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Calling All Talented Nurses: RN to BSN Programs in Maryland

Are you a talented RN who is considering going back to school for a higher degree? If so, some of the biggest organizations in nursing are standing behind you. The Tri-Council is made up of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, and two other prominent nursing organizations. In 2010, the Tri-Council issued a strong call to action: They declared that the nation needs more nurses with education at the baccalaureate level and higher. Why? Health management is becoming more complex. This complexity involves individual therapies and treatment plans and extends to system-wide care delivery models. According to the Tri-Council, nurses with baccalaureate level education are prepared to address healthcare disparities.

What does an RN to BS program have to offer to a nurse who’s already very competent at patient care? Candidates will study health assessment and community health. They will receive an introduction to evidence-based care and scholarly research. They will also learn to function as part of interdisciplinary teams. These skills are crucial for nurses who manage care through social service organizations.

Your school may have partnerships with various organizations around the community. This can give you the opportunity to put in some time at settings that are very different from the ones where you did your hours as an ADN. Towson University, for example, has clinical practice sites through Baltimore County Public Schools and Essex Health Department. As a BSN student, you may have the opportunity to assess and support the needs of families as well as individual patients. As you study elder care, you may be paired up with an elderly person and his or family members.

At some institutions, BSN students have the opportunity to integrate (and display) their knowledge through a final capstone project.

BSN Career Mobility

A BSN can enhance your marketability in hospital settings as well. Maryland has six healthcare facilities that have been granted magnet status by the AACN. There are other Maryland facilities that advertise a lot of positions with the designation BSN preferred. A scan of job postings (May 2011) reveals BSN-preferred direct care patient positions advertised by employers from Bowie Health Center to Dimensions Health Care. There are a wide range of these positions, and some may be uniquely suited to your skill set. It’s not just ER -- and it’s not just supervisory roles either. Health education positions, for example, may strongly prefer a bachelor’s.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

Some nurses are interested in completing their baccalaureate, but feel that it is out of their reach. Don’t get discouraged -- you may be further along the path than you realize. Under the Maryland Articulation Model, students with RN licensing in Maryland (or another Compact state) are awarded 30 units of lower level nursing courses. You can also expect to receive credit for general studies courses that you took when completing your first degree program. The amount varies depending on what’s on your transcript, but up to 60 may be granted if they have been earned. (All BSN students are expected to complete at least 30 units of upper division nursing courses at their chosen university, but most will have some liberal arts classes to do as well.)

Programs are designed to accommodate the busy professional. One option is to take classes one day a week. Another is to take classes online -- web-enhanced learning has come a long way! Some employers even reimburse their employees for tuition expenses. John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, for example, will pay up to $5,000 a year for full-time employees.

RN to BSN Programs in Maryland

Bowie State University

College of Notre Dame of Maryland

Coppin State University

Salisbury University

Stevenson University

Towson University

University of Maryland

Washington Adventist University

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