What to Expect from an RN to BSN Online Program

Photo of a nurse holding a clipboard.

Are you considering transitioning from RN to BSN online? You likely have a whole slew of questions—and concerns. You’re already a nurse—so what’s left to learn? Can you handle working through school? Maybe it’s been a while since you cracked open a textbook. Do you even have time for it?

Put those uncertainties to rest with this overview on earning your RN to BSN online. We heard your questions and concerns and spoke with Dr. Kari Luoma, BSN program director at Rasmussen University. Learn what to expect and how to get yourself ahead of the class.

“I’m already a nurse – what else do I need to know?”

Yes, you already have a vast amount of nursing knowledge and experience under your belt from working in the field. But an RN to BSN program can help you advance your skills and strengths to the next level. Luoma says she got her start in nursing as an ADN-RN, and while that level of education did a great job in preparing her for the day-to-day duties of a nurse, further education allowed her to get a better look at the big picture.

“Students in BSN-level courses learn more than just how to physically perform the duties of a nurse—they start learning important leadership skills and develop a deeper understanding related to caring for the whole person, family and community,” Luoma says.

While your ADN courses did cover hands-on clinical skills, the courses in an RN to BSN online program will cover the broader skills necessary to develop your leadership capabilities. The curriculum will help you better understand the “Why?” in nursing—not just how to do it.

RN to BSN online programs cover components of nursing leadership, public health, quality and safety in nursing, healthcare technology, genetics and genomics and research.

“It’s been a long time since I was in school…”

Students in RN to BSN online programs come from all walks of life—and many are likely in the same boat as you. Returning to Nursing school is a little like riding a bike—if you haven’t done it in years, then you might have a few wobbles to start, but it comes back to you. Luoma says that while it may be a little intimidating to return to school, students should remember that their work experience is an asset in the classroom.

“If you’ve been working as a nurse, you have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from,” Luoma says. “Nursing experience can make it easier to apply the concepts you’re learning in class to a practice setting.”

However, there are many resources in place to help students with any issues they might encounter, such as tutoring, student support, digital libraries and technological support.

“Going RN to BSN online is intimidating…”

Maybe all of your previous courses were on campus. Going from RN to BSN online can be intimidating if it’s new to you. But don’t worry; online classes are different—but in a good way!

The Rasmussen University RN to BSN online program is competency-based, which means courses are designed to allow you to move ahead in concepts you’re familiar with and spend more time on concepts less familiar. This control over your pace of learning doesn’t mean you’re stuck figuring things out on your own, though—you’ll have plenty of support along the way. Instructors regularly hold live sessions to discuss course materials and address student questions.

Luoma says another overlooked positive aspect of online learning is having the opportunity to look deeply into a topic before asking questions.

“Some students can be apprehensive about asking a lot of questions during an in-person classroom session, but an online course gives them the chance to think through the content being taught on their own time,” Luoma says. “This gives students a chance to formulate better follow-up questions and identify the areas they’re struggling with.”

Additionally, there are several ways to connect with your classmates and instructors—and with technology support, help is only a click away.

“I’m already working—how can I balance school, too?”

Maybe you weren’t working through Nursing school the first time around, or maybe you had less on your plate back then. While going back to school while working may seem daunting now, the reality is that most RN to BSN students do work while they go through the program. It’s a juggling act that requires some time management on your end, but it’s nothing you can’t tackle with a little support.

Luoma suggests students take the time to make a plan for tackling coursework.

“With competency-based courses, you control which assignments you complete first—so use it to your advantage when planning for the upcoming term,” Luoma says.

You can do it!

Here’s the bottom line: Going from RN to BSN online can make you a better nurse. In fact, one study found that hospitals with more BSN nurses have better patient outcomes.

While it may be intimidating to go back to school, it’s nothing you can’t accomplish. Push yourself to build your strengths and professional development to become the best possible nurse you can be—with a BSN!

So, are you ready to step up to the plate? Check out the Rasmussen University School of Nursing RN to BSN degree page to learn more about your educational options and the other advantages you can expect from advancing your career with a BSN.

Kristina Ericksen

Kristina is a Digital Writer at Collegis Education where she creates informative content on behalf of Rasmussen University. She is passionate about the power of education and enjoys connecting students to bright futures.

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This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit www.rasmussen.edu/degrees for a list of programs offered. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen University is a regionally accredited private university.

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