Forging New Roads in Virginia: RN to BSN Programs in Virginia

Why might an experienced RN choose to take classes toward her baccalaureate degree? For an answer, we can look to respected nursing organizations, including the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Virginia Nurses Association. The AACN has assembled a body of research that correlates baccalaureate education with better patient outcomes. One study, originally published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, found that a 10% increase in the proportion of BSN nurses correlated with a 4% reduction in mortality risk. Other studies have noted fewer falls and fewer medication errors.

Higher levels of education, though, are about more than just carrying out the same old activities. They’re also about forging new roads in an improved healthcare system. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has long been an advocate of highly educated nurses sitting at the table with other healthcare practitioners as advocates and reformers. Recently, Virginia was selected to pilot an innovative program, Nurse Leaders in the Boardroom. Can a person’s degree simultaneously prepare them for the bedside and the boardroom? Advocates of beyond-the-basics education for nurses believe the answer is a resounding yes.

Because they qualify students for a degree not a license, BSN completion courses do not have a large clinical component. Often candidates do spend a little time in the field (outside their regular place of employment). This can be an opportunity to work in a new type of setting, like public health.

It’s not that there isn’t a place for the nurse with an ADN or diploma. They are instrumental to healthcare. But healthcare organizations are, to an increasing degree, differentiating roles for nurses based on educational level. A nurse needs to evaluate his career goals and determine what level of education he will need to attain them.

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BSN Career Mobility

Prestigious hospitals often have a lot of BS-preferred and BS-required positions. Magnet-recognized facilities are known nationwide for their desirability — and for their selectivity. The American Nurses Credentialing Center has recognized a total of 386 facilities, most in the United states, some abroad. An impressive 13 are in the Old Dominion. Together they form the Virginia Magnet Consortium.

Some nurses view even the BSN as a stepping stone toward their long-term goals. Preparation for graduate school is among the more frequently cited reasons BSN completion. RNs who are really ambitious can enroll in an RN to BSN/ MSN program and complete their baccalaureate en route to a master’s.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

If you have an ADN, you may be more than halfway to your goal You can expect to receive credit for lower level nursing courses and some general studies courses as well. Sometimes you can shorten your program even more by using the CLEP program this allows you to test out of some lower division classes.

Your needs may be very different, depending on whether you’re a recent graduate or a full-time nurse. You’ll find a surprising number of options available within the state. Some programs are offered entirely online. Even traditional classes can have flexible scheduling. There are day or evening possibilities, and you can enroll full- or part-time. Virginia’s schools vary in a lot of ways, including their policies for transfer credits. If your hospital has partnerships with particular institutions, these may be your best bets. Otherwise, you may want to shop around quite a bit.

Cost, of course, is a consideration. Some employer do offer assistance with schooling costs. Inova, for example, will pay up to $3,000 a year.

RN to BSN Programs in Virginia

Eastern Mennonite University

George Mason University

Hampton University

James Madison University

Jefferson College of Health Sciences

Liberty University

Marymount University

Norfolk State University

Old Dominion University

Radford University

Sentara College of Health Sciences

Shenandoah University

University of Virginia

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