As the need for BSN prepared nurses increases, you may be thinking about moving from your RN license to a BSN degree. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report The Future of Nursing has a goal of 80% BSN prepared nurses by 2020. You may have hit a wall in your place of employment because you don’t have the education you need for the role you want to be in.
You have a Registered Nurse (RN) license, but you have decided that you want to pursue further education. What are your options for getting a Baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN)? You really have three options for continuing your formal education: a bricks-and-mortar school at a college or university, an online program, or a hybrid of these two.
What is a Hybrid RN-to-BSN Program?
A hybrid RN-to-BSN program is one that includes BOTH online courses and hands-on, face-to-face experiences. The face-to-face component is typically in the form of clinical rotations, lab hours, or required on-campus time. The portions of the program that are online versus face-to-face will vary by program so it is important that you contact your chosen program to determine the exact requirements.
What are the Prerequisites for a Hybrid RN-to-BSN program?
Although specific requirements will vary from school to school, all RN-to-BSN programs will require:
- Graduation from an accredited school of nursing,
- Successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), and
- A current registered nurse license.
Depending on the program you select, you might also be required to have a minimum grade point average in your basic nursing program. Although most programs will accept an ADN or Diploma degree, you should always check the specific requirements for the programs you are interested in. Depending on the program, you may also be able to transfer credits you already have from your Diploma or ADN program. Some programs even offer testing programs that will allow you to show your competency by taking an online examination to “test out” of some of the basic course.
Another factor to consider is that, for the online components, you must have reliable access to a computer and the internet. Questions to ask about technological requirements include:
- What internet browsers (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) are supported in the program?
- Do I need any specific software programs?
- Does my computer have to have any other specifications?
Is a Hybrid RN-to-BSN Program Right for Me?
A hybrid RN-to-BSN program might be perfect for you if you are self-motivated and will actually sit down and do the classroom work independently. Many students want and need the face-to-face interaction offered in the clinical setting. The hybrid option is a great option if you are working and cannot afford to take time off from your current job for didactic classroom teaching. If you do not like technology and using a computer is a chore for you, you might want to think twice about starting a nursing program that includes online requirements. The major factor to consider when looking at a hybrid RN-to-BSN program is whether you have ready access to a clinical environment for the hands-on portion. Does the program you are looking at require that you come to a campus for the face-to-face portion of the class? If so, you must consider travel time to the campus and costs of staying close to campus if that is required. Does the program allow you to capture clinical time in another clinical environment with a mentor? If so, you might be able to do the clinical portion of the program at your current place of work.
What Hybrid RN-to-BSN Programs are Available?
A great place to start when you are looking for an affordable hybrid RN-to-BSN program is with a college or university close to you that has an established nursing program. The advantages are many: you probably already have housing in the area, if there are different instate and out-of-state fees, you will qualify for the lower amount, and it is very likely that the nursing program has established relationships with clinical practice sites in the area which may increase the likelihood that you can do at least part of your clinical work at your current work site. Many hybrid RN-to-BSN programs have migrated to fully online programs so, although there are a few hybrid programs, the list is shrinking. It is important that you contact the school directly to find those programs that still have both online and face-to-face components.
The programs listed below are all accredited by one of the three major national accrediting organizations: the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC). Be aware that the total tuition costs listed are approximate and subject to change. The costs will also vary depending on whether or not you can transfer credits into the program. Always check with the specific program to determine current costs. Some of these programs require licensure in the state where the program is so be sure to check with the Admissions department at the school. Of course, this list is not exhaustive; be sure to check with local colleges and universities to determine if a hybrid option is available.
|Name||Location||Program Length||Tuition||Face-to-face requirements||Accreditation|
|Cabarrus College of Health Sciences||Concord, North Carolina||2 years||One course||CCNE, ACEN|
|California State University – East Bay||East Bay, California||1 year||$6,564||Clinical practice only in East Bay||CCNE|
|CUNY New York City College of Technology||New York, New York||4 semesters||In-state: $6,059
|Clinical practice at “partner” facilities||ACEN|
|Florida Southwestern State College||Fort Myers, Florida||4 semesters||In-state: $3,711
|Clinical practice close to home||ACEN|
|Metropolitan State University||Denver, Colorado||3 semesters||$8,405||Clinical practicum||ACEN|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, Michigan||5 semesters||In-state: $12,862
|Clinical practice as face-to-face locally||CCNE|
|Mississippi University for Women||Columbus, Mississippi||3 semesters||All clinical practice||CCNE, ACEN|
|Sonoma State University||Rohnert Park, California||2 semesters||In-state: $7,276||Clinical Practicum 1 day per week in final semester||ACEN|
|University of Oklahoma||Norman, Oklahoma||2 semesters||In-state: $4,128
|Saturday face-to-face meetings||CCNE, ACEN|
|Western Michigan University||Kalamazoo, Michigan||6 semesters||In-state: $4,897
|Face-to-face meetings required||CCNE|