The Institute of Medicine (IOM) launched an initiative in 2010 calling for higher academic standards for nurses. One of the goals of the initiative is to have 80% of the nursing workforce educated with a baccalaureate degree by the year 2020. Since then states across the country, including South Carolina have begun looking at ways to put this recommendation into practice. The South Carolina Legislature in partnership with the South Carolina State Board of Nursing is likely to eventually amend the Nurse Practice Act upon reviewing minimum standards of nursing licensure as more ground is gained in the push to establish the BSN as the new entry-level standard.
The demand for baccalaureate-prepared nurses in South Carolina continues to grow as hospital systems strive to reduce the rates of infection and deliver patient care that results in the best outcomes. As more and more new nurses enter the field, hospitals are looking to existing RNs to pursue BSN progression programs so as to be qualified to assume leadership roles. Internal advancement is almost always favorable to hiring new nurses for these positions.
As an example, in February 2015, these hospitals were among many to advertise for BSN-educated RNs to fill specialized roles:
- Clinical Services Director – South Carolina Fundamental Clinical & Operational Services, LLC, Columbia
- Patient Care Coordinator – Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Charleston
In fact, hospitals throughout South Carolina are beginning to implement the new BSN-minimum standard. Recently, Spartanburg Regional Health Care System announced that its nurses with associate degrees would have to attain a BSN by 2018 or risk losing their jobs.
The state of South Carolina offers a variety of nursing scholarships to help ease the financial burden of RN progression programs that result in a BSN. The South Carolina Nurses Foundation has compiled a comprehensive list of available scholarships on its website. Among these is the Palmetto Gold Undergraduate Scholarship, which as awarded more than $230,000 in scholarships over an 11-year period.
Enrolling in an RN to BSN Program in South Carolina
Obtaining a BSN degree now will help ensure job security and advancement in the future as employer requirements become more stringent.
Today it has become easier than ever to enroll in an RN to BSN program in South Carolina. Most schools offer distance learning programs that are flexible and allow students to complete coursework entirely online.
South Carolina Board of Nursing approved RN-BSN programs include online programs as well as campus-based programs offered through schools in the following cities:
South Carolina’s nursing schools generally require the following prerequisites to be met before enrolling in an RN to BSN program:
- A minimum 2.75 GPA on a 4.0 scale is required for all applicants.
- All required science courses must be completed successfully within the last 10 years.
- All prerequisites courses with a grade C or better must be completed before enrollment.
- Only one required nursing or science course can be repeated to receive a C or higher.
Requirements may vary from institution to institution and should be verified before beginning the enrollment process.
Components of RN to BSN Programs in South Carolina
Students can choose from online or traditional classroom settings to pursue the BSN. A typical upper level curriculum found within an RN-BSN program would include the following courses:
- Foundations of Nursing Practice
- Nursing Care of the Older Adult
- Clinical Reasoning
- Chemical Therapeutics
- Evidence-based Nursing Practice
- Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing
- Acute Care Nursing of Adults I & II
- Maternal/Newborn Nursing
- Nursing of Children and Families
- Nursing Leadership and Management
- Family and Community Health Nursing
- Senior Nursing Capstone Practicum
Some technical and two-year colleges in South Carolina have agreements with colleges offering a BSN so that course requirements are transferable when beginning a BSN program. Virtual clinics are offered at certain establishments, keeping the entire BSN program online for the student.
South Carolina Board of Nursing approved hospitals that accommodate clinical training include:
- Greenville Hospital System – Greenville
- Palmetto Health – Columbia
- Lexington Medical Center – Columbia
Hospital Systems Working to Make RN to BSN Programs Accessible and Affordable
Because of the shortage of highly qualified nurses throughout South Carolina, some hospitals offer their RN incentives to pursue an RN to BSN program, as well as to ensure the highest quality care is being made available to patients. Just a few of the many examples include:
Roper St. Francis
With locations in Charleston and Mount Pleasant, Roper St. Francis offers its own tuition reimbursement scholarship program for individuals interested in advancing their careers. It also offers a program called The Nursing Pipeline which has recent nursing graduates working under the guidance of a Clinical Coach-Registered Nurse throughout their entire orientation or internship, enhancing learned clinical skills.
East Cooper Medical Center
East Cooper Medical Center believes in recognizing and retaining its staff by offering the opportunity to pursue higher education through online educational programs, student loan repayment programs and tuition reimbursement.
Greenville Health Systems
Greenville Health Systems offers innovative teaching models and learning opportunities to attract nurses. Tuition reimbursement is among its many benefits and it offers additional scholarships from time to time.