Hiring Patterns are Supporting the Pursuit of RN to BSN Programs in Colorado

Nursing students applying to the ADN program at the Community College of Denver received a letter in May of 2011. The associate level RN program was being discontinued. One reason was that the school was aware that many of the area’s hospitals were giving hiring preference to BSN candidates. News like this can be startling. Does it mean that the ADN will cease to be an entry point or that ADN nurses are destined to remain unemployed? No, the situation is not that drastic. The AACN has noted that, nationwide, hiring patterns are affected by recessions and that there may well be a nursing shortage when the economy lifts.

It is, however, a sign of the times. Many organizations, including the Institute of Medicine, do view the BSN as better nursing preparation. During difficult economic times, it can be hard to get a desirable position without a bachelor’s. Even during prosperous times, the degree can open up new avenues. Metropolitan State College of Denver lists the following as options for a BSN-prepared nurse: community health nursing, school nursing, parish nursing, and acting as a receptor for nursing students. MSCD notes that these options are usually not open to those who hold only an associate degree.

Some nurse with diploma or associate level education pursue the BSN for enhanced career mobility; others are just in pursuit of excellence. A student can expect advanced nursing coursework in areas like health assessment, public health, and nursing leadership.

BSN Career Mobility

Case management positions favor candidate with more education, as do some positions in the operating room or critical care. If you want to work at a premier hospital, it can be an asset to have your BSN. Colorado has eight magnet facilities, located in six cities. Magnet facilities have quotas when it come to the educational levels of nurse managers. There are no such mandates for bedside nurses, but for many facilities, asking for the higher degree is one component of hiring the best. The University of Colorado has been quoted by the ANCC as saying that, as a magnet hospital, they only consider new graduates with BSN degrees.

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RN to BSN Program Considerations

People pursuing RN to BSN completion find themselves in varying economic situations. Facilities like the University of Colorado Hospital offer tuition reimbursement to employees seeking higher degrees. If a nurse is already drawing a good salary, and a big portion of her expenses are reimbursed, then the decision to pursue higher education can be easy indeed. (This is especially true for someone works at a facility that offers even a small pay differential for the higher degree.)

For someone who hasn’t found a position, the decision may be more difficult. If nursing is something you love, and if you do foresee yourself getting another degree in the future, then you may want to look into financial aid opportunities. The AACN has suggested this could be a good time for seeking further education.

Your employment situation may determine what degree program best meets your needs If you are working full-time, you might look for an online program that has no clinical requirement. If you are not working, you may do better with a program that places you out into the field — that has internship opportunities, for instance.

The lines are blurring between traditional and nontraditional. Even programs at traditional institutions schedule their programs for working nurses. They might go to school two days a week, for instance. Online programs may also provide interesting options outside the virtual classroom. Colorado Christian’s RN students provided healthcare in Costa Rica as their capstone project; this experience comes after more than a year of online study. The bottom line is, there are a lot of possibilities to explore!

RN to BSN Programs in Colorado

Adams State College

Colorado Christian University

Mesa State College

Metropolitan State College of Denver

Regis University

University of Colorado

University of Northern Colorado

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