RN to BSNThe School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas at Monticello will begin offering a separate online program in May 2014 for registered nurses who wish to pursue a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

The new RN-to-BSN program is a hybrid with 90 percent completed online and 10 percent on campus. It will take one calendar year to complete and is designed to work around the schedule of practicing nurses.

“Our traditional RN-to-BSN degree program was not conducive to their work schedules,” said Dr. Laura Evans, dean of the School of Nursing. “They have jobs and families and can’t come to campus every day.”

The new program will allow practicing RN’s to maintain their work schedule while submitting assignments online using Blackboard, Evans explained. The program is nearly identical to the traditional on-campus program in terms of academic hours required but with reduced clinical hours. “These are practicing nurses who are already getting plenty of clinical experience,” she said.

The first class will be admitted during the May 2014 intersession and will graduate in May 2015. Students seeking admission to the program must complete all prerequisite hours before being admitted. Not all prerequisites are offeredonline. “In the old program, students had the option of going one or two years, depending on their academic course load,” Evans said. “The new program has been streamlined to be finished in one year.”

Previously, RN-to-BSN students might take two courses in the fall, each with a 90-hour practicum. “Now they can take the two courses, each taking eight weeks, with one practicum for both courses,” Evans said.

The addition of an online RN-to-BSN program is part of a nationwide effort by nursing schools to meet the goal set by nursing organizations such as the International Council of Nursing and the American Nurses Association that all registered nurses should have the bachelor of science in nursing degree. “Having a BSN means better pay,” said Evans, “and it improves the quality of nursing care.”

“This is one more example of UAM’s commitment to serve the people of southeast Arkansas and beyond,” said Dr. Jimmie Yeiser, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.  “I commend the nursing faculty for rising to the challenge of developing this hybrid nursing program and meeting this societal need.”

Evans said reaction to the online program from area nurses has been positive. “We’re getting an enthusiastic response,” she said. “If all the nurses who say they want to take the program enroll, we’ll have to hire more faculty.”

For more information, contact the UAM School of Nursing at (870) 460-1069.