In 2008 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched an initiative to review nursing standards in response to the proposed Affordable Care Act. The Foundation’s investigation resulted in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) proposing a national recommendation that 80% of nurses hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) by the year 2020.
The Oregon Center for Nursing is a non-profit organization designed to advocate for nurses in the state. The Center began collecting data to understand where the state was in reaching the 80% goal. As of 2013, the number of BSN candidates has steadily increased. The BSN path is now the recommended route to receiving RN licensure in the state.
The state of Oregon responded to the IOM initiative by forming the Oregon Action Coalition to address ways to increase the number of RNs with BSN degrees in accordance with the new standards. The Coalition is working on developing a number of initiatives and innovations to make BSN programs more accessible to students. One such development is StudentMAX, which was formed as a web-based clinical placement program in Oregon to facilitate orientation with clinical facilities for BSN students.
While students may agree that obtaining an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) may allow a faster route to the workforce, a BSN is still recommended. Hospitals and clinics in Oregon understand the need to meet the 80% standard by 2020 and typically show a hiring preference to those with a BSN. Coursework for BSNs also open up additional career opportunities in community settings that may not be available to RNs.
Most BSN programs allow the option for students to complete the pre-requisite courses at a community or junior college before applying for the nursing program at the university level. Accelerated programs are also available to those who have earned a bachelor’s degree in another area.
Online and On-Campus Pre-Licensure BSN Programs in Oregon
Online and On-Campus BSN pre-licensure programs are available to allow students to choose the type of schooling that works best for them. Online programs are a great choice for the busy student who may have family or other work obligations that limit their time. On-Campus programs are the optimum choice for those who want the full college experience.
Campus-based programs approved by the Oregon State Board of Nursing are located in the following cities:
- Klamath Falls
- La Grande
Students seeking a BSN as their first degree must complete general education requirements before declaring their major. Prerequisites must be completed within 7 years of applying to a nursing program and are typically comprised of courses in the following subject areas:
- Psychological Development
- Human Nutrition
Core Courses and Clinical Experience Requirements
Nursing courses are taken in the last two years of a four-year BSN programs and can vary from school to school but often include the following courses:
- Nursing Fundamentals Practicum
- Medical Surgical Nursing
- Health Promotion
- Nursing Care of Children and Families
- Public Health Nursing
- Nursing Administration/Leadership
- Maternity Nursing
- Mental Health Nursing
BSN programs require practice in a clinical setting as part of the curriculum. This experience affords students the opportunity to hone critical nursing skills at hospitals and other clinical settings. Students must provide required documentation before being admitted to the clinical portion of the program. Documentation needed may include the following:
- Background check
- 9 panel drug screen
- Certification of clinical readiness
- Annual PPD
- Flu Shot
- CPR certification
Unexcused absences during clinical rotations are not accepted and may result in termination from the program. StudentMax Connections is an online placement tool designed to help place students in clinical facilities. Examples of hospitals that offer clinical programs in Maryland include:
- OSHU Healthcare – Portland
- Portland VA Medical Center – Portland
RN Licensing and Examination for BSN Program Graduates in Oregon
Candidates must first pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam before taking steps to obtain an RN licenses through the Oregon State Board of Nursing. NCLEX-RN exams are scheduled through Pearson VUE.
The steps to applying for the RN license in Oregon are as follows:
- Obtain a Licensure by Examination Application Packet from the Board of Nursing
- Complete application packet and return with $160 fee
- Receive Authorization to Test for NCLEX-RN
- Schedule and take NCLEX-RN exam
Upon receipt of a passing grade for the NCLEX-RN, the Board of Nursing will issue and mail the RN license.
Residency and Career Opportunities after Graduation
Nursing residency programs are an excellent way to begin a nursing career. The residency programs build confidence while reducing the stress associated with transitioning from student to professional. These programs benefit both the employee and the facility as they typically result in lower turnover rates.
The following hospitals are examples of facilities in Oregon that offer nursing residency programs:
- Adventist Health, Portland
- Legacy Health, Portland
- Oregon Health & Science University, Portland
- Samaritan Health Services, Corvallis
BSN programs allow for greater diversity in career choices. A BSN is highly favored by many medical institutions and may even be required for military or public health nursing careers. Current job opportunities in Oregon that require a BSN include the following (February 2015):
- RN Client Community Coordinator – PeaceHealth, Eugene
- Resource Nurse – Oregon Health & Science University, Portland