Responding to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) call to increase the number of baccalaureate-educated RNs across the U.S., the Pennsylvania Action Coalition was formed to create and implement accessible and affordable nursing education, allowing all Pennsylvania RNs to pursue RN-BSN completion programs. To provide high quality nursing education, the Pennsylvania Action Coalition for Advancing Education is working to create articulation agreements designed to coordinate nursing curricula among schools, allowing ADN-educated RNs to easily transfer previous credits to RN to BSN programs.
Despite the efforts to push for baccalaureate degrees in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Health published a Special Report on the Characteristics of the Registered Nurse Population in Pennsylvania, stating that only 31.3% of RNs held bachelor’s degrees.
To continue promoting RN to BSN programs, organizations such as the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association make it their mission to provide access to education. To do this, the association connects RNs with continuing education options as well as nursing scholarships, helping to alleviate the financial pressure RNs experience when returning to school.
With the significant benefits BSN-educated RNs bring to hospitals, patients, and the field of nursing as a whole, Pennsylvania’s hospitals are also promoting RN-BSN bridge programs by offering tuition assistance to the RNs they staff. For example, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center encourages all RNs to undergo continual formal or informal education by offering RNs educational opportunities, including tuition benefits.
Pennsylvania’s RN to BSN Program
RN to BSN programs in Pennsylvania are for part- or full-time working registered nurses interested in realizing their full potential. With options for full- and part-time study through online formats, RNs can obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing while remaining committed to their career and family.
With 100% online BSN programs, RNs can fulfill Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree requirements from anywhere at anytime. In addition to online programs, campus-based Pennsylvania Board of Nursing-approved baccalaureate nursing programs can be found in the following cities:
- Center Valley
- East Stroudsburg
Meeting the Enrollment Requirements for RN to BSN Programs
Most of Pennsylvania’s RN to BSN programs require the following admissions criteria:
- Hold a Current, Unencumbered Pennsylvania RN License
- Hold an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Pennsylvania Accredited School
Along with this, different schools may have different G.P.A. requirements, expecting that applicants have a G.P.A. of between 2.0 and 2.7.
RN to BSN Course Outline and Program Structure
After transferring in an RN’s previous associate degree courses, Pennsylvania’s RN to BSN programs are designed to provide general education and baccalaureate-level nursing courses. The baccalaureate-level nursing courses will include, but are not limited to:
- Introduction to Pharmacological Concepts
- Nursing Care of the Elderly
- Mental Health Nursing
- Introduction to Nursing Research
- Health Assessment
- Introduction to Nursing Informatics
- Transition and the Professional Nursing Role
- Family and Community Health Concepts
- Health Concepts for Adults with Complex Care Needs
- Integrated Concepts in Nursing Practice
- Nursing Management and Human Resources
- Organization and Administration for the Nurse Manager
For the clinical hours required of RN to BSN programs, RNs have the opportunity to choose clinical facilities close to home. Just a few of the participating hospitals and medical centers in Pennsylvania include, but are not limited to:
- Altoona Regional Health system
- Lewistown Hospital
- Mount Nittany Medical Center
- Penn state Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Pennsylvania Hospitals Supporting Enrollment in RN to BSN Programs
There are many hospitals throughout Pennsylvania that are supporting their employed RNs in their pursuit of bachelor’s-level education, offering flexible schedules and tuition assistance. Just a few examples of the many Pennsylvania hospitals offering these benefits include the following.
Penn Presbyterian Medical Center – Philadelphia
This Magnet Recognizes medical center is also known for making it onto U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Hospitals Honor Roll” of 2015-2015, and Truven Health Analytics “100 Top Hospitals” 2014. Penn Presbyterian has become a leading innovator in cutting-edge nursing care by offering all nurses tuition assistance, including up to $8,000 per calendar year for tuition.
Lehigh Valley Hospital – Allentown
Lehigh Valley Hospital is the largest employer in the region, with over 13,000 employees. Lehigh Valley is dedicated to always striving to learn better practices for patient care, conducting ongoing research and clinical trials regarding cancer, pediatrics, neurology, and more. In that, Lehigh Valley supports RNs who decide to enroll in RN to BSN programs by providing flexible scheduling options, a summers-off program, on-site education programs, and tuition reimbursement.
Thomas Jefferson University Hospital – Philadelphia
The Jefferson University Hospitals are dedicated to healthcare excellence, as shown by their Magnet Recognition. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital reached Magnet Recognition by having some of the best care in nursing throughout the U.S., and to achieve that level of excellence, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital offers an incredibly competitive benefits program, including time-off options, tuition reimbursement, and continuing education.
For a few more of Pennsylvania’s top hospitals that support RNs enrolling in RN to BSN programs, consider the following:
- Magee-Womens Hospital of UPCM – Pittsburgh
- Hahnemann University Hospital – Philadelphia
- Lankenau Medical Center – Wynnewood