Karen’s Corner: So You’re Going Back to School…At Your Age?

Karen’s Corner: So You’re Going Back to School…At Your Age?

Part one of an eight part series, Karen’s Corner outlines advice and insight on going back to school from our very own Dr. Karen Whitham, assistant dean, undergraduate nursing programs.

It’s bound to happen – that look of shock and disbelief when you tell your friends and family that you’re going back to school to get your BSN. Their questions are probably the same ones you’ve been asking yourself: “At your age? What for? How will you manage school on top of work and family?” Here are a few encouraging words from someone who has been in your shoes.

You’re not alone

The average age of our students in the RN to BSN program is 45. Typically, these are nurses who have been out of school and working in the profession for 10 to 20 years. As someone who took this path in her mid forties, I can tell you from personal experience that older students often have many advantages over their younger classmates:  focus, commitment, life experience and the maturity to self-advocate, to name a few.

You love your profession

You want to elevate the level of patient care. The most experienced RNs are often the ones most surprised when they learn something they can put to use right away. I call these “aha moments” and it’s just wonderful to see nurses get excited about knowledge they can take back to their patients. Of course, there are plenty of employment-related reasons to get your BSN, but that’s a topic for later discussion. The best reason to get your BSN is this: when the level of nursing education goes up, mortality and morbidity rates go down.

You can make this work

The average time commitment per week is 10 to 15 hours. All of the classes are 100% online so that you can fit them in around work, family and friends. Having done this myself as a working mother, I will tell you that it is entirely doable. It does take commitment and discipline, as well as the support of family and friends, but you can do it and still enjoy your life.

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