If you're looking for a healthcare career that provides a lot of career options without running up a huge tuition bill, registered nursing might be a good choice. You can launch your RN career with a two-year diploma or associate degree program, then upgrade to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree over time. Some schools, including Immaculata University, offer an accelerated RN-to-BSN program for nurses who want to upgrade their education. Immaculata's program is offered at locations in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
RN vs. BSN
The nursing profession recognizes several levels of training and expertise, from nurses' aides with a few months' training to nurse practitioners and anesthetists with graduate degrees. For registered nurses, a two-year training program is the minimum and a four-year bachelor's degree is preferred. If you find your ambitions limited by the lack of a bachelor's degree, Immaculata's program can provide a way to earn your bachelor's degree and advance in the profession. The accelerated RN-to-BSN program takes just one day each week or one evening each week, so you can study while still working full-time and paying your bills. You'll stay with the same set of classmates from start to finish, so you can build a supportive network.
If you live in the school's geographic area of southern Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley, Immaculata probably has a location you can drive to without too much inconvenience. To be admitted to the program you must have graduated from a training program accredited by the National League for Nursing, and you have to have a current, unencumbered nursing license in your state. You need to have at least a 2.0 grade point average in your nursing course work and any other credits you want to transfer. You must have a current CPR certification, and must have had a recent health exam.
Immaculata College has a generous policy toward credit transfers. To start with, your previous training as an RN is considered equivalent to 30 credits. The school offers credit for life experience in some circumstances, and allows you to transfer credits earned at other accredited colleges. You have to provide official transcripts, and you can only transfer credits if you maintained a minimum 2.0 GPA in those courses. The accelerated RN-to-BSN program consists of 50 credits, but you'll also need at least 27 additional credits in specified courses. It's best if you earn those before enrolling, then transfer the credits.
If you've already earned an associate degree in nursing and fulfilled the prerequisites for Immaculata's accelerated program, you've gotten the scientific education you need. Immaculata's program focuses more on the leadership and interpersonal skills you need to get ahead in your career. Those are the skills that differentiate a nurse with a B.S.N., and open the doors to advancement into supervisory or advanced practice positions. Your class time consists of five to eight hours per week, for at least 19 months. Some employers offer tuition assistance programs, or will reimburse your tuition once you've completed the degree.
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.