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If you have chosen to pursue your RN degree, you may have the option to study either in an on-campus setting or online. Making the decision to pursue one course of study over the other may be a difficult one; consider the following points when making your decision.
• What kind of a learner are you? If you learn face-to-face and need interpersonal interaction in order to learn, a traditional, on-campus degree is probably the best for you.
• Do you need to keep working? If you need to keep your current job, and it is not overly flexible about scheduling, a online degree may be better for you. Online degrees usually let you study at your own pace and on your own schedule.
• Are there RN schools close to you? If there are no RN programs near to your home and relocating is not an option, consider an online RN school. You can study from anywhere and you are not limited by geography.
• Are you comfortable with technology? If you are comfortable with technology, you may want to consider an online degree. If you are not well-versed in computers, web, and chat programs, a traditional degree may be the way to go.
If you are looking for a career change but are not interested in becoming an RN, you can become a certified nursing assistant (CNA), or nurse's aide. To become a CNA, you can usually attend night school at a local adult education center. The course of study is usually brief, and with this degree you will be able to apply for jobs after you complete your courses.
If you are interested in becoming an RN in the future but need a job immediately, a CNA job may be good for you in the interim. You can support yourself with a certified nursing assistant's job and attend night school or school online to get your RN. In some instances, a CNA may help you gain an advantage getting in to RN school later.
If you want to become an RN, you have two choices in regards to education: an ADN degree and a BSN degree. Here is some info on both to help you figure out which desgree is best for you. ADN degree: The Associate Degree Nurse can earn an associate's degree in in about two years, and become a licensed nurse. This option is good if you have limited time to earn your degree, or if you are not interested in getting a bachelor's degree.
However, most medical facilities will require a bachelor's degree for career advancement. BSN degree: The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is usually a four-year course of study that will result in a bachelor's degree and a nursing license. In addition to practical nursing topics, a BSN will focus on theoretical applications of nursing in patient care and elsewhere. If you plan on advancing up the career ladder or getting an advanced degree in the future, the BSN degree is for you.
If you are considering going to RN school, your first step is to consider what type of nursing degree you want to earn. One common degree for those looking to break into the nursing field is the ADN degree, or the Associate Degree Nurse.
The ADN degree focuses on the practical aspects of nursing and getting your nursing license in the shortest amount of time. Most ADN degrees can be earned in as little as two years. If you want to become a nurse and don't want to commit to a four-year degree, an ADN degree may be for you.
Before signing on for this program, consider this one point: most nurses need a minimum of a BSN degree for career advancement. However, there are many RN to BSN degrees available for nurses with their license but without their BSN, so completing your bachelor's degree later is always an option.
If you have decided that you want to become a nurse, or further your nursing education, your next step will be to find a RN school that is right for you. How do you go about finding RN schools? The best place to start is online. Open up your favorite search engine and do a search for “rn school,” “rn training,” or “nursing school.” You will probably be overwhelmed at the search results.
To narrow down the results you get from the search engine, either restrict the search by location (your state, your geographical area) or type of school (online or on-campus). Once you have restricted your results, make a list of the schools that fit your criteria, and begin looking for more specific information on those individual schools.
You can usually request information from RN schools online, or you can call their admissions office for a catalog and other materials. If you do not have access to a computer or the Internet, check at your local library to see if they have terminals available for you to use or if they have a current list of nursing schools.
Once you have completed your BSN degree (bachelor of science in nursing), you can choose to complete advanced degrees in nursing to further your career. There are several advanced degrees in nursing, including the MSN (master of science in nursing) and doctorate degrees in nursing. You must have earned your BSN degree and your RN license in order to begin any of these degrees. Many nurses who are looking to get into hospital administration or nursing education choose to earn their MSN degree. There are several traditional MSN degrees, offering on-campus programs, as well as online MSN programs, which allow you to study at home and at your own pace.
If you are already an RN and want to further your education, here are the options available through South University Online:
RN to BSN degree. At South University Online, you can earn your BSN if you already have associate's degree or nursing diploma. You can earn the degree in anywhere from 1 ½ to 2 years. The RN to BSN program will focus on theoretical applications of nursing in patient care and elsewhere.
MSN degree. You can earn your MSN degree completely online through
In order to be accepted to
If you are interested in going to RN school, one important point to consider about any school you're investigating is whether or not it's accredited. The National League for Nursing Accreditation Committee (NLNAC) is the national accrediting body for any kind of nursing education program. They set criteria for the schools they evaluate to make sure the institutions maintain a standard of educational quality.
Schools volunteer to be accredited. If you attend an RN school that is not accredited, it can delay your opportunity to sit for your boards (the nursing licensure tests), which can result in a delay of your nursing license.
Whether you decide to attend an online RN school or a traditional RN course of study, tuition will likely play a factor in your school of choice. However, for most RN schools, financial aid is available for qualified students. Tuition for most state RN schools is in the $100-$300/credit hour range, with different fees for residents vs. non-residents.
If you choose to study online, you will usually only be required to pay resident tuition, even if you don't live in the state. To learn about financial aid available to you, check with the school's office of scholarships and financial aid. They can tell you about school-specific loans, grants, and other forms of aid available to students. There are also federal sources of financial aid available for those attending RN school. You can fill out financial aid forms online, and there are directories of financial aid assistance available at various places on the web.
If you have decided to pursue your MSN at South University Online, you will want to know what kinds of classes you will take. The following topics may be covered in your MSN classes at South University Online:
A MSN from
Once you have a list of schools you are interested in looking at further, you will need to determine what criteria a nursing school must meet for you to be interested in attending. Consider the following points:
• Is the school accredited? A school must be accredited in order for you to get your nursing license
• Is the school close, if you want to attend on-campus? Make sure your travel time won't be prohibitive if you want to attend a traditional RN school
• Where do the graduates end up working? Talk with the career services office or office of admissions to see where the graduates in nursing generally get their jobs after graduation
• Is it affordable? Find out what the tuition is, and see if it fits in your budget
• Do they have an online option? If you don't want to attend a traditional RN program, make sure the schools you're investigating have online RN programs
If you want to get your RN quickly, you may be debating between an ADN degree and a diploma nursing degree. But what are the differences?
Both courses of study will allow you to become a nurse and work in the health care field. These programs are usually offered through a hospital or other like facility, and when you finish your program, you will be certified to work in a hospital or other inpatient facility with your diploma.
An ADN, or an associate's degree in nursing, is usually offered through a community college. When you finish the program, you will have an associate's degree and will be qualified to work anywhere an RN can work. However, most facilities require a BSN for career advancement.
Once you have completed either a diploma nursing degree or an AND degree, you may want to consider furthering your education with a BSN degree. South University offers a RN to BSN completion program for diploma or associate's degree nurses that can be completed in as little as 1 ½ years, entirely online.
If you have decided you want to further your RN education at South University Online, you must make a few decisions, such as:
If you have decided to attend South University Online's MSN or RN to BSN completion program, you will have to complete a clinical component to earn your degree.
The clinical component is designed to put the skills you learn in the classroom (or, in
At South University Online, you can schedule your clinical component at a facility close to you, making it easy to complete the requirement.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking at different online RN schools:
If you have chosen to pursue your RN to BSN or MSN degree, you may have the option to study either in an on-campus setting or online, like at South University Online. Consider the following points about traditional versus online programs:
If you are looking for a job in nursing but don't want to attend a two-year or four-year RN degree program, you can work to become a LPN or LVN in about a year. LPN, licensed practical nurses, or LVN, licensed vocational nurses, work with RNs or physicians.
You can usually earn your certification to become an LPN or LVN from a junior or community college, or through a vocational school. A job as an LPN or LVN is also a good option while you are going to RN school to help support yourself. Some schools offer credit to people who have gone through LPN or LVN training when they go back to earn your RN.
Once you've decided to attend RN school, there are a few things to consider before beginning your course of program. Here are some common questions to ask yourself:
• What kind of degree do you want? Do you want a BSN, or an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), or other nursing certificate?
• Where do you want to study? Do you want to study on-campus, or at home? You need to decide between a traditional RN school and an online RN school.
• How much do you want to spend? Check the tuition of all the schools you're considering and decide which one fits in your budget.
• How much time do you have? Do you need to earn your license now, or do you have four years to devote to a bachelor's degree? If time is of the essence, consider an associate's degree or a LPN/LVN course of study.
At South University Online, you can earn financial aid to make the cost of the degree more affordable.
There are school-specific loans, grants, and other forms of aid available to students at South University Online. There are also federal sources of financial aid available for those attending RN school.
Once you have completed your BSN degree (bachelor of science in nursing), you can choose to complete your MSN degree at South University Online to further your career.
The MSN, or Master of Science in Nursing, requires you to have earned your BSN degree and your RN license in order to begin. South University Online's MSN program is designed for the busy professional nurse.
If you want to break into hospital administration or nursing education, you will need to earn their MSN degree. Upon completion of your MSN degree at South University Online, you can advance more quickly in your career through your newfound knowledge in areas like nursing education and nursing trends.
If you are interested in getting your BSN degree at South University Online, you may be wondering what kind of classes you'll take and in what kind of order. Here is a typical semester breakdown of a four-year course of study for a BSN:
Semesters One-Four (first two years): general education prerequisites, like English, math, science, and history
Semester Five: Intro to Professional Nursing; Pathopharmacology; Health Assessment I; Health Care Delivery
Semester Six: Nursing/Care of Infants and Children; Science and Research for Nursing; Adult Health Nursing; Gerontological Nursing; Adult Nursing Clinical
Semester Seven: Psychiatric Nursing; Informatics and Technology; Nursing Care of Childbearing Family; Electives
Semester Eight: Community Health Nursing; Heath Care Delivery; Clinical
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|