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Unparalleled Opportunities in Health Care: RN to BSN Programs in Maine

The healthcare world of today is one of unparalleled opportunity, but it’s also facing some significant challenges. In order to effectively care for an aging and chronically ill population, many services need to transition from the hospital out into the community. Community nursing can also help to extend healthcare to marginalized populations. Tomorrow’s healthcare workers need to be healthcare managers, collaborators, and researchers.

Change begins at the baccalaureate level, or so key stakeholders tell us. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the Institute of Medicine have both amassed a considerable amount of relevant research. The IOM notes that the healthcare system is fractionalized and inefficient, but that nurses could be a key force for changing it. One of the IOM’s goals is to have 80% of the nursing workforce complete a bachelor of science by 2020. The AACN has located numerous studies that correlate patient outcomes with the educational level of nurses. They also note that many hospital directors believe that there is indeed a significant difference between nurses at differentiate levels.

What can a student expect to learn? CCNE-accredited programs follow the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice. BSN completion students take classes in community or public health, nursing research, informatics, nursing leadership and management. Clinical requirements are generally low, but there may be a practicum in community or public health.

As a BSN completion student, you may have the opportunity to take a nursing elective in an area of special interest. The University of Southern Maine, for example, has multiple options in holistic health and complementary therapies.

BSN Career Mobility

How can a BSN help you advance your career? In Maine, you will find many medical centers that advertise BSN preferred and BSN required positions. Some are clinical positions, in areas ranging from mental health to wound care. Positions for case managers and care managers are frequently posted with the designation BSN preferred. You’ll also find positions in settings away from the hospital. Baccalaureate nurses are direct care nurses, but they’re care coordinators and leaders as well. According to St Josephs, public health positions also prefer candidates with baccalaureate degree.

A BSN degree is also useful for units managers who want to make a lateral move to a premier hospital. As of 2011, hospitals with magnet designation have quotas they must maintain with regard to the educational level of nurse managers. Maine has three medical centers with magnet status: Acadia Hospital, Mid Coast Hospital, and Maine Medical Center.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

Many students want to complete their degrees, but worry about the feasibility. Fortunately, there are many organizations working to bring courses within reach -- and even to bring them into your own home. BSN completion students may choose to take classes on campus or online.

How long will the program last? This depends on your previous education and on how much coursework you want to do each term. Some schools analyze your transcripts and determine how much of the traditional BSN program you can receive credit for and how much is left to be done. You may be closer than you realize. At St Joseph’s College, an ADN student may receive anywhere from 65 to 90 credits and a diploma student anywhere from 30 to 90. Students should be aware that some schools will award credits based on challenge exams like the CLEP. This can be an excellent opportunity if you’re good at studying on your own. Actual residency requirements can be as low as 30 credits; if you do have to do some general studies classes on-site, it will add to this total.

RN to BSN Programs in Maine

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

University of Maine

University of New England

University of Southern Maine

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