Benefits of Pursuing an RN to BSN Program in Arizona

Are you a professional nurse who is considering completing a baccalaureate degree? If so, you’re not alone. The number of programs — and completers — has been on the rise in recent years. The AACN believes that the bachelor’s degree should be the standard for professional nursing. Although there is not a separate licensing exam for post-licensure BSN students, they do learn advanced concepts that are applicable to direct patient care. In other words, the completion course teaches a lot more than just nursing leadership. BSN completion students can expect to get an introduction to nursing research and a deeper understanding of community and public health. Health assessment and pathophysiology are typically included in the curriculum. There may also be general studies classes like critical thinking, communications, and statistics.

BSN and Career Mobility

Arizona has a total of five magnet-recognized healthcare facilities, located in the communities of Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottsdale. These hospitals are known for an ability to recruit the best candidates. As of January 2011, magnet hospitals are subject to quotas for nurse managers. 75% must have at least a BSN. Case manager is among the BSN-required positions that you will frequently see posted. Clinical positions in the emergency room or oncology unit do not require a BSN but often list the degree as a preferred requirement. Other hospitals have BSN-preferred positions, as well. Examples of positions that may require or prefer a BSN are manager, occupational health nurse, clinical nurse educator, and various direct care specialties.

The Arizona Board of Nursing cautions that the nursing shortage is not over for the long-term. However, economic conditions have at least temporarily slowed hiring. What this means is that many facilities can afford to be selective. A job search in May 2011 revealed many postings that specified that a BSN was desired (along with experience). The higher degree can help make a candidate competitive for a more positions.

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BSN Program Considerations

If you know you’re in the market for a BSN, the logistics may be less difficult than you expect. RN to BSN programs cater to working professionals. In many cases, classwork is completed entirely online. Premier hospitals like having highly educated nurses, so they often accommodate those who choose to pursue their BSN. Lincoln Health Network, for example, has a partnership with Grand Canyon University.
Some employers offer tuition reimbursement for career-related education. The amount varies from institution to institution, but it can be generous. Scottsdale Healthcare, for example, will pay up to $5,250 per year.

What about time commitments? Chances are, your initial RN program took more than two years, once you figure in all the prerequisites. Your BSN program may well take less (if you choose to go through it full-time). Of course, for many, the real challenge is facing assignments and tests after not having been in school for years! If this is the case for you, you might want to enroll with a friend or co-worker.

Needs, of course, vary. Not all RN to BSN students have been out in the field. If you are just coming out of a community college program, you may get a seamless transition, due to pathways agreements that exist between institutions.

RN to BSN Programs in Arizona

Arizona State University

Chamberlain College of Nursing

Grand Canyon University

Northern Arizona University

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