By Lisa Mihlbauer, MSN, RN, IBCLC, CNE
Director of RN-to-BSN Completion Programs
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing
Why earn a BSN?
Your Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) program prepared you well for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination and a nursing practice position. You are doing well, so what more can a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) do for you?
A BSN prepares you for higher level positions, such as nurse manager, nurse educator, and care coordinator. The BSN is the next step on your way to pursuing an advanced degree that qualifies you for positions of leadership, administration, or higher education. It qualifies you to seek enrollment in MN, MSN, DNP, FNP, and PhD programs. A BSN curriculum builds on the skills and knowledge of the ADN curriculum, focusing on developing leadership, reflective practice, evidence-based practice and systems-thinking skills.
If you work for—or want to work for—an organization that has Magnet status, or is pursuing Magnet status, the BSN is especially important. Magnet institutions strive to have 80 percent of their nursing workforce to be prepared at the BSN level. In addition, the IOM Future of Nursing report (IOM, 2011) recommends that 80 percent of RN’s have a BSN degree. This staffing goal is driven by evidence. Multiple studies have confirmed that the education level of the nursing staff positively impacts patient outcomes.
Get a UW Flexible Option Degree Guide
Download an introductory guide (PDF) to the self-paced, competency-based UW Flexible Option programs, including details about costs, admission requirements, and more.
Choosing an RN-to-BSN Program
When choosing an RN-BSN program, it is important to carefully consider your own needs and the options available in the programs you are considering. Here are some important things to look at as you consider RN-to-BSN program options:
- Accreditation—Is the program accredited and by whom? How long has the program existed?
- Cost of tuition—What is the per-credit cost and the overall program cost? Can you apply for a scholarship or receive tuition reimbursement through your employer?
- Admission criteria—What are the admission criteria for the program?
- Prerequisites—What pre-requisite courses are required for the baccalaureate degree?
- Availability of advising services—Can you meet one-to-one with an advisor?
- Time to completion—What is the average time to completion? Is it possible to move at a faster or a slower pace to accommodate your needs?
- Clinical hours—What are the type and number of clinical hours required?
- Flexibility—Are there online, face-to-face and other course options? What is the length of each course? Can you combine course options?
- Personal career path—What are your career goals? Do you want to work in nursing management, education or practice?
- Availability of graduate education options—Are there graduate education options at this school?
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree offered through the UW Flexible Option can help you finish what you started. Learn how.