By Ashley Barker
Published July 8, 2014
Beginning in the fall, the Medical University of South Carolina will offer an online program through which registered nurses can obtain a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
The RN-to-BSN program has been approved by the S.C. Commission on Higher Education. To graduate, students must complete 10 courses, which can be done in an academic year consisting of three full-time semesters, according to a news release.
MUSC’s College of Nursing will offer an online RN-to-BSN program beginning in the fall. (Photo/Ashley Barker)
“This is an exciting time as we embark on new endeavors to advance our nurses professionally,” Gail Stuart, dean of MUSC’s College of Nursing, said in a statement. “With changes in health care, we need a nursing workforce that is continually growing, learning and assuming new roles in patient care; we want to ensure that our nurses are in optimal positions to deliver on the new expectations and demands of our evolving health care system.”
The program is being introduced to increase the number of nurses who have the level of education that will likely be needed in the future, the release said.
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation committee issued a report in 2008, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” (.pdf), which recommended increasing the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degrees to 80% by 2020. At the time, about 50% of nurses in the country had bachelor’s degrees.
“Health care organizations should encourage nurses with associate and diploma degrees to enter baccalaureate nursing programs within five years of graduation by offering tuition reimbursement, creating a culture that fosters continuing education and providing a salary differential and promotion,” the foundation’s report said.
It also recommended doubling the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020 by ensuring that at least 10% of all bachelor’s degree graduates enroll in a master’s or doctoral program within five years of graduation.
“Shortages of nurses in the positions of primary care providers, faculty and researchers continue to be a barrier to advancing the profession and improving the delivery of care to patients,” the report said. “To respond to these demands of an evolving health care system and meet the changing needs of patients, nurses must achieve higher levels of education and training.”
Applications for the RN-to-BSN program at MUSC are being accepted online through July 15. MUSC’s College of Nursing educates about 450 students each year in its bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs.
Reach staff writer Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker on Twitter.