On Dec. 20, the University of Rhode Island (URI) College of Nursing graduated 20 students from its online RN to BSN program. These students are “pioneers of a sort” as they were the first to graduate from the program which is the only online RN to BSN program in the state offered by a public university.
After the release of a 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report recommending that 80 percent of nurses nationwide hold bachelor’s degree by 2020, there has been an increase in RN to BSN programs across the country. The IOM report included research indicating that patients have better outcomes when cared for by a nurse with a bachelor’s degree.
RN to BSN programs are designed to accommodate professional nurses who want to pursue bachelor’s degrees while still working. URI’s online program complements the traditional face-to-face RN to BSN program by allowing students to participate on their own schedule. The program includes intense courses that are covered in 7 weeks rather than the usual 13 week semester. Students are required to complete six nursing courses, statistics, pharmacology, and a public health practicum.
URI’s online RN to BSN program started in Fall 2015 with 30 students and now enrolls over 450 students from all over the country. The program is expected to continue growing as another 35 graduate this coming May.