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Be Part of the Change: RN to BSN Programs in West Virginia

If you are a registered nurse, you have already achieved a lot. You have a scope of practice beyond that of a practical nurse. Why might you consider taking your nursing education to the next level? You might make the decision to complete your BSN because you want to be the best hospital nurse you can be, or you might take the leap because you want to transition into another role like case management.

According to Fairmont University, BSN nurses are prepared to do far more than provide direct patient care. They work with families and with the greater community. This type of nurse is needed more now than in the past. Hospital stays are shorter, and more services are offered in ambulatory settings and community agencies. The population is living longer, but people are living with chronic conditions. In order to provide quality care at a reasonable cost, health professionals need to do a better job of coordinating care. The Institute of Medicine and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing both want to see more nurses with baccalaureate level education. In fact, the IOM wants to see 80% of the workforce with baccalaureate degrees by 2020. West Virginia has a long way to go, but you can be part of the change!

If you enroll in a BSN complete program, you will learn nursing leadership, public and community health nursing, health assessment, and beginning scholarly research. You may even get a chance to study current issues in the profession. Your studies can help you perform confidently in a variety of roles. Many registered nurses pursue additional education to make themselves more competitive for nursing positions in the larger community.

BSN Career Mobility

Nurses sometimes pursue the higher degree because they want to work with children. In West Virginia, school nurses are required to have a bachelor’s, plus certification. If you aspire to aspire to work in the schools, you can enroll in a BSN program and take a few extra courses in school nursing.

You might also consider the BSN if you want to make a lateral move to one of the region’s premier hospitals. Around the nation, magnet hospitals must employ nurses with at least a BSN in most manager positions. West Virginia currently has one hospital with magnet recognition, West Virginia University Hospital.

Other hospitals have BSN-preferred or BSN-required positions as well. You can make yourself competitive for advanced clinical positions as well as positions like case management that take you beyond the bedside.

RN to BSN Program Considerations

Programs cater to the needs of working adults. There are both online and on-campus options. Clinical requirements are generally low. Registered nurses can expect to receive credit for lower level nursing courses and often general studies classes as well. Some schools, like West Virginia University, allow very experienced RNs to challenge certain senior level courses through a portfolio and examination process.

Some hospitals offer tuition reimbursement as a benefit. West Virginia University Hospital, for instance, will pay up to $3,000 per calendar year. If you’re not currently employed as a nurse -- if you’re just coming out of an ADN program, for example -- the financial aspects may seem more daunting. You’ll want to explore a range of financial aid opportunities. You’ll also want to ask yourself whether your goal is just to complete your degree, or whether you are looking to make connections in the healthcare world. Some schools have externship opportunities and various partnerships with healthcare organizations.

And after you get that degree? Some of the state’s facilities do offer a pay differential for baccalaureate level nurses. That can make the economic part feel a little less daunting.

RN to BSN Programs in West Virginia

Alderson-Broaddus College

Bluefield State College

Fairmont State College

Marshall University

Sheperd University

West Liberty State University

West Virginia University

Wheeling Jesuit University

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