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What to Expect in an Online Nursing Program

Now is a great time to be a nurse, and the reasons are many. The global nursing shortage has been a pressing and undeniable issue for the healthcare field for many years now. Whether it’s a growing elderly population, nurses on their way to retirement or high burnout rates exacerbated by the pandemic, this is clear: nurses are and will be needed well into the future.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of registered nurses (RNs) is expected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030. The agency also notes that 194,500 openings for RNs will be available each year, on average, over these 10 years.

Not only are nurses needed, but they’ll also be compensated well for the role. ZipRecruiter lists the national average salary for an RN as $70,335 per year. The BLS notes a slightly higher annual salary at $75,330. Of course, RNs who pursue advanced education — such as a Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree — may be able to secure even higher-paying positions.

5 Key Benefits of an Online RN to BSN Program

Online nursing programs have made it easier than ever to complete a BSN. Some of the benefits of completing your degree online include:

  • Flexibility. Nurses who are already working in the field can complete their schooling around their shift schedules. Busy parents also find online education a perk, as they can easily put their little one down for a nap and jump online. In addition, many online RN to BSN programs allow for multiple start dates throughout the year, which provides even more flexibility.
  • Convenience. Think about it: no commute! Or, if an RN is living in a more remote area, they can complete their coursework without arranging for housing near an on-campus nursing school. All of this means cost savings, which almost anyone can appreciate.
  • Affordability. Gone are the days of racking up tens of thousands of dollars in debt for a nursing degree. Online RN to BSN programs like the one at University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) offer a very affordable tuition at $9,900. This rate is the same for in-state and out-of-state students.
  • Time to Graduation. UIC students also can complete the RN to BSN online program in as few as 12 months. In a year, you could be promoted and equipped for a position that’s both personally and financially rewarding.
  • Support. One misconception about online programs is that students are left to figure everything out on their own. Nothing could be further from the truth. The growing number of online programs indicates their success. From faculty to administration, support is readily available.

The Final Benefit? Opportunity

Registered nurses who earn their BSN degrees start or further their career with heightened expertise. Their schooling has prepared them for top-level positions — even the potential for management roles. Specifically, BSN-prepared nurses are skilled in:

  • nursing leadership and management
  • nursing informatics
  • evidence-based, scientific care
  • social and economic issues in contemporary healthcare
  • ethical decision-making
  • legal guidelines, regulations and standards in professional nursing practice

BSN education focuses on foundational elements such as critical thinking, collaboration and excellent communication skills. Upon graduation, all these elements combine to make BSN-prepared nurses critical to the healthcare field.

Learn more about the University of Illinois Chicago’s online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

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