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A Strong Call to Action: RN to BSN Programs in Oregon

Why are professional nurses choosing to return to school for their baccalaureate degrees? In some cases, it’s to make themselves more marketable. They may be eying positions that say that a BSN is preferred or that a candidate must be willing to obtain one within a specified time after hiring. The BSN is not replacing the ADN. There is continued need for associate’s level nurses, but the need for baccalaureate level nurses is higher. Baccalaureate level nurses are prepared for more roles within our ever evolving and ever more complex health system. From the American Nurses Association to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, healthcare organizations are issuing strong calls to action. They are encouraging nurses to pursue further education. They are also encouraging employers and government systems alike to put systems in place to make it easier for them to do so.

What courses will an RN find in a BSN completion program, and how will they improve her practice? Some courses apply to nurses in both direct patient care and management, across a wide variety of settings. Such topics include health assessment and chronic illness. People are living longer, but they’re living with chronic illnesses; organizations like the Institute of Medicine have noted that effective management of these conditions requires strong interdisciplinary skills.

BSN Career Mobility

Other courses are designed to prepare nurses for management positions or for roles in public health. The medical world is making breakthroughs every day, but there are a lot of barriers that prevent people from getting the care they need and deserve. In order to provide the population with needed services, care must move beyond the hospital doors.

A BSN can open new career options throughout the community. In Oregon, school nurses are required to have a baccalaureate as well as additional credits (or at least clock hours) in areas like school laws, health policies, and the needs of the exceptional child.

A baccalaureate can also be an asset for getting a position at a renowned healthcare facility. Oregon has four medical centers with magnet status. Employers like Providence and Salem prefer BSN candidates for a variety of clinical positions.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

There are many things to take into consideration when choosing a school. Program length varies greatly, but students sometimes manage to graduate in as little as a year full-time or a year-and-a-half part-time. Remember that your ‘two-year degree’ likely extended well beyond two years from the time you started prerequisites to the time you finished clinicals!

Some programs are significantly longer than a year-and-a-half. At Oregon Health and Science University, your program length will vary somewhat depending on whether or not you graduated from an OCNE college (a school in Oregon’s community college system).

There are a lot of choices. Some programs are carried out entirely online; there may also be short intensives that require on-site attendance. While experienced nurses tend to want -- and need -- convenience, some students want broadening experiences. Linfield College gives students the opportunity to complete one of the practicums in either their own community or one across the globe.

You will likely pay per unit. $400 to $500 is typical for Oregon schools, though there is some variance. There may be a small charge associated with evaluation of prior units. Some employers do offer tuition reimbursement, so the money for your schooling won’t necessarily be coming out of your pocket.

Of course for many, the thought of returning to the classroom is a bit daunting. Will there still be personalized attention in a distance learning program? Web-assisted learning has grown very interactive, and there may be perks like online tutoring.

RN to BSN Programs in Oregon

Linfield College

Oregon Health and Science University

Walla Walla College - Portland

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