how RN to BSN programs work

What is an RN to BSN Program?

There is a lot of talk nowadays about the importance of earning a bachelor’s degree. This investment is a big factor in the success of workers across many different fields, but it’s becoming an even bigger one for nurses.

Not long ago, most nurses would earn their associate degree, sit for the NCLEX to become a Registered Nurse, and spend the rest of their careers providing patient care. Today, nurses – both current and aspiring – are encouraged to earn their Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (BSN), even beyond their associate. Why, you ask?

There are many reasons to earn your BSN today. Earning your BSN can exponentially increase your salary potential. In fact, according to, a BSN can bring home $8,000 more than an ADN annually. A BSN will also increase your opportunities within the nursing field, provide you with more knowledge about your craft, and help you offer better care to your patients. This is one of the driving reasons you got into nursing, right?

As a working nurse, you may be hesitant to reach for that bachelor’s degree. With a stable career and comfortable living, you may not want to spend four-plus years in school. As a result, you may be researching the RN to BSN path.

What is an RN to BSN program, exactly? Here, we will break down what defines this type of BSN program, how it works, and what nurses can expect from it.

Simply put, an RN to BSN degree can take your career to the next level. It is a type of bridge program specifically for Registered Nurses who already have their license and associate degree. Through an RN to BSN program, Registered Nurses are given the chance to advance their current role and skillset, and qualify for more jobs in the field. Because RN to BSN programs are designed for already-working nurses, flexibility is a key element.

The RN-to-BSN program at Goodwin University, for example, may be completed in as little as 16-months part-time, or it can be designed to meet your individual needs. It is offered completely online. This gives working nurses that much-needed flexibility in a demanding job with unusual and lengthy hours. Many nurses at hospitals, for example, work 12-hour shifts and cannot begin to wrap their minds around making it to a 10 a.m. class on a school’s campus. Online programs eliminate this conundrum. Now, you can study at a time that works for you – even if that means completing coursework at 2 a.m.

RN-to-BSN Courses

What is an RN to BSN program, in terms of coursework? At Goodwin, students must complete 27 credits in General Education courses, seven credits in Open Electives, and 24 credits in Upper Division Nursing courses. These core classes include:

  • Foundations of Professional Nursing
  • Health Assessment
  • Introduction to Nursing Research
  • Public and Community Health Nursing
  • Clinical Nursing Leadership
  • Introduction to Healthcare Policy and Advocacy
  • Seminar in Professional Nursing Leadership

Only licensed RNs can register for these upper level courses.

RN to BSN Program Outcomes

Graduates of the RN-to-BSN program are prepared and ready to practice professional nursing with skills that are essential and valuable among all healthcare settings. They are also prepared to begin graduate study, should they choose that next step. After completing a BSN program, graduates can:

  • Practice nursing from a holistic, visionary, culturally competent, fiscally responsible base as they care for patients.
  • Apply knowledge from nursing theory, practice, and research into professional role.
  • Demonstrate leadership and management skills using critical and creative thinking, ethical decision-making, and evidence-based practice.
  • Design, manage, and coordinate care to patients using advanced communication skills.
  • Advocate for patients, families, groups and communities based on a respect for cultural diversity and an understanding of the impact of political and regulatory process in health care.
  • Collaborate and communicate, using a variety of methods, with patients and health care colleagues to maximize patient wellness.
  • Make a commitment to life-long learning by assuming responsibility for professional career planning, advanced education and active membership in the nursing profession.

Learn the benefits of a BSN degree here.

If you are a working nurse who desires career advancement, the RN-to-BSN program is, without a doubt, a smart choice. An RN to BSN degree can help you increase your salary potential, improve your patient care, widen your career opportunities, and – of course – enhance your knowledge of the nursing field.

Goodwin University is a leading nursing school, with associate, bachelor’s, and master’s nursing degrees available. Learn more about our online RN-to-BSN program today. Call 1-800-889-3282, or visit us online to request more information.