Aiming for a New Role: RN to BSN Programs in North Carolina

Why are healthcare organizations, from the Tri-Council for Nursing to the Institute of Medicine, working so hard to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses? Healthcare needs to transition from crisis care to prevention and management. Health conditions are best managed by teams of professionals, collaborating and sharing resources across community settings. Even in hospital settings, there are studies showing reduced mortality rates and better patient outcomes at facilities that employ a greater percentage of highly educated nurses.

Health assessment is one of the corner stones of a BSN completion program. Nursing leadership is another. As an RN to BSN student, you can also expect courses in community and elder care and in informatics. There are a lot of similarities across programs, but they are not cookie cutter. It may be possible to earn a minor in an area like leadership and management. Additional coursework may be required, but the end result could be that you have moved much closer to career goals. Just having a baccalaureate shortens the time that it takes to earn credentialing as a Certified Nurse Manager and Leader.

Some working professionals seek a program that requires them to do few, if any, clinical hours outside their place of employment. Others seek a range of broadening experiences. There are various innovative programs available. Barton College, for example, will allow students to put in hours at North Carolina’s Cherokee Reservation — or even in a nation across the continent. Clinicals in a BSN completion course can be quite different from those in a pre-licensure program. At some schools, the clinical experiences culminate in a service project. You might end up putting together a health education program for some high needs population within your community.

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BSN Career Mobility in North Carolina

Generally, one must have a BSN to work as a public health nurse in North Carolina. Job duties might be quite varied, encompassing case management as well as prevention. You might focus on the needs of a particular population; women’s health is one possibility.

The BSN can also qualify a nurse for consideration for various manager and director positions. Whatever your clinical specialty or area of expertise, chances are there is some leadership role to aim for. Recent postings in North Carolina have included clinical operations supervisor, pediatric unit coordinator, and emergency department director. Sometimes you will see a position that requires a BSN for new hires but will consider an incumbent who is currently enrolled in a program. WakeMed, for example, wrote that they would consider employees for health educator/ supervisor if (among other things) they would complete their BSN by 2015.

The BSN is sometimes also preferred for clinical positions in areas like infusion or telemetry. Magnet hospitals are known for selective hiring. Fully 21 of the 386 magnet facilities are located within North Carolina.

RN to BSN Program Selection Considerations

If you have an ADN, you are well on your way to baccalaureate completion. The number of lower division credits you will receive for your previous education is variable; however, it is typically 30 or more. You will probably also receive credits for a number of classes outside the nursing major.

As a North Carolina RN, you will have many options for those remaining classes. You will find flexible adult-centered scheduling options. You might, for example, attend classes every other weekend. Some medical centers even have on-site classes.

Many nurses opt for the convenience of an online program. Your program may be cohort-based or it may allow you to progress at your own pace. Just because you have opted for distance learning or even self-pacing, it doesn’t mean you will be denied community service experiences away from your keyboard. You may have the opportunity to arrange them yourself in your own community.

RN to BSN Programs in North Carolina

Appalachian State University

Barton College

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences

East Carolina University

Fayetteville State University

Gardner-Webb University

Lees-McRae College

Lenoir-Rhine College

North Carolina A&T State University

North Carolina Central University

Queens University of Charlotte

The University of North Carolina (multiple locations)

Western Carolina University

Winston-Salem Sate University

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