RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Illinois

The Illinois Healthcare Action Coalition is just one of the organizations in the state that is responding to the call for more BSN-educated RNs in response to a stated goal of seeing 8 out of 10 nurses hold BSN degrees by 2020. This coalition is working to develop educational pathways that will enable Illinois’ nurses to meet the demand for high-quality care while reducing mortality rates and incidents of infection; all of which are known to be positively impacted as the number of BSN-educated RNs increase.

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According to the Illinois Center for Nursing, the number of nurses who are graduating from BSN programs in the state is steadily increasing. Between 2006 and 2010, there was a 75 percent increase in the number of RNs completing BSN programs.

Illinois’ nursing schools are also being encouraged to promote enrollment in RN to BSN programs. In 2014 the state’s Nursing School Grant Program awarded $375,848 to schools offering pre-licensure BSN programs and RN-BSN completion programs

RN to BSN School Programs in Illinois

There are 36 public and private nursing schools throughout Illinois that offer RN to BSN programs. Illinois’ nursing schools offer part-time or full-time programs, most of which are available in a distance learning online format.

Fulltime campus based programs allow BSN candidates to complete their program in as little as three semesters, while flexible online programs can last as long as two years as necessary to accommodate the schedule of working RNs. Many programs offer the opportunity to earn school credit through work, especially during a program’s practicum or clinical segment.

Nursing schools with campus locations in Illinois that offer RN to BSN programs, also referred to as RN baccalaureate completion programs, are located in the cities of:

  • Chicago
  • Aurora
  • Rockford
  • Joliet
  • Springfield
  • Peoria
  • Decatur
  • Rock Island

Admission Requirements for Illinois RN to BSN Programs

Each college or university will have its own specific admission requirements. Generally, RN to BSN candidates should consider the following:

  • RN license
  • May be required to have a minimum GPA, such as a 2.0
  • Previous college credits or a two-year college degree – AS or AA

Each school of nursing can also determine its own prerequisites. Generally these classes need to be completed before candidates can start taking the core nursing courses:

  • Chemistry
  • Statistics
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology and sociology
  • Anatomy and physiology I and II
  • Microbiology

Structure, Credits and Coursework

An RN to BSN program results in a full bachelor’s degree that is comprised of around 125 semester credits in total. In terms of credits, these programs are typically structured as follows:

  • General undergraduate courses and transfer credit – 60 credits, AA degree, or AS degree
  • Prerequisites – 40 credits
  • Core BSN courses – 25 credits

Once the prerequisites are out of the way BSN candidates can start taking the main courses associated with their major. These will include the following, which may also be completed as part of a clinical program:

  • Evidenced-based nursing practices
  • Health assessments and health promotions
  • Pharmacotherapeutics for nurses
  • Concepts of professional nursing
  • Nursing leadership
  • Health individuals, families, and communities
  • Nursing ethics and legal issues
  • Pathophysiology and psychopathology

Nursing Clinical Programs

The clinical segment often has its own requirements that nurses will have to meet, which can include:

  • Vaccinations
  • Drug screening
  • Criminal background check
  • CPR and first aid certification

There are dozens of health care facilities in Illinois that allow RN to BSN students to use their facilities to complete clinical courses, and can include places like:

  • Johnston R Bowman Health Center in Chicago
  • Children’s Hospital Illinois in Peoria
  • Evanston Hospital
  • Advocate Christ Medical Center in Downers Grove

Incentive Programs for Illinois RNs to Complete a BSN

Government grants, academic scholarships, and employer benefits are all key elements of incentive programs that encourage RNs to return to school to complete at least a BSN.

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The following health care providers are just some examples of those that offer tuition reimbursement and employer-funded RN to BSN opportunities in Illinois:

  • Advocate Health System
  • Copley Memorial Hospital
  • Cadence Health
  • Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare
  • FHN
  • Mercy Hospital and Medical Center
  • Palos Community Hospital
  • Presence Health System
  • Riverside Healthcare System
  • Rush Oak Park Hospital
  • Vanguard Health System

It is also important to check with each individual nursing school for scholarship opportunities. In addition to schools, many organizations also offer grants and scholarships. For example, the Illinois Center for Nursing provides extensive scholarship and loan resources for nurses looking to earn a BSN.

RN to BSN candidates can also check with organizations such as the following for additional resources. These are the groups that make up the Illinois Healthcare Action Coalition:

While more BSN-prepared RNs is one of the key goals of organizations like the Illinois Healthcare Action Coalition, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Institute of Medicine, a BSN is only a starting point. Nursing professionals can use this track of education to begin to prepare for future career and education advancement through MSN and DNP programs.

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