I graduated with my associates in nursing in 1997. During my program, I don’t really remember a lot of encouragement to go on for my BSN. It was suggested, and a sister school was recommended. I remember thinking that I only needed to do it if I was aspiring to more than basic direct patient care. I wasn’t interested in management and I’m still not. I had considered certified nurse midwife for a while, but it felt like a pipe dream because my life was too busy, or so I thought. As the years went by, I was content to just keep doing what I was doing and my ADN was fine for that. More years went by; 18 to be exact. It became something that was terrifying to me because it had been so long since I’d been a student. There was no way I’d be able to do that again. But then something happened. I was asked to be a preceptor at work. I really liked it. Then, I started being asked to take students on clinical. I REALLY liked that. I slowly began to see that I had a gift for teaching and I also happened to love doing it. So I began the arduous process of researching the best way for me to become a nurse educator. It took me about six months to settle on a learning path and location. I knew it needed to be all online because my work schedule would not allow me to attend regular lectures. I also needed a school that wasn’t going to require that I retake any classes because they’d outdated. After all, some of my classes, like Algebra, were 25 years old and I sure didn’t want to take that again! I also needed something that would not completely break my bank. Fort Hays State University met all of my requirements.
I started classes in the summer term of 2015. I took 7 hours that summer, 12 hours each of the next three regular semesters, a 3 hour intersession course, and 5 hours the following summer. I am currently taking my last 9 hours and plan to graduate with my BSN in December. All total, it will have taken me 18 months to complete my BSN. I had several prerequisites I was missing that many other people probably wouldn’t have to take. It adds up to a total of 15 hours of non-nursing courses plus statistics and pathophysiology that may have been obtained in an associates program other than mine. This means that a person could complete the program in 12 months.
I admit, I went into this thinking that getting my BSN was simply a necessary stepping stone to obtaining my MSN. I’d been a nurse for 18 years and I believe I’m a very good nurse. What could I possibly learn? Boy was I surprised! Yes, I was annoyed at the class that focused on why obtaining a BSN was so important. I seemed to heavily push the idea that ADNs were not good enough. That can be very hurtful to someone who has been a very effective RN with an ADN. I still believe that the approach in this class could be softened a bit, but I eventually came to understand the rational behind the message. I do believe I am a better nurse for having gone through these classes. I am more critical of research I read with the back ground knowledge telling me how to judge the quality of the research. I have a deeper understanding of what it is to be a nurse leader and why it falls to each of us as RNs to step up and be leaders. I learned a lot about legal aspects of nursing and how actions I thought would protect me from a lawsuit aren’t actually protection at all. I also came to understand how important it is to be involved in nursing legislation. Finally, I gained an understanding of the importance of professional organization membership. My practice has changed some during my time of pursuing my BSN. What has been completely made over is my understanding of my role in nursing, both for my patients and my colleagues. I realize now that having a BSN should be foundational for all of nursing practice, even if one has no goals of obtaining an advanced degree.
Here’s a link to get you started in looking at schools in Kansas that offer an RN to BSN program. If you’ve been considering it, do it! You will not regret it!