According to a survey conducted by the Indiana Center for Nursing, in 2010 there were 2,553 RNs enrolled in Indiana’s RN to BSN programs. That year, the graduating class of registered nurses was 925 strong, while the next year 1,029 RNs graduated from one of these RN to BSN completion programs, representing an increase of 11.24 percent in just one year.
In an effort to meet the growing demand for high quality nursing care, the Indiana Action Coalition is striving to reach the goal of having 80 percent of its nurses BSN-educated by the year 2020. Currently, just less than half of Indiana’s nurses hold a BSN or higher.
RN to BSN Programs in Indiana
Strategically poised to respond to the rising demand for BSN-educated RNs, Indiana’s three-dozen colleges of nursing offer a variety of opportunities for RN interested in completion programs:
- RN to BSN programs are often offered completely online so nurses can work while studying
- Programs vary in length from 12 months to 24 months or even longer to accommodate busy schedules
- Programs are offered in classrooms at many locations across the state
- Clinical opportunities are available at numerous health care facilities
Candidates will need to check the specific admission and course requirements of the RN to BSN programs that interest them, as these can vary somewhat according to the individual school of nursing.
In total there are 36 RN to BSN programs in Indiana.
Admission Requirements for RN to BSN Programs in Indiana
- Applicants must be RNs with current and unencumbered licenses
- Some programs require a minimum GPA of 2.5
- Currently hold an AS, AA, or Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ASN), for which they may be awarded approximately 50 semester credits
- For the clinical segment, candidates usually need to have an adequate immunization record, CPR certification, and be able to pass a criminal background check
- Placement tests may be required
Some programs begin strictly in the fall, while others accept new students year round.
Because a BSN is a full baccalaureate degree, it will total around 125 semester credits. About 60 of these credits are general undergraduate requirements (GURs). The remaining credits are either prerequisites for the BSN program or BSN core and major courses. Each school requires a certain number of credits to be completed in-house to fulfill school residency requirements – usually around 30 semester credits.
Candidates will typically need to finish one segment of their program before they can move on to the next, through this model of progression:
- Undergraduate GURs
- Nursing prerequisites
- Core nursing courses and clinical segment
Most programs will award significant credit towards prerequisite courses for nurses who have already complete a nursing diploma or RN education. In some cases this credit will eliminate prerequisites altogether, and can be as much as 50 credits.
Some programs allow experienced nurses to challenge courses and receive academic credit if they can demonstrate they already possess relevant skills.
The prerequisite courses for RN to BSN programs include:
- Statistics and probability
- Anatomy and physiology – basic and advanced
- College mathematics
- Sociology and psychology
- College English
RN-BSN Courses and Program Structure
If candidates are coming in with an ADN or transfer credits that eliminate all prerequisites, it may be that the core courses are all that are required for a BSN. In this case nurses will need to take at least 30 credits of core courses to fulfill residency requirements for their home school.
Core courses are usually completed as part of the BSN candidate’s clinical segment. These include:
- Nursing health assessments
- Nursing research and evidence-based-practices
- Nursing management and care of adults
- Nursing management and care of the child-bearing family
- Nursing management and care of children
- Nursing management and care of elderly adults
- Nursing and community health
- Advanced nursing practices
- Advanced nursing electives
Indiana’s nursing schools have clinical agreements with hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities located across the state. Some schools have also made agreements with health care providers throughout the nation to facilitate the clinical education segment for nurses completing Indiana-based online programs for those who live out-of-state.
During the clinical segment, nurses will be in a familiar environment and apply the advanced knowledge they have been acquiring as part of their BSN program. Indiana’s health care facilities that may participate in clinical education programs include:
- Indiana University Medical Center in Bloomington
- Deaconess Hospital in Evansville
- Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis
- Saint Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis
- Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne
Indiana’s Hospitals Make it Easy for RNs to Earn a BSN
In recognition of the advantages that a BSN carries with it, many employers in Indiana provide tuition reimbursement, salary bonuses, and other incentives for their nurses to return to school.
- Nurses working at as part of Deaconess Health System have the option of participating in a Professional Development Program that encourages them to improve their education and training, rewarding this with salary bonuses
- RNs who work at Saint Vincent Hospital, a member of Scension Health, are offered tuition reimbursement to pursue a BSN, MSN and other advanced education degrees like RN-PhD
- Nurses who work as part of the Parkview Health system have access to tuition assistance and reimbursement for pursuing an RN to BSN program
BSN candidates should always check with the individual schools in which they are interested for scholarship opportunities. To meet Indiana’s growing demand for BSN-educated nurses, most RN to BSN programs provide financial aid and scholarship resources for their prospective students.
Associations such as the Indiana Center for Nursing also provide relevant scholarship and grant information for prospective RN to BSN candidates. Other organizations that can prove to be helpful include:
- Indiana Association for Health Care Recruitment
- Indiana Organization of Nurse Executives
- Spotlight on Nursing