The demand for nurses in the United States continues to increase due to the proliferation of medical advancements and treatments now offered in a diverse range of health care fields, along with the resulting aging baby boomer population. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the occupational outlook for nursing is on the rise. Careers in this field are expected to grow by 16%, faster than the average of all other occupations through the year 2024. As health care facilities look to hire more nursing professionals, holding an advanced degree may give nurses an advantage over the competition for the best jobs.
Obtaining a BSN degree is now much easier and more convenient for RNs with the availability of online RN to BSN degree completion programs. There are differences in programs offered online by different educational institutions, so prospective students should do their research to determine which program is right for their career aspirations.
Different online courses offer diverse educational materials and training styles. For instance, many institutions offer instruction through online textbooks and textual content only, while other universities, such as Villanova University, offer training with online textbooks and two-way voice-over-IP (VOIP) as well as streaming video lectures, which may be viewed and reviewed as many times as needed, along with shared virtual whiteboards, live chat rooms, instant messaging, email and online message boards.
Prospective nursing students may still be required to take a lab science course such as chemistry or biology, or in some cases a general education course such as fine arts or English. This is determined by which courses were taken to receive an associate’s degree or graduation diploma. Some online programs will require travel to a local community college to take these courses. All Villanova lab and general education courses are offered 100% online, however clinical experiences must be completed at the student’s place of employment or another nearby health facility. Materials such as lab cultures and microscopes may be purchased along with textbooks and will be shipped directly to students with any other necessary learning materials.
Prospective nursing students should inquire about any additional fees. Many online institutions will require various fees for things such as transcript evaluation, technology and library privileges. Villanova’s online RN to BSN degree completion program does not charge additional fees above and beyond the per-credit-hour tuition and cost of educational materials.
Online institutions will either be ground-based, meaning the online programs are extensions of campus programs, or they will be offered through a network of satellite locations, meaning the school may be based anywhere. Villanova University is a private, ground-based university located outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The professors who teach the RN to BSN programs are typically the same professors who teach on campus, and nursing students are invited to visit the University in person and participate in graduation ceremonies.
During the time nursing students are obtaining their degree online, they should be able to contact professors and peers with questions or concerns. Reputable universities like Villanova will offer students several options for contacting educators and other students. It is common to offer chat sessions, discussion boards and email with virtual office hours that allow quick contact.
With the numerous nursing programs available today, deciding which is best for certain career goals can be difficult. However, by spending time researching what each program offers, students can make better decisions about which program fits their style of study and current situation.