The Value of Education: RN to BSN Programs in Washington State

Why do working nurses choose to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing? Many nurses choose BSN completion courses because they value the education itself. Studies have found better patient outcome at facilities that employ a high percentage of BSNs. Organizations like the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the American Nurses Association have argued for an increase in the number of nurses prepared at the bachelor’s level. Some employers encourage the higher degree, too, offering at least partial tuition reimbursement.

Other nurses go back to school because they are seeking career mobility. They may want better working conditions, more flexible hours, or a position that is challenging mentally but not physically. They are not usually motivated by pay raises. Some Washington facilities do pay BSN nurses at a higher rate than ADN nurses. However, to make significantly more, a nurse will need to move into a different role. A BSN can help bring leadership roles within reach. It can also be a stepping stone to graduate education and advanced practice.

If you enroll in an RN to BSN program, you can expect a mixture of social sciences and biomedical sciences. A typical course of study includes health assessment, community nursing, and care delivery models. Biomedical tests may be covered.

BSN Career Mobility

Hospitals with the prestigious magnet designation are required to have nurses with training at the baccalaureate level or higher in most of their nurse management positions. Washington has several magnet facilities. The University of Washington Medical Center was the first hospital in the country to achieve magnet status. The facility first received the designation in 1994, and has continued to earn it during each renewal cycle. According to the website, having this recognition allows the UW to recruit highly qualified professionals.

Seattle has another prestigious magnet facility: Seattle Children’s Hospital. Providence, in Olympia, has also earned the designation. Many hospitals without magnet designation advertise BSN-preferred positions. These include clinical positions in specialty wards as well as care coordinator positions. You will sometimes also see posts for professional nurses who are either pursuing a BSN or committed to doing so. Providence, in Centralia, has been doing this recently.

A BSN can also be an asset for community health positions. Seattle Human Services employs a Chronic Care Model and relies on highly educated nurses to assist patients in self-management and to refer them to other services when necessary. Some positions favor or even require BSN status.

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RN to BSN Program Considerations

Working nurses are of course concerned about the time commitment and the level of convenience. Schools structure their programs to accommodate working nurses. There are distance learning options available through Washington schools and out-of-state institutions. This is especially beneficial to students who live outside of Washington’s major metropolitan areas. The state’s schools have their physical locations in just three cities — Seattle, Spokane, and Olympia — but that doesn’t mean they expect you to commute!

You might be surprised at how quickly you can complete a program. Remember that ADN programs often take far more than two years to complete, once you figure in prerequisite courses, and they may include well over half of the units that baccalaureate programs do. The total units in a BSN completion program will vary somewhat. At Seattle Pacific University, the program is just 37 units. Some schools list many required classes and credits, but then award you credit for the majority of them based on your past education. If you’re missing any specific requirements, it could add time to your program.

RN to BSN Program in Washington State

Olympic College

Seattle Pacific University

Washington State University

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