This is Part Four of a four-part series covering nurse preparedness for the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®.
Part One listed the 14 “forces of magnetism” and explained why each one is important to the nursing profession.
Part Two explained the significance of the shared governance model in nursing.
Part Three addressed evidence-based nursing practice.
The Magnet Recognition Program places an emphasis on professional development and higher education in nursing. This ensures that nursing will remain relevant as a profession, and that nursing careers will advance to the point that nursing is represented in executive-level management.
The Magnet founders also recognize that nursing is about more than bedside skills and clinical techniques. Higher education can help nurses develop critical thinking and better communication skills, as well as openness to new ideas and new models of care – resulting in the highest possible standard of patient care.
What level of education is required under Magnet?
There’s sometimes a misconception that a hospital preparing for Magnet status will require all of its staff nurses to obtain a BSN degree. This is actually not true.
It is preferred and encouraged that nurses continue their education under Magnet. And it’s true that a certain percentage of a hospital’s staff nurses must have a BSN in order for the hospital to acquire and maintain Magnet status. There’s a good reason for this: The Magnet goal of excellent patient care can’t necessarily be met when all the highest educated nurses are working away from the bedside (i.e. in management).
And the good news is this: a hospital that is committed to acquiring Magnet status may have tuition programs in place, so that you can obtain a BSN, MSN, or even DNP at no cost or very little cost to yourself.
Finding the right RN to BSN program
While a nursing diploma or ADN provides the basic technical skills necessary for safe and effective patient care, a good RN to BSN program should build on those skills in a way that encourages critical thinking. It should also provide a broader perspective of health care systems, finance, and operations in a way that prepares a nurse for a leadership role.
If you’ll be working full- or part-time while pursuing your degree, you’ll want to carefully consider the length of the program and the flexibility of the course scheduling.
You’ll want to make sure the content of the course work will actually prepare you for advancement in any specialty areas you may be interested in, like infection control or case management. You’ll also want to check that the curriculum is relevant and covers the latest regulations and legislation, while simultaneously preparing you to stay abreast of future trends. And, you’ll have to determine if you’re best suited for traditional classroom learning or an online nursing degree program.
The benefits of an online nursing degree program
To enroll in an online RN to BSN program, you’ll need to have already completed the clinical requirements needed for a nursing license. If you’re already working, you’ll likely appreciate the great flexibility afforded by many online programs. At American Sentinel University for example, you’re never bound by terms or semesters that begin and end at set times – you can begin your course work on the first day of any month.
The experiences provided by online nursing programs are designed to support your professional development based on real-world nursing in today’s health care environment. This means you’ll be able to apply your newly gained knowledge to your current job immediately. As you learn the principles of evidence-based nursing practice, for example, you’ll see firsthand how they can be applied to patient care.
Look for a program that will help you develop professionally and personally. At American Sentinel, for instance, our BSN degree is mapped to the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) guidelines. The courses and resources allow you access to the latest health care guidelines, analytics tools, and industry opinion leaders. Our still-practicing faculty also address best practices for quality outcomes; teamwork, communication and leadership; stewardship of resources; and the practical exercise in real-world applications.