Explore New Roles and Opportunities: RN to BSN Programs in Massachusetts

Do you want to explore new roles and opportunities in our changing healthcare system? A BSN could help you. Nursing organizations aren’t trying to eliminate the diploma or associate degree as pathways into the nursing profession; they do, however, want to see roles differentiated. The Tri-Council for Nursing, which includes both ANA and the AACN, issued a consensus statement in 2010. This statement includes a strong call to action. Large numbers of highly educated nurses are needed, and so these leaders are calling on all nurses to further their education.

A BSN program is broader in scope than an ADN one. If you rise to the challenge, you can expect additional instruction in health assessment and disease pathology. You will also approach nursing from more of a systems standpoint. Typical coursework includes nursing leadership, public health nursing, scholarly research, and informatics. You may take classes in professional communication and healthcare policy. Some schools also include a course in global health.

There will generally also be some general education classes. These can develop critical thinking and also provide a richer understanding of the human experience. Indeed, liberal arts is a part of the AACN’s “Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing“. Emmanuel College lists appreciation of diverse human experience among program outcomes.

Massachusetts BSN Career Mobility

A BSN can open new doors. Many Massachusetts healthcare facilities have career ladder programs that reward both education and experience. Unit managers are required to hold bachelor’s degrees at some facilities. As of January 2011, the state’s eight magnet hospitals have been held to educational quotas for their nurse manager positions. Hospitals without magnet designation may also choose to go this route. A lot of the state’s employers do favor BSN candidates for at least some direct care positions. Bringham and Women’s Hospital has told the AACN that a BSN is required for all positions beyond the level of staff nurse.

BSN completion is also valuable for those who seek positions out in the community. A bachelor’s degree is among the requirements for school nursing in Massachusetts. (Other requirements include two years experience as an RN and passing scores on the Communication and Literacy Skills exam.) While a bachelor’s is not mandated for public health nursing in Massachusetts, it is generally listed as a preferred qualification.

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RN to BSN Program Considerations

A Massachusetts RN to BSN student has a lot of options. Some courses are offered entirely online. Transfer policies vary from one SON to the next. You may receive lower level nursing credits just for having that RN license. Some schools, though, do require NLN challenge exams for validation. Non-nursing credits are often awarded on the basis of individual transcript analysis. In some cases, you can transfer as many as 90 total credits.

It may be easier to meet admission requirements for an RN to BSN program than it is for a pre-licensure one. The University of Massachusetts, for example, admits all applicants who meet basic eligibility requirements.

Program length is variable. The shortest programs nationwide can be completed in about one year. Your program may be cohort-based or self-paced. There can be advantages to each. If you learn well through interaction with others, and find the experience motivating, you may want to progress through the program with a cohort of fellow professionals. Self-pacing, though, offers the most flexibility.

Costs are also variable. The good news is that you will likely not be responsible for the full amount. Many employers, including Massachusetts General Hospital, offer assistance. Some schools will allow students to challenge general education requirements through CLEP examinations. This can lessen total costs.

RN to BSN Programs in Massachusetts

Atlantic Union College

Caritas Laboure College

Curry College

Elms College

Emmanuel College

Fitchburg State College

Framingham State University

Northeastern University

Salem State College

Simmons College

University of Massachusetts

Worcester State College

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