New RN-BSN online nursing program gives working nurses flexibility to get a bachelor’s degree
York College of Pennsylvania is launching a new Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) online program for working nurses with an RN license. RN-BSN Program Director Dr. Melissa Schneider says the completely online program gives those with existing careers and families the chance to finish a bachelor’s degree and open new opportunities.
Below, Dr. Schneider answers some questions about the first-of-its-kind program and who it can benefit.
What sparked the idea to switch to an online program?
The students probably were the reason. Many of them are working, and it’s very difficult to get to class. We really switched to an online program to kind of accommodate those students who were working.
The majority of the students I think are really excited about it being online just for the flexibility.
Why Should RNs consider the RN-BSN online program?
I think the flexibility piece is very important. A lot of them have families, kids, etc. There are many hospitals now that are actually requiring nurses to get bachelor’s degrees within so many years of hiring. I also think it opens up the job market for students.
What makes York College’s program unique to others?
We’ve really tried to keep the same quality to the program even though it’s online. It’s not any easier online. I think, for some people, online can challenge students but due to the flexibility, it is easier to manage with work and family responsibilities.
What classes are involved?
It depends on what students bring in. We have 18 credits of nursing courses that are designed specifically for RNs, such as a leadership course, assessment course, community course, and research course.
It also depends on what the students had in their associate degree. They have to take at least 30 credits from York College to get a degree—18 credits for nursing, then 12 other credits. We’re trying to add electives and more courses as students go along. As we get more students and add more courses, hopefully they’ll have more variety.
Are there any clinicals?
What we have are practice experiences. It’s not something that we set up at all—they would set it up. For example, I’m teaching leadership, and students need eight hours for a practice experience. They would go with one or two nurse leaders for four hours at a time and observe what that person does. Then they would write up a reflection of what they observed. They can do them where they work as long as it’s not during their regular work hours.
What makes the online courses different from in-person classes?
It’s through Canvas, which is our learning management system. Modules will be set up through Canvas, and there might be a discussion board where students come on and post their main discussion or respond to classmates. It’s like a PowerPoint you would have in class, and students can listen to that online like a mini-lecture.
The entire seven weeks are set up and loaded onto Canvas, so say they have some time this week and read some stuff for next week. They can go and do it any time for any of the modules. They’re all available from the beginning.
Do students ever need to check in at a certain time?
It would be a non-synchronous course, so there wouldn’t be a time. If we’re going to do a Zoom session, they’ll have choices. They would have a choice to work it around their schedule.
How long does the program take?
Students could actually complete it in as little as 12 months if they double up classes. There’s one class every seven weeks, and you could technically take classes almost like a full-time student. I have a couple of students already who are taking two classes in the seven weeks.
Is there anything else to know?
We’re partnering with what’s called partner institutions. Tuition from those partner institutions will be a little less. For instance, we partner with WellSpan Health and some other programs. The nurses from the partner institutions will actually have a little less per credit hour.
Take the next step
If you've wondered why you should go from RN to BSN or are ready to take your nursing career to the next level, our enthusiastic and knowledgeable professors can help you earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing in our convenient online program. There are a number of advantages of a BSN Degree earned at York College of Pennsylvania. Click here to learn more or apply now.