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Can You Be Better? RN to BSN Programs in New Jersey

You can be a great nurse with an ADN, but you may be a better one -- and a happier one -- with a bachelor’s. A happier one? some might wonder. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing cites, in its “Impact of Education on Nursing Fact Sheet”, a number of research studies. Most explore the effects of higher education on patient outcomes or compliance issues. One, originally published in Nursing Outlook, found higher rates of job satisfaction among nurses with baccalaureate degrees.

What is there about a BSN degree that could increase your pleasure in your job? Baccalaureate degree programs have the luxury of taking a more in-depth look at the theories of nursing. Some professional nurses find that they rekindle their passion for the profession. But there are more tangible benefits as well. Courses in community and public health, leadership, and research can prepare you for expanded roles. Thus they enhance your career mobility.

BSN Career Mobility

An upper-division (RN to BSN) program may make you more competitive for positions at premier hospitals. New Jersey has 24 facilities that have earned magnet recognition.

There are other positions around the community that prefer or even require a baccalaureate degree. Are you interested in working with children and enjoying the flexible scheduling that such positions often provide? New Jersey requires school nurses to have both a bachelor’s degree and an RN license, though the bachelor’s can be in a field like psychology. If you aspire to work in the schools, you’ll likely want to choose a program that includes the additional courses required for school nursing certification. If you’re not sure about your career choice, you can enroll in a standard RN to BSN program now and do a post-baccalaureate certificate later.

If you’re interested in advanced practice or education, you’ll need a master’s, but many nurses choose a bachelor’s program as a stepping stone. Some RN to BSN program will allow you to get a head start by taking a couple of master’s level courses in place of courses in the traditional BSN sequence.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

How long will your program take you? There is a tremendous amount of variation. You may choose one of three options: accelerated, full-time, or part-time. Some schools have multiple tracks. At Kean University, for example, your program can run you anywhere from 15 months to four years. There are online program at out-of-state universities that are accomplished in as little as 12 months. At the opposite end of the extreme, Thomas Edison State College allows you to go at your own pace, as long as you manage even three credits a year. There’s a lot more to consider than program length, though. Does your schedule require a program that doesn’t have a clinical/ practicum requirement? Or would a practicum in public health help you transition into new roles?

You can expect credit for lower division nursing courses and likely many general education courses as well. Some institutions will accept CLEP credit. You may find you are more than halfway to your goal. At Fairleigh Dickinson University, for example, ADN students receive 66 of 128 credits. A number of institutions follow the New Jersey Articulation Model.

There are various flexible options for working professionals. You might, for instance, choose to attend class one day per week. Many registered nurses opt for the convenience of distance learning. If you are currently working as a nurse, you will want to see if your employer offers tuition assistance. There may be tuition reimbursement, fellowships, or partnerships with specific colleges.

RN to BSN Programs in New Jersey

Bloomfield College

Caldwell College

College of Saint Elizabeth

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Felician College

Kean University

Monmouth University

New Jersey City University

Ramapo College of New Jersey

Rutgers State College of New Jersey (two locations)

Saint Peter’s College

Seton Hall University

The College of New Jersey

The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Thomas Edison State College

William Paterson University

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