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What's the Endpoint? RN to BSN Programs in South Dakota

Having an RN license is already quite an accomplishment. The ADN typically represents several years of education including science labs, nursing theory, and clinical practice. The degree prepares a nurse to take on a number of patient care duties in supervised settings and to delegate routine duties to nursing assistants and vocational nurses. It’s an appropriate entry level degree for professional nursing, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA). But is it an endpoint? ANA believes that professional nurses should earn baccalaureate degrees within ten years of entering the field.

A BSN includes advanced nursing concepts like community health, health assessment, nursing research, and leadership and management. Some of these concepts are especially valuable for nurses who have positions that are off the beaten path. Often it is necessary to work with a little more autonomy at a public health agency or other community healthcare facility.

Do the course also have significance for nurses who work at large urban hospitals and want to spend their careers there? The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has cited a large body of evidence that indicates there are indeed practice differences between nurses educated at different levels. In “The Impact of Education of Nursing Practice”, they note that higher levels of nursing education have been linked to lower failure-to-rescue rates and fewer procedural violations. 72% of nurse administrators at university hospitals have identified differences in practice between BSN nurses and those with lower levels of education.

One result of this is that hiring preference is given to BSN prepared nurses -- at least for some positions.

BSN Career Mobility

There are many positions available in professional nursing -- there are more RNs than there are healthcare practitioners of any other type. There are indeed positions for nurses with diplomas or associate degrees. However, institutions like Avera McKennan Hospital and Sanford Health tend to advertise a lot of BSN-preferred positions. Recent postings have included everything from triage nurse and screening educator to pulmonary unit RN. These two facilities, both located in Sioux Falls, are magnet hospitals; magnet-designated facilities are known around the nation for their ability to recruit and retain excelled employees. However, BSN-preferred positions are not limited to such facilities, especially during leaner economic times when experienced nurses may choose to re-enter the workforce or work more hours.

If you like working with children and families, a baccalaureate can help there as well. School nursing and early intervention roles (like Bright Start) are among the positions that may favor candidates with BSN degrees.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

If you’ve got your ADN or diploma, you are likely well over half of the way to your baccalaureate. That’s because you have likely already put in more than four semesters of work. Entering an RN to BSN program can be like receiving a hefty chunk of advanced placement credits. At Presentation College, for example, the total BSN program is 121 semester hours, but registered nurses are awarded 69 semester hours for their previous education. At some South Dakota institutions, the BSN completion student is responsible for the same coursework as traditional baccalaureate students, but enters the program at a different place. It is possible, though, to enroll in a course of study that is designed specifically for post-licensure RNs. There are a lot of options.

One other thing to consider: online or traditional. If you live in a frontier or very rural county, the decision may be made for you. Online learning is not cheaper, but it may fit your lifestyle in a way that the traditional classroom can’t. Employers like Avera McKennan Hospital do offer tuition assistance.

RN to BSN Programs in South Dakota

National American University

Presentation College

South Dakota State University

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