It is important to know that you are able to improve your qualifications as a registered nurse in any of the online RN programs that are available. However, the requirement is that you must have practical training in a classroom or a health care environment for certain of the courses you would need to complete. This is what the state education would require from you as well. Your studies could be spread over two years or you could do a four year training program. Thus, you should make that choice and find out what your requirements would be for each (that is, in terms of how many credits you would need to complete and how much it would cost).
The difficulty with online RN programs is that you cannot do a complete study online as required by the state. You would need to have some classroom activity, which means attending classes on campus and doing practical work in a health care facility. This is what is known as blended nursing degree programs. It would mean that the online content would be about fifty percent of the program. The programs offered are usually at the Associate Degree level. This would mean that you would have some qualification already. It is especially best if you are a qualified Registered Nurse already. The next level would be a Bachelor’s Degree if you are already a Licensed Registered Nurse. If you follow the levels carefully you would then earn:
- An Associate Degree in Nursing (as the beginning degree) followed by
- A Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing or
- A Nursing Diploma
There are a number of these online RN programs available and institutions as well as the fact that each has its own set of course choices for you to study as well as its own fee structure. You should make sure that you are aware of the licensing as well as the accreditation (or approved programs) of each of these institutions. You might want to do your LRN qualifications by doing the Associate Level courses first, which would give you credits for the next levels. You must remember too that your continuing studies are dependent on the accreditation of the courses that you would be studying.
The Bridging And Qualification Required For Online RN Programs
The online RN programs are available to you for the purpose of continuing your studies toward a higher qualification. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) might be able to accelerate placement into the Associate Degree Nursing Program. The latter is usually the first degree to obtain after which you could continue your studies as far as you would like to take it (and this includes a Doctoral Degree).
Once you have either an Associate Degree or a Bachelors Degree you could sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and complete your full qualification as a result. This exam would test your competency in nursing studies and nursing practices. The nursing practices would form part of the rest of your studies.
Your qualifications could further include specialization in specific areas in the medical field. You could specialize in working with:
- A specific group of patients, such as children that would make you a part of the pediatric care in health care facilities.
- A specific type of medicine, such as oncology, cardiology, surgical, orthopedic, primary care, Psychiatry, Geriatric and so forth.
- A specific medical setting, such as the emergency room, mental hospitals, operating room, children’s ward, schools and so forth.
Other areas in which you can specialize are:
- Home Health Care
- Peri-operative Care
- Psychiatry and even
- Holistic Medicine
Some Of The Programs Involved In The Online RN Programs
What you must take into consideration is that these courses are not fully online. Some of the courses that you are able to study online are:
- Introductory Physiology
- Introductory Chemistry
- Introductory Principles of Nutrition
- Elementary Statistics
- Physiology Laboratory
- Nursing Process
- Nursing Study in Specialized Setting
- Integrated Concepts in Nursing Practice
- Leadership and Management for RNs
- Theory of Clinical Practice
- Community Nursing
- Business Communications
These are only a few examples of what you are able to do online. The other areas of your study (that would be the other fifty percent) you would have to do as practical applications. The course and program packages would also be different form institution to institution and you would choose what is best suited to what you would eventually like in which to specialize. With all the courses packaged together you would therefore also be able to obtain credits for the particular qualification for which you have signed up. That means that if you want a higher qualification, you would need to do more credits to add to the online RN programs. There are, however, core credits that would run across all the qualifications. It is also possible that you could make sure that you complete your studies at a faster rate by applying for credit transfers from, for example your Associate Degree to your Bachelors Degree. Some of the Core Credits are:
- Anatomy and Physiology Courses
- Clinical Nursing Courses
The Study Program For Online RN Programs
When you do make use of online RN programs, you have to make sure that there are a few aspects in place for you own purposes as well. What this means is that you will be studying online and you would therefore need a few things to make this possible:
- You would need access to a computer or a laptop of your choice.
- You would need to have a good internet connection as you would need to access your study material online, your fellow students as well as you lecturers.
In some instances you would need to purchase textbooks as well and you would have to calculate this into your overall cost for the program. These books you could, however, purchase secondhand as well, which would diminish your expenses significantly.
Accreditation For The Online RN Programs
It is of great importance that you make sure that all the online RN programs you research and choose are accredited. There are many schools that would clearly point out that they are accredited, but for others you would need to make doubly sure. There are different places where you could find out whether the school you wish to attend has accreditation. You could find out through the:
- Board of Registered Nursing, as they have a list of all the schools that would offer accredited programs for you.
- The National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) that would provide accreditation to different types of nursing qualification programs such as Masters, Bachelors, Associate Degree and Diploma.
- If you do a Masters or a Bachelors Degree, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) would accredit these programs.
- The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) would accredit your nurse anesthesia program at certificate, Masters and Doctoral degree level.
- Midwifery education programs are accredited by The American College of Nurse-Midwives Division of Accreditation (ACNM).
Most of the courses and institutions are listed on their websites and it is therefore easy to have a look at, which of the institutions are accredited. The NLNAC and the CCNE are the major institutions that would provide an institution with accreditation. You should also note that most of the universities that offer the Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral Degrees would most probably be accredited. The accreditation time-frame is also limited to a specific period in some instances. Before you apply for accreditation of your courses, you do have to check whether the accreditation has an expiry date and whether the place had renewed their accreditation.
The importance of accreditation of online RN programs is based in the fact that, should you not study at an accredited institute, you would not be able to further your qualifications at an accredited school. This is because most universities that are accredited cannot accept non-accredited courses into their program. The universities would look at your Nursing courses that you have completed at other institutions, evaluate these on an individual basis and grant the appropriate credit level, to a maximum of forty-one credits. What is also important to note here is that, should you receive accreditation for most of your courses, that this will significantly decrease the length or period of your studies.
The Cost Of Online RN Programs
The cost of online RN programs would vary from one school to another. Most of the courses would be charged at per credit rate. This could make it quite expensive as apposed to a flat rate. You would therefore need to be ready to pay as little as $100 to more than $300 dollars per credit (up to $700 per credit). For online programs at public universities you would generally pay between $110 and $170 per credit. These costs would exclude registration or enrollment fees or any other fees such as accommodation and so forth. It is important to note that you are not charged for out-of-state tuition for the online RN programs.
There are also a number of additional expenses such as:
- Books that could cost between $1,000 and $3,000 per year.
- The cost of your uniforms, your shoes and a few pieces of medical equipment which are required for the nursing program can cost between $160 and $300.
- You would also need to pay an acceptance fee that may range from $80 to $600.
- While you are in the program, you are also required to have insurance for hospitalization or proof that you have individual cover for the duration of the nursing program, which could cost around $1,600.
- Added to this is your nursing license testing fee of $200, which you should be ready to pay once you have obtained your degree. This is a state-administered exam in order for you to receive your nursing license so that you can practice as a nurse.
- Your overall cost from an LPN to a BSN is around $19,000.
There are many scholarships and other means of financial aid available to you. It would therefore not be difficult for you to study as there are also study loans available. All you need to do is contact the financial administrator at your choice of university and find out what is available and for what type of aid you would qualify. You do have to take into consideration as well that the cost does increase with each year you progress to and as you improve you level of studies. However, as already mentioned, you do have loans and scholarships available for you to complete your entire online RN programs.
Some Schools For Online RN Programs
There are a number of schools through which you can obtain the degree you would like to do. The ones that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and The National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) are randomly listed here:
- Capstone College of Nursing
- University of Wyoming Nursing
- Stratford University – School of Nursing
- Midwestern State University
- University of South Carolina
- Pennsylvania State University
- Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciences
- State University of New York Upstate Medical University
- New York University
- Walden University
- University of Illinois Chicago
- Liberty University
- Kaplan University
- Chamberlain College of Nursing Online
The importance of making your choice is that you would look at the courses offered in the online RN programs, the accreditation as well as the cost of the entire package. This will assist you greatly in getting the best for your academic education, finances as well as for your further studies in this field.