The quality of care and patient outcomes are significantly impacted by the education attained by health care professionals, primarily nurses. Research shows that nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate levels are linked to lower mortality rates, fewer medical errors, and shorter hospital stays. In a study done by Kovner and group (2010), BSN programs were found to provide higher levels of preparation in evidence-based practice, research, and teamwork and collaboration – which are key in today’s complex health care environment.
Demand for the BSN-degreed nurse is rising due to the country’s increasing population of elderly adults, which needs more complex care than other age brackets. In light of the projected shortage of nurses, there is a need for new nurses with the capability to take on more responsibilities and bigger workloads. Plus, government agencies (the military, veterans, and public health organizations) and many care facilities with Magnet Status require a baccalaureate degree in new job candidates.
Bachelor’s-level education offers many benefits to the practitioner as well, including increased salary and more opportunities to advance one’s career. In a 2010 survey of RNs, BSN-prepared nurses earned higher average incomes than diploma or associate degree nurses. To move into a managerial or specialized care position, the BSN degree is the minimum: often, the Master’s or DNP degree is required. In addition, some health care organizations are mandating that RNs earn their BSN within 10 years of employment.
RNs are often juggling many commitments on their time (work and families) and are seeking ways to earn the BSN in the most efficient way. Pitt Nursing offers the RN Options Program with options of obtaining either a BSN or BSN with Early Admission to MSN/DNP to give professional nurses an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and career prospects at a school of nursing with an international reputation for excellence. The curriculum is designed to build upon the professional nurse’s experience and skill sets resulting in the completion of a BSN degree or complete the BSN and continue on and earn an advanced degree (either the Master’s or the Doctor of Nursing Practice) in one of our highly-ranked graduate degree programs/concentrations.
The RN Options program is offered in an online format for the RN-BSN and RN-MSN programs (exception Neonatal Nurse Practitioner AOC is onsite) allowing more flexibility for the practicing nurse wishing to advance their education. The School accepts up to 68 transfer credits (restrictions apply and are explained here) and if pursuing an advanced degree, 24 credits of the RN Options curriculum are bridge credits – they also count towards the first-year’s core courses for the graduate degree. So, you earn both the BSN and a graduate degree from an internationally-renown university while saving a YEAR of coursework.
RN Options students may complete the RN-BSN and RN-MSN curriculums on a part-time or full-time basis. All RN-DNP curriculums, except Nurse Anesthesia, may be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. The Nurse Anesthesia DNP curriculum is offered as full-time only. Students may begin coursework in any term (fall/spring/summer).
RN Options provides professional nurses an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills at a school of nursing with an international reputation for excellence. Not only does this curriculum builds upon a professional nurse’s strengths and experiences, it expands knowledge and practice skills to provide potential career-changing opportunities.
Courses are taught by the same faculty as the traditional four-year BSN program, nursing leaders who are experts in their field. Students also have many opportunities for hands-on learning in UPMC and its nationally-recognized healthcare facilities.
The RN Options track and curriculum are designed for:
- Registered nurses with either an ACEN (NLN), ACICS, or CCNE accredited diploma or associate degree
- Registered nurses without a BSN who want to enter the Master's program via the RN Options track, and gain early admission to MSN or DNP programs
Nursing leaders who are experts in their field teach the courses. Faculty serve as educators, role models and mentors.