RN to BSN Program Enrollments on the Rise: RN to BSN Programs in Idaho

The AACN reports that enrollments in RN to BSN programs have been on the rise for eight years. RNs are responding to recommendations by key nursing organizations. BSN programs give registered nurses the skills they need to function with more autonomy in hospital settings and also in a range of other settings around the community. According to the Institute of Medicine, a baccalaureate-trained nursing force is necessary if the American healthcare system is to rise to meet the needs of an aging and chronically ill population. There needs to be a greater focus on wellness and prevention. Services also need to be moved away from acute care hospitals and major medical centers. The AACN notes that even in hospital settings, though, higher levels of education translate into better patient outcomes.

An RN to BS program includes approximately 30 units of advanced nursing skills. Coursework is applicable for direct care as well as coordinative and supervisory positions. Typical classes include health assessment, nursing research, community and public health nursing, and professional role development. There is often a practicum in public health. Sometimes there are also practicum experiences in health assessment and nursing leadership. If you need a distance program with no clinical requirements, though, this is an option as well.

BSN Career Mobility Potential in Idaho

Positions for nurse managers and supervisors often go to those with baccalaureate level education. Hospitals with magnet status are required to hire baccalaureate-educated nurses for most nurse manager positions. This includes St. Luke’s in Boise and Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene. Since the quotas are a part of the process of achieving status, hospitals generally begin altering their hiring practices long before they actually apply for magnet designation.

The BSN is often preferred for positions that require coordination and planning. Hospices and home health centers hire BSN nurses to coordinate services and ensure compliance with all applicable regulations. A number of Idaho employers prefer the BSN for direct care positions. 2011 examples include pediatric intensive care, critical care, and labor and delivery. The baccalaureate can be a particular asset if you want to make a lateral move to a premier healthcare institution. St. Luke’s lists a wide range of bedside positions as “BSN strongly preferred”. Nationwide, you see more BSN-preferred bedside positions during leaner economic times; this is because experienced RNs choose to re-enter the workforce and vacancy rates go down.

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RN to BSN Program Considerations

Idaho has a statewide articulation agreement; this helps you transfer credits easily and avoid redundancy. As an RN, you can expect to get credit for lower level nursing courses. Some credits may be held in ESCROW until you successfully complete the first class or two of your program.

RN to BSN programs are designed for the working professional. Many use computer-enhanced learning. Classes may be taught entirely online or may combine distance learning with limited classroom meetings. E-learning platforms have come a long way in a short time. Some nurses are a little intimidated at the thought of using certain computer programs. They don’t need to be as there is a lot of support out there. Some schools offer training in use of the online learning environment. This may take the form of an on-campus orientation or even a one credit class.

How long will your degree program take you? The time frame is largely up to you. At Brigham Young University, for instance, you may choose a timeframe between three and six semesters. Lewis-Clark State University stipulates only that you complete your program within six years. Nationwide, the shortest programs take only about a year. Generally, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars per credit hour for tuition and fees.

RN to BSN programs in Idaho

Boise State University

Bringham Young University – Idaho

Idaho State University

Lewis-Clark State College

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