A 2012 survey of registered nurses (RNs) in Massachusetts found that 41 percent of the state’s 124,167 RNs held a bachelor’s degree, and 55.5 percent held a bachelor’s degree or higher. In 2009, Massachusetts RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree programs experienced a 20 percent increase in enrollment. This is occurring as more and more nursing organizations across the state are pushing for higher education for all RNs.
Many RN to BSN programs in Massachusetts recognize that RNs are working students with families, and accordingly help them to plan classes around work and family activities. Some employers, recognizing the degree’s inherent value, also offer tuition reimbursement to Massachusetts RNs who pursue BSNs. The goal of the Massachusetts Action Coalition is for 66 percent of RNs in Massachusetts to have a BSN or higher by 2020.
In 2014, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded $300,000 in grants to Massachusetts to create a more highly educated nursing work force. This grant was awarded as a result of Massachusetts accomplishing goals such as developing a Nursing Education Transfer Compact to facilitate transfer of credit from an ADN to a BSN program; development of the Massachusetts Nursing Core Competencies Toolkit to help implement 10 core competencies into the state’s nursing education programs; and collecting and analyzing data on faculty recruitment and retention in Massachusetts’ nursing schools.
Online and Campus-Based RN to BSN Programs in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing has approved 18 RN to BSN degree programs statewide, many of which are available as online programs. Campus locations found in the following areas:
Meeting the Enrollment Criteria for RN to BSN Programs in Massachusetts
Massachusetts schools will usually require similar prerequisites for RN to BSN program. These may include:
- Hold a current and valid RN license in Massachusetts
- Transfer of credits from ADN program (usually about 40)
- GPA of at least 2.75 in ADN program
- Complete courses in:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Professional Issues in Nursing
RN to BSN Courses and Program Structure
Most RN to BSN programs in Massachusetts confer approximately 120 credits. Courses generally found in such a program include:
- Growth and development across the lifespan
- Health assessment and promotion
- Nursing research
- Community health nursing
- Legal, ethical and health policies
A practicum is usually the last course in the sequence of RN to BSN courses. During this time, students are placed into a clinical setting in which their work is observed and graded. Various medical facilities statewide partner with RN to BSN programs, offering placements in such facilities as:
- Cambridge Health Alliance- Cambridge, Somerville and Boston
- Massachusetts General Hospital- Boston
- Lahey Clinic- Burlington
- East Boston Neighborhood Health Center- Boston
- Quincy Medical Center- Quincy
- Children’s Hospital-Boston
- South Shore Hospital -Weymouth
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital-Boston
Life After Earning a BSN in Massachusetts
With the Health Resources and Service Administration bracing for a nursing shortage, particularly in leadership and education, BSN-educated RNs in Massachusetts are becoming a hot commodity . All of the major nursing groups in Massachusetts recommend that RNs there get the highest level of education possible, as there are a growing number of nursing employers who prefer to hire BSNs or higher.
As of May 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that Massachusetts paid its registered nurses the third highest annual salary in the nation, at $83,720. RNs who possess a BSN can earn annual wages from $10,000 to $20,000 higher than the average RN salary.
The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing has approved seven graduate education programs statewide, in cities including Worcester, Boston, Salem and Chestnut Hill. BSNs in Massachusetts can further improve their earning potential through pursuing a graduate degree in nursing. Degrees possible include a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Master of Arts in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and PH.D. Nursing. Graduate degrees help nurses attain advanced practice positions in Massachusetts such as Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Anesthetist.
Internal hiring for jobs that involve more clinical responsibilities is typically extended to staff RNs that have gone on to complete BSN programs. Internal job opportunities have been extended to BSN-educated RNs in the following healthcare facilities as of February 2015:
- Community Health Nurse – Watertown
- Hospice RN Case Coordinator- Woburn
- Infection Control Nurse- Brighton
- Research Nurse- Boston
- Nurse Educator- Rochdale
- Staff Development Coordinator – Hingham
- Clinical RN – Natick
- Case Manager- Beverly
- Oncology Nurse- Hyannis
- Telemetry Nurse – Newton