Let us help you make the jump … If you’ve been reading along for the past several weeks, you know that we’ve been exploring, in a series of articles, suggestions for overcoming perceived barriers that an experienced RN might have when considering returning to school for a BSN. It’s not always an easy decision, and there may – understandably – be confusion along the way.
Here’s a brief recap of our tips and a handy worksheet that helps you compare BSN programs, so you you can jump back into education:
1. Weigh the factors that contribute to the industry push for more education. Some nurses who are well into their careers may feel resentment at being asked to go back to school. It’s important to realize that, when industry forces including the Institute of Medicine and Magnet Recognition Program® call for a workforce of BSN-prepared nurses, they are not directing criticism at ADNs. Rather, they are responding to a health care system in a state of rapid change due to new legislative reforms and the increasing complexity of care delivery – and recognizing that ADN nurses may not been prepared for the new kinds of roles and functions that the evolving health care system will soon demand of them. The curriculum offered in a BSN program emphasizes leadership and evidence-based practice in a way that the much shorter ADN program cannot.
2. Determine your personal attitudes about the value of more education. The changes taking place in health care will eventually affect the way you practice nursing – that much is certain. Therefore, it may be wise for you to examine your thoughts and feelings about going back to school for a baccalaureate degree. American Sentinel invites you to download our BSN-Readiness Worksheet and assess where you personally stand on the matter: how can you leverage the industry push to help you accomplish your career and personal goals?
3. Find out what other nurses have gained from the BSN experience. Many middle-aged or experienced RNs who return to school to fulfill an employer’s requirement do not believe, at first, that their new BSN degree will change the way they practice nursing. Yet several studies show that these nurses quickly found that education had unexpected benefits. The National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) recapped these studies in an article online, finding that RNs in a BSN program noticed subtle changes in their skills, reasoning abilities, and perspectives on nursing practice. American Sentinel has also reported on many real-life “success stories” about nurses who reached a goal, transformed their life, or made a dream come true through more education.
4. Overcome the barriers you perceive might stand in your way. Many RNs have admitted they initially feared they didn’t have enough time to balance school with work and family. Yet the online learning experience gives adult students a tremendous amount of scheduling flexibility and allows nurses to pursue programs that might not be available locally in a traditional classroom setting. It can virtually erase time and space challenges, making it possible for nurses to gain tremendous amounts of knowledge from a personalized work station at home. Another common barrier nurses run up against when contemplating more education is a fear of going back to school and all that entails – writing term papers, using computers, fitting in with other students. The good news is this: A great online nursing school will use an adult learning model, provide an orientation to online learning, and offer many resources to assist adult students, such as one-on-one guidance from a dedicated advisor, webinars, and live chat groups.
5. Choose a school with a culture where you will fit in. When it comes to going back to school, a common anxiety held by RNs is the fear of being plunged into a foreign culture – a classroom filled with 18-year-old nursing students, for example, or old-fashioned nursing instructors who may treat students as “lesser” peers. The good news is, with the current push for nurses to advance their education, large numbers of nurses in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are returning to school – and online programs and faculty have evolved to meet the needs of nurses like you.
Now that you’re ready to start exploring nursing schools, we’ve created a handy tool to make the process easier!
Please download our BSN-Program Comparison Worksheet. This BSN-Program Comparison Worksheet is tailor-made to help nurses compare the nursing programs and amenities of different schools, side by side. Also, talk to one of our Admissions Engagement Managers @ 866.922.5690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if our flexible, online, CCNE-accredited RN to BSN program is right for you.