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Arkansas State University

Learn About A-State’s Online RN to BSN Program

What to expect in the Arkansas State online RN to BSN program

The online RN to BSN program at Arkansas State University is the perfect choice for working nurses who want to advance their careers and improve their nursing practice. Accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), A-State ranked as one of the top universities in the southern U.S. in 2015, according to U.S. News & World Report. Because the program is online, ADN-prepared nurses — and those with diplomas — can continue working while they pursue a bachelor’s degree. The experienced faculty will be there to guide you every step of the way. Your clinical rotation, or RN to BSN Capstone, provides an opportunity for experienced nurses to explore a clinical topic of their choosing in depth.

What Skills and Knowledge Will I Gain in an RN to BSN Program?

Working RNs with an associate degree or nursing diploma may wonder what a BSN will offer them that they don’t already have. The knowledge and skills available in an RN to BSN program will deepen nurses’ working knowledge with specific, updated information about a range of topics. The following are just a few examples of the knowledge you’ll gain from a BSN program.
Evidence-based practice is part of the A-State online RN to BSN curriculum

Evidence-Based Practice

The online RN to BSN program at A-State explores evidence-based practice and its importance in today’s healthcare environment. Evidence-based practice is the mode of providing patient care using the results from stringent research as opposed to providing care based on traditional approaches. In NRS 3713 — Evidence-Based Practice, nursing students will learn about the nurse’s role in research, including professional writing skills and the tools to evaluate research.

Cultural Competence in Nursing

As the population in the U.S. continues to diversify, it’s important that healthcare keeps pace to provide the best care to all patients. Cultural values and traditions can play a large role in patient outcomes, so cultural competence is absolutely necessary for today’s nurses. A-State’s course Cultural Competence in the Health Professional (HP 3413) starts by teaching nurses how to assess themselves concerning awareness, knowledge, sensitivity and acceptance of cultural issues. The course defines culture and cultural values, along with healing traditions, transcultural communication, and how to foster cultural competence in coworkers.

Nurse Management

Many RNs decide to go back to school for their BSNs because they want to assume more responsibility and make more money. A-State’s Nursing Management course covers many aspects of nurse management, from leadership and managerial styles to the roles of nurse managers in various healthcare settings.

These are just a few of the courses that will enhance your knowledge of nursing practice. A-State’s RN to BSN program offers many classes to prepare you for the next step in your career:

  • Applied Statistics I.
  • Basic Human Nutrition.
  • Health Assessment and Exam.
  • Clinical Pathophysiology.
  • Professional Nursing Role.
  • Community Nursing.
  • High-Acuity Nursing.
  • Chronic Illness Nursing.

Program Options

One of the best things about A-State’s online RN to BSN program is that you can tailor it to fit your interests and needs — and not only your healthcare interests. To earn your bachelor’s degree, you must take courses in the arts and humanities, social sciences, communications, mathematics and sciences. Aside from nursing, you may have a passion for the theater. If so, you can take THEA 2503 — Fine Arts-Theater. History buffs may enjoy a course on U.S. history. A course like Introduction to Psychology may pique your interest and even benefit your work as a nurse.

Once you’ve satisfied the core requirements of your BSN, you can focus on your nursing classes. Within this program, you’ll have room to take elective courses you find interesting — or that may help you specialize as a nurse. Here are some of the upper-level nursing electives you can choose:

  • Perspective on Death and Dying.
  • Social Work and Health Care.
  • Religion and Spirituality in Social Work Practice.
  • Women’s Health: Past, Present, & Future.
  • Aging and the Older Adult.
  • Advanced Nutritional Concepts & Therapeutic Interventions.
  • Principles of Disaster & Emergency Preparedness.
  • Physical Care of Victims of Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear Disasters.
  • Risk Identification & Prevention in Disaster & Emergency Preparedness.
  • Evidence Based Practice: Disaster and Mental Health.
  • Forensic Nursing.

What’s Unique about Arkansas State?

Many students worry that an online program won’t provide the guidance that they need, but A-State has an advisor specifically for online RN to BSN students: Brinda McKinney, assistant professor of nursing, is there to help students from application to graduation. She speaks to all nursing students so they know what to do and what to expect at every step along the way.

Nursing students at A-State also work with a dedicated mentor at the facility where they complete their RN to BSN Capstone course.

What About Transfer Credits?

The RN to BSN program at Arkansas State prides itself on accepting as many credits as possible for their nursing students. Dr. Brinda McKinney, Assistant Professor of Nursing, explains, “Students are not required to repeat any general education courses they’ve had in the past.” You might wonder if a credit will count if the course was taken a long time many years ago. Dr. McKinney says, “Many of the programs require that electives or the gen ed credits be current — within the last five years. We do not have that requirement. It doesn’t matter if they took College Algebra in 1982. The reason being, they’re practicing RNs, so they don’t have to repeat that.”

If students aren’t sure if a course counts, they can send an email to Dr. McKinney with the name and number of the course and the course description, and she will let them know if those course credits are accepted. If students don’t have the course description, they can contact the school where they completed the course and get the course description for that year.

“I think one of the things that differentiates us from other programs is that we try so very hard to appreciate all the work that they’ve already done and then help them figure out how they can fit this into the work that they still need to get the bachelor behind their name,” McKinney adds.

Clinicals with A-State online RN to BSN program

Clinical Rotation at A-State

Your RN to BSN Capstone course goes beyond the standard clinical rotation. Like other programs, you’ll have the opportunity to apply your baccalaureate nursing knowledge to a real-world clinical setting, but you will also demonstrate your competence in problem identification, analysis, synthesis, plan implementation, and evaluation — in a specific area of your choosing. During your penultimate course — Nursing Management — you’ll come up with a plan that focuses on a problem you’re interested in solving. During your clinicals, you’ll put your plan to the test. Though this may sound a little intimidating, don’t worry: your final project does not depend on the success of your plan, but rather on the methods you used to create and implement your study.

Due to the online nature of the program, students may worry that they won’t be able to travel to a clinical setting approved by the school. A-State has agreements with most hospitals in the area and surrounding states. If a facility in your area does not currently work with Arkansas State, speak to your advisor about contacting them to make an agreement.

Finally, preceptors are not required as part of your clinical rotation in the A-State RN to BSN online program.

Benefits of Taking Classes Online

There are many benefits to taking classes online, and convenience may be the biggest. Many people with full-time jobs — especially nurses — do not have time to attend class on campus. Nurses often have irregular schedules, making attending classes at set times nearly impossible. The time spent commuting can also be prohibitive, and the university you want to attend may not be near you. With online classes, working nurses can attend virtual lectures during hours that are convenient for them. Because you can complete your coursework from anywhere with an internet connection, there’s never a need to commute to class.


When choosing an RN to BSN program, it is important that the school you choose is accredited both regionally and nationally. Accreditation means the program you complete lives up to the highest standards in nursing education. Hiring managers notice if the school you attended is accredited or not.

A-State’s nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). According to the ACEN website, “Accreditation is a voluntary, peer-review, self-regulatory process by which non-governmental associations recognize education institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards and criteria for educational quality.” ACEN specializes in accrediting nursing programs at all levels.

Arkansas State University’s RN to BSN program is also accredited by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing.

The Online RN to BSN Program at Arkansas State Is the Best Choice

For working RNs who are looking to advance their education and career, the online RN to BSN program at A-State is a great choice. Ranked as one of the top schools in the South by U.S. News & World Report and accredited by ACEN, A-State offers faculty, curriculum and support that are second to none. With the convenience of online courses and an accelerated schedule, you’ll find earning your bachelor’s degree in nursing is within reach.


This article is the second in a three-part series on Arkansas State’s online RN to BSN program. Be sure to read the first article, Online RN to BSN Program: A Sound Investment for Working Nurses, which details how much time and money you’ll need to invest in the program.


Learn more about the A-State online RN to BSN program.


Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing: Mission, Purpose, Goals

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