Registered nursing continues to be a swiftly growing occupation in the State of Virginia, with recent statistics from the Virginia Employment Commission revealing that medical facilities in the state are expected to add nearly 15,000 nursing jobs in the ten-year period leading up to 2020. This many new nurses entering the workforce creates new opportunities for existing nurses to take on more clinical responsibilities and qualify for jobs in leadership positions by earning bachelor’s degrees in nursing.
It’s no secret that the movement toward increasing the number of bachelor-prepared nurses in the workforce is having a distinct effect on nurse recruitment in Virginia. The Virginia Nurses Association compiled data regarding Virginia nurses in 2010 and found that the proportion of new graduate hires with a BSN or higher was 50 percent in 2010.
The Virginia Nurses Association is part of a state-led project entitled, Partnerships for Progression: Inspiration for Aspirations, which has a mission to create partnerships that help Virginia nurses pursue a “seamless transition” from an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
A 2012 survey by project leaders that was conducted using a group of nursing students currently enrolled in a BSN progression program revealed that a number of factors motivated nurses to pursue a BSN degree:
- Personal love of learning
- Opportunity to pursue a graduate degree
- Opportunity to pursue a clinical position
- Opportunity for higher pay
- Opportunity for more clinical responsibility
- Opportunity to pursue an administrative position
RN to BSN Degree Programs in Virginia
The Virginia Nurses Association, in conjunction with state hospitals and other healthcare settings, as well as national organizations such as the Educational Advancement of Registered Nurses, encourages RNs in Virginia to pursue a BSN.
Recent studies have shown that the coordination of care, chronic care management, and the cost of care all improve as nurse education increases.
Partnerships for Progression: Inspiration for Aspirations maintains a Virginia RN-SBN Directory to provide RNs with convenient access to programs in Virginia that offer these BSN progression programs.
There are currently 23 RN to BSN programs offered at campuses in Virginia in cities such as:
- Virginia Beach
- Glen Allen
- Falls Church
Although admission requirements vary from one program to the next, in general candidates must:
- Possess an ADN in Nursing
- Have graduated with a 2.0 GPA in all nursing courses
- Possess a current RN license
- Be currently employed in the nursing field
General education course requirements in an RN to BSN program often include:
- Information Literacy
- Lower-level sciences, including:
- Anatomy and physiology
Lower and upper division nursing credit requirements, many of which may serve as prerequisites for MSN programs, typically include:
- Health assessment and interpersonal communication
- Transition to professional nursing
- Gerontological nursing
- Transcultural nursing
- Nursing research
- Nursing leadership and management
- Nursing in the community
- RN capstone course
Many programs are offered online, a number of programs are offered on a part-time basis and/or accelerated basis.
Hospital Incentives for ADN Nurses Pursuing BSN Degrees
With a focus on encouraging ADN nurses to pursue their BSN, many hospital systems now offer financial support in the form of tuition reimbursement, and flexible scheduling. A number of hospitals in Virginia also offer scholarships to RNs who want to earn their BSN.
Virginia Hospital Center, Arlington
The Virginia Hospital Center’s Nursing Student Scholarship Program is designed to support nurses who are committed to working for at least two years in a full-time status upon graduation. Up to $5,000 in tuition reimbursement is to be awarded in the 2015-16 academic year for nurses who are entering their junior or senior year of a BSN degree and full-time nursing students in an accredited associate degree are eligible to apply.
Inova Health System, Fairfax, Alexandria
The Inova Health System provides lifelong learning opportunities for its nurses through the Inova Learning Network, an in-house education department, nurse externships, and nurse fellowships.
Inova also offers scholarships for nurses, including the Inova Nursing Excellence Scholarship, which is awarded to nurses who are enrolled in an accredited BSN program. Up to $5,000 is awarded for this program.
Sentara Healthcare, Norfolk
Sentara Healthcare is the largest, integrated healthcare providers in the region, consisting of 7 hospitals and serving more than 2 million residents. Sentara Healthcare invests in the development of its RNs through a tuition assistance program, with up to $1,300 in tuition assistance available each year.