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Prepare for Leadership Roles and More Complex Patient Care: RN to BSN Programs in Kentucky

RNs take the same licensing examination whether they have training at the associate level or baccalaureate level. Increasingly, though, their roles are being differentiated. A BSN nurse is prepared to take on all the roles that an ADN is, from direct patient care to delegation. She or he is also prepared for more complex roles in patient care and leadership plus additional roles in the larger community.

The Kentucky Nursing Education Mobility Task Force has put together a set of competencies expected of nurse at different levels. These competencies encompass care delivery, care management, and professionalism. There are at least subtle differences in all areas between what is expected of an ADN and what is expected of a BSN. An ADN, for example, is expected to advocate for his patients by using appropriate protocols to support care decisions; a BSN is expected to come up with strategies to gather resources that may be needed.

A BSN nurse typically receives additional education in health assessment, leadership, and research strategies. Public health is also included in the curriculum. Other courses, like cross-cultural nursing or care of the aging population, may also be included in a BSN completion program.

The task force report (found on the site of the Kentucky Board of Nursing) gives a portrait of real Kentucky nurses and some of the reasons they have chosen to move their education along the continuum. Some are motivated by the desire to follow a particular passion or just be the best nurse they can be. Some are motivated by career mobility.

BSN Career Mobility

A BSN can make a nurse more competitive for a variety of jobs. Among these are positions at the most prestigious hospitals. Kentucky has five magnet hospitals, including Frankfort Regional Medical Center, recognized for the first time in 2011. Magnet hospitals are required to have at least 75% of their nurse manager positions staffed by people with BSN degrees or higher. Long term care facilities may favor BSN candidates for positions like resident services specialist. Some of the state’s hospitals increase compensation for BSN-prepared nurses.

In difficult economic times, experienced nurses often choose to re-enter the job market after an absence. One result is that positions become more competitive. You begin to see more positions with the designation “BSN preferred”.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

You may enroll in classes full time and complete your education in as little as one year, or you may spread coursework out over several years. Even full-time courses are sometimes designed for nurses who have jobs and/ or families. All, or most, coursework may be completed online. If there are on-campus sessions, they may be held on weekends or occasional Saturdays. If the school is large, there may be outreach courses in the evening at more than one location. Some programs do have practicum work to be completed each term. There can be advantages to this, but you will need to decide how this will work within your schedule.

Exam scores may determine admission or help you shorten you path. Your school might offer a pharmacology exam challenge, for example. If you completed a diploma program as opposed to an ADN one, you may be asked to take a validation exam before you are awarded credits for prior studies.

The cost is of course a concern, but some employers do offer tuition assistance, either full or partial. Frankfort Regional Medical Center offers up to $6,000 a year for full-time employees ($3,000 for part-time). Some hospitals have partnerships with particular schools If you work full-time for UK Albert B. Chandler, Children’s, or Good Samaritan, you can receive up to 8 credit hours of education a semester at the University of Kentucky.

RN to BSN Programs in Kentucky

Bellamine University

Berea College

Eastern Kentucky University

Kentucky State University

Midway College

Morehead State University

Spalding University

University of Kentucky

University of Louisville

Western Kentucky University

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