A 2014 Wyoming Department of Workforce Services report found that employers in the healthcare industry, as well as national medical and nursing organizations, are placing an increased emphasis on encouraging nurses to earn a baccalaureate degree or higher.
Despite these efforts, recent statistics from the Wyoming Workforce Development Council reveal that just 38.6 percent of RNs in Wyoming currently hold a BSN, while 46.6 currently hold an ADN or diploma.
The same report by the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services focused on the impact of job motivation and job satisfaction on nurses’ decisions to return to school. One of the most significant variables for RNs pursuing their BSN was job satisfaction, with RNs who reported higher levels of job satisfaction more likely to return to school.
A few of the factors nurses cited when considering whether to return to school to earn their BSN was the ability to work part-time, financial assistance, and having childcare readily available. Overall, 86 percent of all respondents indicated that they have given considerable thought to returning to school to enhance their careers.
The report went on to say that in order to accomplish a better educated nursing workforce, a shift in workplace dynamics is warranted. To address this issue, many employers are now offering their RN workforce incentives, such as tuition reimbursement and flexible scheduling, as to encourage them to pursue RN to BSN programs.
The Wisconsin Nurses Association (WNA), through their Legislative Agenda, promotes a number of issues that directly reflect the issues affecting the industry. Professional practice legislation considerations set forth by the WNA Legislative Agenda include requiring bachelor preparation within 10 years of graduation from an ADN program. In response to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services’ report, they also encourage legislation that would provide financial assistance opportunities for practicing nurses pursuing bachelor’s degrees.
In addition to the salary increases that often go along with earning a BSN, many RNs choose to pursue their BSN as to work in leadership or management positions, such as unit managers, nurse educators, and clinical supervisors.
RN to BSN College and University Programs in Wyoming
The summer 2013 issues of the Wyoming Nurse Reporter, in their article, “What Can a Baccalaureate Degree Do for Me?” listed a number of reasons why RNs should pursue their BSN:
- Helps them understand the importance of evidence-based practice as to make the best healthcare decisions and provide the best care
- Broadens their knowledge base and increase their understanding of healthcare
- Many employers provide scholarships and/or tuition reimbursement programs
- Provides new and innovative teaching strategies that help develop essential nursing skills
- Provides them with increased confidence and increased career possibilities
- Allows RNs to more easily advance into another degree or advanced practice nursing
There is currently just one college in Wyoming that offers an RN to BSN program, although it is common for nurses pursuing BSN programs to choose out-of-state or distance learning programs, since many of these programs are offered entirely online.
It is also typical for RN to BSN programs to cater specifically to the working RN, as part-time and accelerated programs are often available.
Prerequisites and Program Structure
The general eligibility requirements for an RN to BSN program include holding a valid and unencumbered RN license and an ADN degree. Many competitive programs also require overall minimum GPA requirements and GPA requirements for core nursing courses.
Core courses in an RN to BSN program may include:
- General psychology
- Cultural anthropology
- Sociological problems
- Social problems and issues
- Human anatomy
The nursing major component includes courses such as:
- Cultural diversity in family healthcare
- Health assessment for RNs
- Health promotion
- Evidence-based nursing practice for the RN
- Public/community health nursing
- Nursing leadership
RNs who want to eventually pursue an MSN degree often find that a number of upper-level nursing courses in a BSN program can be transferred upon entering their graduate program.
Clinical Components of an RN to BSN Program
A final practicum in an RN to BSN program usually requires a specific number of clinical hours, which are arranged with a public health agency directly related to the nurse’s practice. However, there is a number of RN to BSN programs that do not require a clinical component. In many instances, a capstone project is completed in lieu of a clinical component.
Individuals completing an online RN to BSN program must receive clinical practicum approval from the Wyoming State Board of Nursing.
Just a few of the clinical facilities in Wyoming include:
- Memorial Hospital of Converse County, Douglas
- Sheridan Memorial Hospital, Sheridan
- Wyoming Medical Center, Casper
Employers in Wyoming Facilitating Degree Progression for RNs
A number of medical institutions in Wyoming provide educational benefits to their employees who want to pursue their education. Further, some institutions also offer scholarships that are specific to RNs pursuing their BSN:
Washakie Medical Center, located in Worland, offers tuition assistance to its employees, which includes RNs looking to advance their education and achieve a BSN.
Platte County Medical Center, located in Wheatland, is committed to investing in nurses and developing their careers. Nurses with Platte County Medical Center enjoy opportunities such as tuition reimbursement and scholarships.
The Community Hospital in Torrington offers the Anthony J. Jannetti/Marriott Nursing Scholarship, which is awarded to RNs pursuing advanced degrees in nursing. Eligible RNs must be employed for at least one year and accepted into a nursing-related degree-granting program, such as an RN to BSN program. The scholarship consists of a one-time award of $1,500 and one Excellence Award of $2,500, which is awarded to one recipient.