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27 Sep 2016

‘Bridge’ Programs for Online Nursing Students

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When it comes to getting an education, nurses have many options. Some take the traditional route of completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing before they begin practice. However, others may take a less direct path. Perhaps they earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree before returning to school to get an associate’s degree in nursing. Now, they’d like to earn a Master’s in Nursing. How can they meet their academic and professional goals without completely uprooting their lives?

Bridge Programs

A nursing bridge program may be the ideal solution. These mainly online offerings are flexible, making it possible for busy professionals who work unusual schedules to study and attend “class” when it is convenient for them. With a variety of different bridge programs available, it’s easier than ever before for nurses to complete or continue their education so they can shape their dream career.

Many nurses begin practicing after earning an associate’s degree. While this degree program offers everything needed to obtain entry-level employment, many nurses often find that their options are limited. After a few years, they want to continue their education so they can enjoy better career advancement opportunities. At the same time, the idea of going back to school to earn a full bachelor’s degree before obtaining a master’s is unrealistic. They have a family to take care of and bills to pay.

That’s why these nurses may be interested in an RN to MSN bridge program. These specialized bridge programs make it possible to pursue a graduate level degree without the necessity of completing a bachelor’s in nursing, which is often a prerequisite for many traditional master’s degree programs. What makes these bridge programs special is that they cover much of the in-depth content that would normally be a part of a four-year nursing degree program, which enables students to engage with the more advanced-level content that’s required for a graduate degree.

This is why RN to MSN online bridge programs appeal to so many nurses who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or who have not earned a bachelor’s degree in any discipline. The “bridge” portion of the program provides them with the knowledge that they would have gotten in a four-year degree program, resulting in a bachelor’s degree equivalency before the student continues on to their graduate-level studies. The student may not earn a bachelor’s degree, but they will earn a master’s degree, and that is generally what makes the difference when it comes down to being considered for higher-level, better-paying nursing jobs.

Many colleges and universities offer some form of online nursing bridge program, including some that result in a bachelor’s degree. Most of these are accredited, which means that the courses have been independently reviewed for academic rigor and have met the basic requirements for providing a solid education that employers accept. Nonetheless, it’s important for applicants to proceed with caution before enrolling, particularly with regard to the state in which they plan to practice. Each state sets certification guidelines, and it’s critical that the chosen educational path is appropriate for that state. Otherwise, the student may have difficulty getting licensed.

Bridge programs for online nursing students are an effective method for quickly advancing a career. With a wealth of options available, continuing education for nurses has never been more convenient and accessible.

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