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Open Up New Opportunities: RN to BSN Programs in Connecticut

If you complete your nursing baccalaureate, you could open up new opportunities for yourself. Organizations like the Tri-Council for Nursing and the Institute of Medicine don't want to eliminate the ADN as a pathway into nursing, but they do want to differentiate practice so that some roles are reserved for candidates with higher degrees. Why? Healthcare is growing more complex, from a medical standpoint and from a systems standpoint. In order to effectively care for the population, services need to be transitioned into the community. The focus needs to switch from crisis management to management of chronic conditions. This requires collaboration between teams of professionals.

An RN to BS program will help increase your knowledge of both health assessment and health informatics. You will also learn skills that are unique to community and public health settings. Other topics include nursing research and nursing leadership. Schools often have` a humanities requirement, and the nursing program may ask that you do prerequisite courses in statistics or human genetics.

Most BSN completion programs are accredited by CCNE or the NLNAC. You can expect them to cover similar core requirements, but there may be extras or innovations. Saint Joseph College, for instance, has a multicultural RN to BS program that emphasizes cultural competence and helps you communicate in Spanish. There are two tracks: one for students who are at the early stages of Spanish proficiency, another for more advanced students who want to advance healthcare causes in Connecticut’s Latino communities.

BSN Career Mobility

Baccalaureate completion can help you advance to positions of greater responsibility. Case manager and clinical supervisor are among the roles that favor a competent baccalaureate level nurse. The higher degree can also help you if your goal is to make a lateral transfer to a more desirable employer. If you have your eye on a nurse manager position at a magnet healthcare facility like Middlesex Hospital, you will need the extra degree. Employers like Middlesex have career ladder programs in place that reward education as well as experience.

Hiring practices are effected somewhat by economic conditions. During 2011, many of Connecticut’s healthcare facilities are advertising bedside positions as BSN-preferred.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

Connecticut has a mandated articulation plan. The state’s public universities and private community-technical colleges are required by law to put articulation programs in place. This allows you to take classes that build on previous learning experiences but don’t repeat concepts.

If you want to take a distance learning program offered by an out-of-state institution, that is an option as well. You can expect that an NLNAC- or CCNE-accredited program will cover the expected concepts at the appropriate level. You can generally expect to receive credit for about thirty units of basic nursing coursework, but there will be at least minor policy differences from institution to institution. Sometimes credit will be variable; units may be awarded on the basis of challenge exams or a professional portfolio. You will generally receive credits for non-nursing courses as well. You may be able to use CLEP or DANTES to further shorten your general education requirements.

You may select an online program or a traditional one. Online classes require a certain degree of computer proficiency, but the skills required may be rather basic: internet, email, and word processing. Classes for working professionals are often offered in eight week (as opposed to sixteen week) sessions. The amount of time you spend completing your degree is at your own discretion. Some schools are quite liberal when it come to allowing you to progress slowly or even take a bit of time off as needed. Fairfield University, for example, notes that the maximum time for degree completion is ten years.

RN to BSN Programs in Connecticut

Central Connecticut State University

Fairfield University

Sacred Heart University

Saint Joseph College

Southern Connecticut State University

University of Hartford

Western Connecticut State University

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