If you’re like many considering a return to school to become a nurse, no doubt the countless news stories highlighting the bravery, compassion, and strength of nurses are on your mind. And though most nurses would probably consider saving a life just another day at work, we all know that it’s so much more.
Nursing is truly a calling and an act of love. That’s what makes nursing such an appealing career for those seeking more than just stability or opportunities for growth — though it certainly offers both.
Of course, the degree path you choose plays a big role, too, which is why a BSN in nursing is important. Keep in mind that not every nursing degree offers the same level of knowledge and skills, or the same access to career opportunities.
There’s good news, though. If you already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you may be able to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree in much less time than you might think — and you don’t need prior health care experience to do it, either. In a moment, we’ll explain how this is possible, but first, we’ll take a closer look at the “gold standard” of nursing degrees … the BSN.
Why You Need a BSN as a Nurse
Like any profession steeped in scientific knowledge, the role nurses play has evolved considerably since the days of Florence Nightingale, or, for that matter even, over the past half century. Gone are the days of nurses serving as little more than doctors’ assistants.
Today, more than ever, nurses function as the eyes and ears of an increasingly complex health care system. Despite how hospital dramas portray the dynamics between nurses and doctors on TV, the truth is nurses and doctors increasingly enjoy highly collaborative relationships based on mutual understanding and respect.
Nurses are often the first to notice when a patient’s condition changes. They’re also likely to be patients’ biggest advocates — a byproduct of the amount of time they spend with patients compared to physicians — and the ones to comfort and console patients, as well as to educate them in terms they can understand.
Hospitals and health care providers know why a BSN in nursing is important, too. It’s why so many hospitals are moving to hire only registered nurses who hold a BSN degree — and why Magnet® hospitals require nurse managers and leaders to hold a bachelor’s in nursing. In fact, recent data from the American Association of Colleges of Nurses indicate BSN-educated nurse graduates are far more likely to find a job shortly after graduation than are new nurse graduates overall (which includes RNs with associate degrees).
Decisions like these aren’t based on conjecture or mere preference toward higher learning, either. Compared with Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN) programs, BSN programs feature more robust nursing curriculums. As a result, students graduate with a greater breadth of knowledge on everything from crucial nursing techniques to cultural, economic, and societal issues that lead to significant disparities in health.
Even more glaringly obvious to health care decision-makers is the growing body of research that shows hospitals and other care facilities with greater percentages of BSN-educated nurses yield better outcomes for patients. It’s why in 2010 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) set a lofty goal for 80% of the U.S. nursing workforce to hold a BSN degree by 2020. While this goal remains unlikely to be met this year — the result of a persistent shortage of nurses nationwide — it’s clear that a BSN degree remains the future of nursing.
A Life-Changing Future in Nursing Is Closer Than You Think
With Notre Dame of Maryland University’s Accelerated 2nd Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in the greater Baltimore area, it’s possible to earn your nursing degree in as few as 15 months.
Unlike many programs, our accredited, accelerated nursing program offers multiple starts a year — in January, May, and September — so you can begin your nursing education when you’re ready. Not only that, Notre Dame’s Accelerated BSN program boasts online and on-campus nursing coursework options, allowing you to choose the learning path you’re most comfortable with.
Getting Ready to Apply for Nursing School?
Applying for nursing school can seem overwhelming, especially with so much competition out there. Fortunately, Notre Dame of Maryland University is here to help. Don’t miss our recent blog post, 7 Ways to Increase Your Odds of Getting into Nursing School, for need-to-know tips and secrets of the nursing school application process.
Now, you may be wondering what exactly we mean by “online and on-campus coursework.” No, it’s not possible to earn a BSN degree strictly online. Regardless of which type of nursing coursework you choose, hands-on learning is essential. As part of our accelerated nursing program, you’ll still participate in skills and simulation labs, as well as travel to dedicated practice partner locations throughout the greater Baltimore area to attend your clinicals rotations.
However, our second-degree ABSN program does offer you the choice of learning foundational nursing theories and concepts online through our learning management system (LMS) or via more traditional, campus-based lectures. Which is best for you depends on your learning preferences.
ABSN Online Courses
This option is perfect for students who enjoy the convenience and flexibility that online learning offers. While you’re still subject to the assignment deadlines set by your instructors, you can complete your coursework at any time of day, and from wherever you learn best.
You’ll also enjoy a wide variety of learning formats. Our online nursing coursework features audio and visual components, interactive case studies, discussion forums, and more, creating an engaging, immersive experience. Of course, you’ll still learn via more traditional methods, such as assigned textbook readings, and you will take tests and attend skills and simulation labs in-person at our ABSN program site in Elkridge.
Keep in mind that though many students thrive in online learning settings, you must be a self-starter. Just because you don’t have assigned class times doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute. Nursing school requires daily study.
ABSN On-Campus Courses
Despite the growing popularity of online coursework, many people still prefer face-to-face, lecture-based experiences where they can hear their instructors explain complicated concepts, take notes, and ask questions in real-time.
Students who choose our on-campus coursework path will attend their lectures at our main campus in Baltimore and visit the on-campus Center for Caring with Technology for skills and simulation labs. For those learners who benefit from regular social contact or the sense of accountability a more rigid structure instills, this option is perfect.
Remember, though, that while you’ll spend more time at our site, nursing school can be quite time-consuming. Regardless of the path you choose, you should plan to spend a lot of your time outside class studying.
Enter the Profession that Needs You Sooner with Notre Dame ABSN
If nursing is your calling and you already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, a future in nursing is likely closer than you think. Contact an admissions counselor today to find out if our 15-month Accelerated BSN program in Baltimore is right for you.