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Meet the Challenges Facing Our Healthcare System: RN to BSN Programs in Utah

As a nurse, why might you consider taking your education to the next level and enrolling in a BSN completion course? To meet the challenges facing our healthcare system and to be part of the exciting changes that are taking place! Healthcare is very different than it was a few decades, or even a few years, back. There are medical breakthroughs each year. People are living longer, but they’re living with serious long-term conditions. In order to effectively manage chronic conditions, healthcare needs to meet patients where they are: in the community. The Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation believe that highly educated nurses have a vital role in the new healthcare system. One of their goals is to have 80% of nurses trained at the bachelor’s level by the year 2020.

One of the classes you will generally find in a BSN completion course is health assessment. As a professional nurse at the baccalaureate level, you will learn not only how to assess patient needs, but how to assess those of family members as well. Pathophysiology is another typical course offering. You will also study leadership, epidemiology (or population level health), and beginning scholarly research. Another course that is sometime included is cultural competence.

Students may have a chance to do a scholarly project. This could include, for example, using technology to prepare a presentation for pre-licensure students. There may also be one or more electives in the program. Students will often have a few general studies classes to take as well. These may be directly applicable to professional nursing at the higher levels. There might be a writing course and a quantitative reasoning course, for instance.

Most BSN courses are for generalists, and specialization takes place at the graduate level. There are some exceptions, however. The University of Utah offers an RN to BSN track with a specialty in geriatric nursing leadership.

Utah's BSN Career Mobility

One reason nurses enroll in BSN courses is to advance to more interesting positions. Some of the positions that favor baccalaureate level candidates are case manager, clinical coordinator, quality improvement manager, and unit manager. The BSN may also be preferred for clinical positions in high stakes areas like intensive care or surgery. Nationwide, there is a preference for BSN prepared nurses in the military and in public health.

Magnet hospitals are required to hire candidates with BSN or graduate degrees to most nurse manager positions. Hospitals that are working toward magnet status often display this hiring preference as well. Utah currently has three magnet facilities, all in Provo. Nurses out in the community often work with more autonomy than those in large hospitals so public health is another field where you can put your BSN to good use.

BSN Completion Program Considerations

BSN completion programs are designed for working adults. As a completion student, you will have the option of choosing an online or hybrid program. For a full-time nurse, flexibility is among the most important criteria. If you want the full campus experience, though, there are options here as well. Membership in professional organizations can enhance your employability.

Some programs are lock-step; the whole cohort of students takes the same courses at the same time. Other programs allow a student flexibility in deciding how many classes to take a semester or how fast to move through the curriculum.

Tuition can vary quite a bit. It’s not just a matter of what institution you attend but how many credits you do each semester. Western Governors University has a pay per semester plan as opposed to a pay per unit one. Some schools have separate rates depending on whether you’re full-time or not. Even pay-per-credit can be a good deal, though, if it allows you to work full-time and comfortably manage your many roles.

RN to BSN Programs in Utah

Southern Utah University

University of Utah

Utah Valley State College

Weber State University

Western Governors University

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