To deliver high quality, patient-centered care, the Florida Action Coalition notes that higher levels of nursing education are necessary. Because of this, the Florida Coalition’s Education Focus Area has declared their number one goal: increasing the percentage of BSN-educated RNs in Florida to 80% by 2020.
The Florida Coalition recognizes that barriers exist that can prevent RNs from enrolling in RN to BSN programs, namely time and financial barriers. To address the time barrier, the Florida Center for Nursing released a report in 2013 entitled, Strategies to Successfully Provide Floridians an Adequate, Qualified Nurse Workforce, which calls for the development of fast and flexible educational pathways, such as RN to BSN programs.
To address the financial barrier, that same report calls for financial assistance. This leads to Florida nursing organizations, such as the Florida Nurses Foundation, offering scholarships and grants for RN education.
Despite the effort to remove time and financial barriers through online education and tuition reimbursements, as of 2011, the Coalition states that only 30% of Florida RNs were BSN-educated.
To promote the pursuit of a BSN-educated nursing workforce, Florida hospitals are beginning to support their employees, offering employed RNs flexible schedules and tuition assistance to return to school. For instance, the University of Florida Health Hospital, located in Gainesville, offers fellowships and grants to employed RNs looking to enroll in advanced education.
Further, BSN-educated RNs are prepared to fill the education and management gaps in the nursing workforce. In February 2015, the following jobs were listed as career advancement opportunities open to BSN-prepared RNs:
- Clinical Educator RN – Halifax Heath, Daytona Beach
- Nurse Educator – Osceola Regional Medical Center, Kissimmee
- Clinical RN Manager – Baptist Hospital, Pensacola
- Health Manager – Venice Regional Medical Center, Venice
Enrolling in RN to BSN Programs in Florida
Florida RN to BSN programs are designed to fit around any RN’s busy work and home schedule. To do this, many programs are offered entirely online with 24/7 access, so that RNs can choose when they have time for class.
While some Florida RN to BSN programs have differing GPA requirements, Florida RNs looking to enroll in a program will want to meet the following generally-accepted admissions requirements:
- Hold ADN from Accredited or Florida Board of Nursing-Approved Institution
- Hold a Minimum 2.0 GPA in ADN Program
- Hold Current, Active, Unrestricted Florida RN License
Once RNs meet these requirements, they can look to apply at any of the Florida Board of Nursing-approved, ACEN-accredited, or CCNE-accredited BSN nursing programs throughout Florida, including, but not limited to, those found in the following counties:
- Alachua County
- Brevard County
- Broward County
- Duval County
- Lee County
- Palm Beach
Components of RN to BSN Programs in Florida
Because the RN to BSN program is created to complement an RN’s previous ADN education, Florida RNs may receive up to 82 credits upon enrollment. After that, RNs will complete liberal arts and baccalaureate-level nursing courses to fulfill the BSN requirements.
The following list contains the types of nursing courses RN-BSN programs will include:
- Advanced English Composition
- Health Assessment
- RN Information Systems in Healthcare
- Statistics for Decision Making
- Cultural Diversity in the Professions
- Evidence-Based Practice
- RN Community Health Nursing
- RN Collaborative Healthcare
- Principles of Economics
Any clinical credits an RN will need to complete may be completed at local, close-to-home hospitals, including, but not limited to, the following:
- UF Health – Gainsville
- Florida Hospital – Orlando
After obtaining a BSN, RNs will be eligible to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing. Most Florida MSN programs are flexible, similar to RN to BSN programs, and they may be completed online.
Florida Hospitals that Help Support RNs entering RN-BSN Programs
Many Florida hospitals deem BSN-educated RNs as valuable assets to such an extent that they’re willing to pay to send them to school. The following list is just a few of the Florida hospitals offering some type of tuition-assistance to employed RNs.
UF Health Shands Hospital – Gainsville
The U.S. News&World Report consistently ranks UF Health Shands Hospital as one of the “Best Hospitals in America.” Along with this, it is one of the few Magnet Recognized Florida hospitals, showing excellence in nursing. To encourage RNs to develop professionally, UF Health offers RN Leadership Fellowships, Nursing Leadership Fellowships, Education Grants, and a tuition assistance for affiliated RN to BSN programs.
Florida Hospital Orlando – Orlando
Ranked nationally in 10 adult specialties, Florida Hospital has made it onto U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Hospitals in America,” and “Number 1 Hospital in Florida.” The Florida Hospital system has everything from small, family-oriented, 50-bed hospitals to large, 1000-bed downtown hospitals for all types of nurse preferences. Along with this, employed RNs get to take advantage of career growth, mobility, cross-training opportunities, and tuition reimbursement.
Tampa General Hospital
U.S. News World and Report ranks Tampa General as the second best hospital in Florida. Holding Magnet status for three years in a row, this hospital believes nursing is the heart and soul of healthcare, and to allow their nurses to perform excellently, they provide tuition assistance up to $4,000 per year for full-time employees. Along with this, as a teaching hospital, they provide organizational development comprehensive education programs, self-study modules, and further financial assistance for skills enhancement and certification.
For a quick glance at a few more hospitals that offer tuition assistance to RN employees, consider some of the following:
- Baptist Medical Center – Jacksonville
- Sarasota Memorial Hospital – Sarasota
- Bascom Palmer Eye Institute – Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital – Miami