With the growing popularity of distance education programs, many institutions have begun offering the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) for RNs online. Course work is completed through online classes, usually at the student’s pace but within a specific time frame.
An arrangement for the clinical portion of the curriculum is often made with a facility in proximity to the student’s home. No accredited B.S.N. program allows students to complete clinical work online.
For busy RNs who continue to work while advancing their education, enrolling in an online B.S.N. program can be a convenient option. Online classes are most often set up much like a traditional class, with lectures, discussions, and assignments. Most have their own Web site, where students can download lecture notes and assignments and chat with other students.
Sometimes an instructor might schedule a mandatory online chat so that all students can engage in a discussion simultaneously. Students send their homework to the instructor via e-mail. In some classes, course work replaces exams; in others, students take tests online or at a designated location under the supervision of a proctor.
Most programs do not require students to live on campus, although a short visit, such as for an orientation, may be necessary. Students generally take six to eight weeks to complete a course.
Facilities and personnel normally available to on-campus students are usually extended to online students as well. For example, off-campus students can borrow books from the library, and advisers help online students plan a course of study and answer questions.
Most B.S.N. programs require students to complete around 120 credits. RNs can earn credit for previous education and work experience, which can reduce the time it takes to earn the degree.
Prerequisites vary depending on the program, but in general, nursing students should have a high school diploma, an associate degree or diploma from an accredited nursing program, and current RN licensure. A background in mathematics and science is helpful.