Although Heather Hooper was already working in healthcare as a registered nurse (RN), she knew that she wanted, and needed, to get her BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) designation to continue on her career path. According to the Institute of Medicine, 80% of the nursing workforce should hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020. “Some places are not even accepting nurses with an associate degree, and the bachelor’s is going to be the minimum,” Heather explains. “I wanted to be able to market myself as a BSN nurse.”
Heather wanted a quality program that would also fit her busy schedule and allow her to balance work, life and family. “I looked into the University of Louisville and they had a 100 % online program that allowed me to do everything I needed from home.”
For program graduate Stephanie Simpson, it was a combination of factors, including the quality of the education at UofL and the ability to earn her degree online “Being a military family, I wanted to go through an online program just in case we get orders again and have to move,” she notes. “I had heard from some of my high school classmates how wonderful the UofL program was, and after researching the program it seemed to meet all my needs.”
Stephanie also found that UofL could help her advance her career even beyond the BSN. “I also chose UofL because one day I may decide to go on and get my NP [Nurse Practitioner degree], and I really liked the looks of the BSN-NP program here as well.”
A program designed for nurses by nurses
Mary DeLetter, Ph.D, RN, program director for UofL Online’s RN to BSN program, knows that being able to complete the degree online is beneficial for all of her RN students. “Adult students come with many life challenges that are beyond my control,” she says. “They often have small children or growing families, they have full-time jobs, they have life events—and we, as nurses, understand that. We’re compassionate about that and we work with them to be as flexible as possible so that they feel supported.”
That compassion and support is literally built into the program, with a team of professionals dedicated to each student’s success. Whether it’s help with your application, class schedule or understanding the curriculum, the RN-BSN program team is ready to support your unique journey with a personalized path to graduation.
In addition, the program offers 8-week courses so you can focus on one course at a time and earn your degree at the right pace for you. To make it convenient for students who live outside Louisville, one of the final courses, the community health leadership practicum, can be completed in a site within the student’s local community.
Finally, the RN-BSN program acknowledges that many of the students coming into the program have a wealth of knowledge and background in the nursing field—and rewards those students with credit toward their degree for their experiences.
Credit for your experience and prior education
“One of the unique features of our program is the professional nursing portfolio that our students put together,” says Mary. “It is a tuition-free, 30 credit hour component of the program which saves the student $11,250 in tuition.”
The portfolio includes the student’s resume, academic transcripts and continuing education credits and other documents that highlight professional and academic achievements the student has already acquired as an RN. The benefits of the portfolio go well beyond saving money and time.
“Many students have been active in a variety of work-related or community-related services, but they haven’t put all of that together in a single documentation,” Mary explains. “They now have something they’re proud of to use for interviews or for clinical advancement in their healthcare agency. They can use it any time they want to tell someone who they are as a nurse.”
Students also can transfer in up to 59 credit hours for general education courses and electives. With the portfolio and credit from previous courses, students may only need to complete the 31 hours of core RN to BSN courses to graduate from the program.
The right outcome for you
“We think the University of Louisville’s online program is the best option for RN to BSN students,” notes Mary. “It is a focused program, and we have personal contact with all of our students. We are engaged with our students and yet we sit in the midst of this large metro university that has many, many resources.”
For Heather, the experience and learning journey has been a success from the beginning. As soon as she started her courses, Heather knew she’d found the right program at UofL Online. “I’ve learned a great deal, and it’s made me very confident as a nurse,” she says. “I’m so excited to be graduating.”
If you’re interested in more information on how UofL can help you take your nursing career beyond an associate’s degree, click here.