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Online Doesn't Mean "Easy"

When it comes to the nursing profession, a BSN is increasingly the expectation. This is true even for RNs with associate degrees who are already employed.

RN to BSN programs are becoming more common, and many RNs are returning to school to advance their education and careers. When it comes to choosing a program, some may wonder: Are online programs as good as campus-based programs?

One look at the online RN to BSN program at the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) answers that question. Students enrolled in UTPB's online program take the same required courses as do students in the school's campus-based RN to BSN program. UTPB's online program is also accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) — one of two major accrediting agencies for nursing programs recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

Can Earning a BSN Help RNs Advance Their Careers?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that licensed graduates with bachelor's and associate degrees both may qualify for entry-level nursing positions. But BLS data points to clear benefits of a BSN:

  • When it comes to job outlook, hospitals are the largest employers of RNs. In fact, they employ 61 percent of RNs. The BLS notes that hospitals in particular may require nurses to have a BSN.
  • When it comes to pay, hospitals are also near the top, just behind government. Nurses working in hospitals earn a median annual wage of $70,590. By comparison, nurses working in health practitioners' offices or home healthcare earn $64,660.

Are Online Programs Less Demanding?

That 8 a.m. class most students dread? Not an issue for online students. Have kids? Online programs make it easier to work around family responsibilities. What about work? Online programs allow students to advance their education without sacrificing income. Traveling? With a computer, students can meet class deadlines from just about anywhere.

Online programs let students decide when and where to complete coursework. That flexibility can be a big convenience for anyone with a busy life. With no classes to show up for in person, though, it may seem that online degrees are not as demanding. But online does not mean "easy."

Without a class to get to, it can be tempting to postpone weekly coursework. Everyday distractions like a friend popping by may lead to putting off discussion posts, required readings and other assignments. This can lead to missed deadlines, and grades may suffer.

How Can Online Students Stay on Track?

As with on-campus classes, effective time management holds the key to success for online students. Peterson's "7 Essential Time Management Tips for Online Students" offers some helpful suggestions:

  • Read the syllabus for each class. Color-code a calendar with deadlines and other important dates.
  • Schedule study time and stick to it. (Be sure to keep in mind other important goings-on, such as family celebrations.)
  • Treat your online classes like a job. Designate a study space, such as a clutter-free desk. Coffee shops can provide a necessary escape when distractions at home get in the way.

There is strong incentive for RNs to pursue a BSN. Improved patient care, a strong job outlook and higher earning potential are all good reasons. Now, online programs make it more convenient than ever to take that step.

As UTPB demonstrates, online RN to BSN programs can be high-quality alternatives to campus-based programs. And with the flexibility online programs offer, RNs can earn their BSN on a schedule that works best for them, even as they continue to work.

Learn more about UTPB's online RN to BSN program.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing: CCNE

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses

Peterson's Blog: 7 Essential Time Management Tips for Online Students

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