nurses to obtain BSN degrees and asks state governments and healthcare organizations to push for 80 percent of the nursing profession to hold at least a BSN by 2020. Going back to school can help you become better prepared for the upcoming changes in the healthcare industry.

Preparing a plan for your education and beyond can help you stay on track and meet your goals. As you plan, you may find that you still have questions about nursing careers and advancement in the field. If you are considering a nursing program, you may want to reach out to the school and see how they answer your questions. This strategy can help you decide if a particular program is right for you.

Understand Your Needs and Commitments

Since you know your needs and commitments better than anyone else, you should ask yourself how you plan to navigate your time in school. Consider how much time you can dedicate to studying. For some nurses, work and life responsibilities may restrict how much time and energy they can dedicate to school.

Everyone is different, but these factors may affect your educational experience:

  • Family needs, expectations and commitments.
  • Financial responsibilities.
  • Personal commitments.
  • How much time you have for schoolwork.

Nursing school typically requires substantial study time. Each nursing credit you earn may require three hours of homework and reading per week. Once you know for sure that you have the time to dedicate to nursing school, you may want to avoid planning vacations or special events until you know more about what your school commitments will look like. Even online programs require significant time commitments.

You may also have other needs to consider before choosing a program. Think about what helps you study and learn, what resources you may need, and any other concerns you have. If you have other questions about the coursework or what your experience as a student will be like, you may want to prepare a list of questions for the BSN program you are considering.

Financing Your Education

If you need assistance financing your education, you may want to consider financial aid, scholarships and other funding sources. Many nursing colleges offer scholarships and other aid to promising students who meet specific criteria. Some federal programs also offer tuition assistance, reimbursement or repayment. You should do your own research and determine what types of financial assistance are available for you.

The organization you work for may offer scholarships or provide tuition assistance. You should consider asking your employer if there are any tuition assistance programs and find out about any eligibility requirements that may apply.

Enrolling in an RN to BSN program may seem daunting at first, but earning your BSN degree can open up a wide range of opportunities for your nursing career. Before choosing a BSN program, you should carefully consider what your career goals are and how a bachelor’s degree in nursing can help you reach them. Nursing school is a significant time commitment, so you should plan accordingly and consider how furthering your education may impact your social and family life, finances, and work schedule.

Learn more about the Arkansas State online RN to BSN program.

Sources: 3 Mammoth Decisions to Make Before Going Back to School

Business News Daily: What Career Changers Should Know About Going Back to School

Forbes: 5 Things to Consider Before Going Back to School

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