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Questions to Consider: RN to BSN Degree Online

Questions to Consider: RN to BSN Degree Online

Nursing is one of the fastest-growing professions in healthcare, but a specific group of RNs has a distinct advantage when it comes to jobs and promotions: RNs who have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are more heavily recruited than nurses trained in associate degree or diploma programs.

Research by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing indicates that 86% of employers prefer to hire BSN-prepared RNs. Competition for the best jobs is also tighter for ADN- and diploma-trained nurses as a result, because 64% of RNs already have their BSN degree.

If you've been looking at RN to BSN programs and thinking about getting your bachelor's degree, now is an excellent time to take this important step in your career. The advanced nursing knowledge and new practical skills you gain with a BSN will complement your professional experience. Training in research, leadership and community-based nursing can also expand your future job options.

Whether you want a BSN to enhance your nursing practice, raise your professional profile or meet an education requirement at work, studying online is a terrific option. The links below provide a wealth of information about the RN to BSN degree, and the process of earning it online.

What Is an RN to BSN Degree?

ADN to BSN bridge program

The RN to BSN degree is for licensed RNs who have already completed an ADN or diploma program. Coursework builds on the fundamental nursing knowledge and clinical skills RNs must have for their initial licensure, without repeating what they already know. Nurses also gain knowledge in research, leadership and other areas of healthcare that can advance their careers.

Online RN to BSN programs are tailored to the needs of working nurses, providing them a streamlined path to a bachelor's degree. Accelerated degree programs such as can also help busy nurses finish faster. Motivated EMU nursing students can complete their BSN in as little as a year.

What Are the Advantages of Having a BSN?

Advantages of a BSN

The BSN can have a career-changing effect for nurses who earn it, unlocking pay raises and promotions, and opening the door to management and leadership roles.

BSN RNs are also recruited by hospitals and healthcare systems at a much higher rate than nurses without a four-year degree. This means they have increased opportunity for signing bonuses and other hiring incentives.

Your experience and the quality of care you provide will always influence your earnings too, of course, and the BSN benefits nurses in this way as well. The advanced knowledge and research skills you gain by earning a BSN and the evidence-based practice experience you get can transform your nursing practice.

Whether you choose to work at the bedside, as a nurse leader, or in a management role after graduation, BSN-level training prepares you for success.

What Can I Learn in An Online RN to BSN Program?

The BSN curriculum is designed to advance working RNs in two important ways. You'll receive an advanced education in areas of daily nursing such as assessment and care planning that pairs your experience at the bedside with new knowledge you can use to help your patients. You'll also develop a more diverse skill set in areas such as research, management and advocacy that can help you see where your nursing talents fit together, allowing you to pursue new avenues in your career.

Stephanie Jensen Pelarski, 2019 EMU RN to BSN graduate and surgical intensive care nurse
The [online EMU RN to BSN] program has taught me how to research, and what the current research says in regard to current nursing practice.

Will BSN Courses Cover Information I Already Know?

If you're concerned about repeating some material covered in your previous nursing education, don't worry. RN to BSN coursework explores new territory.

You will probably be familiar with some of the terms and scenarios discussed in class, which is good because it means you can hit the ground running. BSN professors are more focused on teaching new concepts, however, and you'll also get a different kind of practice experience.

What you can learn and discover about nursing on your way to a bachelor's degree will add to your knowledge and enrich your practice. It may even change the course of your career. You may find you have a passion for research or decide to explore other new avenues in nursing.

What Kinds of Courses Will I Take in an RN to BSN Program?

BSN coursework strengthens each RN's capacity to anticipate issues, analyze information and collaborate with others in support of patients. Core nursing courses at Eastern Michigan emphasize the importance of these primary skills as well as communication in healthcare settings.

Online RN to BSN students at EMU complete 30 credit hours in nursing, including a capstone seminar at the end that offers practice experience. All students take the following courses:

  • Reading & Writing in Nursing Studies
  • Health Assessment for RNs
  • RN Essentials of Professional Nursing Practice: The Professional Role
  • RN Essentials of Professional Nursing Practice: Nurse as Advocate
  • Nursing Research Concepts for Practice
  • Community-Based Nursing for RNs
  • RN Essentials of Professional Nursing Practice: Nurse as Leader

You'll also choose two electives that match your interests. You might study national, global or environmental health for instance. Or you can focus on professional development and study nursing management or quality improvement. You can even learn about disaster preparation, human trafficking and terrorism response, among other specialized topics.

Do I Have to Finish All of My General Education Requirements First?

Take gen ed courses at the same time as your BSN courses

RN to BSN programs differ on this question, so it's best to contact the schools you're considering about their policy. Many programs do expect RNs to have a certain number of course credits under their belt before they apply, but if you're a few shy of where you need to be it's easy to take care of.

You can choose where you earn those extra credits, and sometimes it is cheaper to get them out of the way before you apply. For instance, if you'll be attending an expensive college or university it may be more cost-effective to take gen ed courses at a community college. However, you also have to make sure those courses will transfer in to your new nursing school.

You can take any remaining general education courses you need online at EMU while you are earning your BSN. You'll even pay the same low tuition rate as you do for RN to BSN courses.

Are Online Colleges Accredited?

Look for CCNE accreditation

Most colleges and universities offering an online RN to BSN degree are accredited, but not all. For-profit schools aren't always accredited for instance, and that's a red flag. A degree from an accredited nursing program is sometimes required to work in many healthcare settings or to meet admission requirements for a master's degree program.

EMU's online RN to BSN program is accredited by the Commission on College Nursing Education (CCNE).

Why Do Employers Care About Nursing School Accreditation?

Because they know that accredited RN to BSN programs provide students the comprehensive education required for this demanding field. Accreditation tells employers that your BSN training is thorough, relevant and aligned with current professional standards.

Does Accreditation Have Other Benefits for Students?

benefits of accreditation

Definitely. There are many ways nursing school accreditation benefits you as an RN to BSN student. According to Education Dive, federal accreditation standards are being stepped up in the wake of abrupt for-profit college and trade school closures in recent years. As The Chronicle of Higher Education notes, these safeguards are needed to ensure students don't end up losing time, money and course credits when a school fails.

When accreditors evaluate a degree program, they also look out for students academically. They confirm that professors are qualified for the courses they teach, and that the curriculum is appropriate. They measure program quality by other standards as well, including graduation rates and the number of graduates finding jobs in their degree field.

Does Accreditation Affect Financial Aid?

Yes, financial aid is tied to your school's accreditation status. Federal and state aid — including grants, loans and scholarship funds — is only available to students enrolled in an accredited school or degree program.

How Can I Verify That My RN to BSN Program Is Accredited?

The U.S. Department of Education has an easy search tool called the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP) that you can use to check a school's accreditation by campus. For nursing programs, you can also search the databases at CCNE and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Learn more about our RN to BSN online program

I've Already Done Clinicals for My RN. Isn't Practice Experience the Same Thing?

No. The practice experience you'll get in an RN to BSN program is different than the clinical hours and rotations required for your initial RN licensure. Practice experience is meant to build on your current knowledge, so you won't be repeating a process you've already been through.

The best part is that in an RN to BSN program, you have more flexibility. You can often design a practice experience around a project you'd like to do or a community you want to serve.

How Does Practice Experience Work in an Online RN to BSN Program?

Practice experiences in the workplace

Each school has different requirements and guidelines, but practice experiences for the BSN degree give you the chance to explore a specific area of nursing that meets your interests. Practice experiences at EMU are population-focused, meaning they address patients and their health needs or issues. This allows online RN to BSN students to initiate projects that look at health and wellness from a variety of angles.

You might do a demographic study on rates of disease in a local community, for example, or intern with a nurse manager in a care unit you haven't worked in before. Practice experience can also function as a laboratory for innovative ideas. You could study patient outcomes in a specific care setting and create a new safety process, evaluation instrument or care coordination tool to improve them.

Where Can I Do My Practice Experience?

Most online RN to BSN programs don't require students to travel to the college or university for practice experience. You should be able to fulfill this requirement in your own community, as long as your supervising professor agrees to your site and preceptor.

Is There an Hours Requirement?

Some RN to BSN programs require a standard number of practice experience hours, and others do not. Check with programs you are interested in to learn more.

There is no hourly requirement at EMU. Instead, online RN to BSN students complete a capstone course at the end of the degree program, where they design their own practice experience. Professors and preceptors help students reach BSN-level proficiency in nursing by applying the skills and concepts they've learned.

Can My Current Boss Be My Preceptor?

Clinical experiences are meant to be a different learning experience and environment

Many RN to BSN programs will not approve a preceptor that currently supervises your work or any kind of practice experience that overlaps your current job duties. One reason is because nursing programs must meet accreditation standards for student practice experiences, which require that students apply BSN-level knowledge and gain a different type of nursing experience than they've already had. You may, however, be able to complete the requirements in your hospital, but in a different unit.

Practice experience oversight for EMU online RN to BSN students must be conducted by a preceptor that is different than their current work supervisor.

How Soon Can I Begin an Online RN to BSN Program?

Many online RN to BSN programs accept applications year-round. Once you're accepted, you can usually begin taking courses in a matter of weeks. With online learning, there's no waiting out a long semester or until the start of a new school year.

EMU's online RN to BSN program has six start dates each year, and the is a snap.

What Will I Need to Apply to an RN to BSN Program?

RN to BSN admission checklist

Every RN to BSN program has its own admissions process, and requirements can vary. It's best to contact programs directly to be sure you have the most up-to-date information.

At minimum, count on filling out an application (and paying a fee when you submit it). You'll need to provide proof of graduation from an ADN or diploma program, and you must show that you have an active RN license. Official transcripts documenting your previous undergraduate coursework and GPA are required as well.

EMU's admissions process is streamlined for nurses entering the RN to BSN program. There are only two additional requirements other than those listed above. You must be accepted to EMU as an undergraduate and have a 2.5 GPA.

How Many Transfer Credits Can I Apply to the Degree?

Transfer assistance for Michigan and Ohio residents

It all depends on transfer policies at your college or university. Most schools limit the total number of transfer hours they will accept, but that number can be high or low.

EMU's transfer policies are generous and focused on helping students receive the most credit possible for their previous coursework. The university even provides online transfer guides and tools to help Michigan and Ohio students match their old courses to a new degree plan. Contact an online RN to BSN admissions counselor to learn more.

Do I Have to Take My Prerequisites Before I Can Take BSN Courses?

At many schools, yes. At EMU, no.

If you have math, science, history or other general education courses you still need complete a bachelor's degree, it's not a problem. You can begin the RN to BSN program immediately, and complete the extra classes you need as you go.

Will I Have to Take Statistics?

EMU does not require online RN to BSN students to take statistics, but many other programs do. Check with the nursing schools you are interested in to verify their policy.

What's the Career Outlook for BSN RNs?

In a word, outstanding. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that registered nursing will grow at a rate double that of all other occupations through 2026, at 15%. BLS reports that demand for RNs will continue to increase as the population ages and more nurses reach retirement age. The prevalence of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and arthritis as well as progressive diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's will also drive higher need for RNs.

Projected 16% job growth for BSN RNs

Burning Glass Technologies predicts even higher job growth for BSN RNs in particular through 2026, at 16% based on nationwide job market data. Demand for BSN-prepared nurses in emergency and intensive care is most acute according to the job data analytics firm, but there is also great need in other types of advanced patient care and in patient education.

Whatever nursing path you are on as an RN, it's clear that having a BSN can help you succeed. It's a degree that improves your job options and career longevity.

"The BSN is valuable because you can go to whatever hospital you want. [With a BSN], you're not going to be weeded out because you only have your associate degree. So it gives you more opportunity for the future." — , 2019 EMU online RN to BSN graduate

Will My Salary Go Up With BSN?

While your experience, location and job duties also determine your earning capacity, BSN RNs do often make more than ADN- and diploma-trained nurses. ZipRecruiter salary data from May 2019 demonstrates the difference. The average salary for all RNs is $68,438 while BSN RNs are averaging $81,832 per year. Many BSN nurses earn more, however, especially when they move into leadership or management roles.

Why Do Employers Require the BSN?

Employers want BSN nurses for many reasons including better patient outcomes

Nursing education standards have been slowly changing since 2010, the year the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a groundbreaking report titled "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health." The IOM (now called the National Academy of Medicine) argued that 80% of RNs should have a BSN by 2020. Research highlighted in the report found that the more BSN-prepared nurses a hospital has, the better its patient outcomes are, and the lower its mortality rate.

As HealthLeaders media also points out, having BSN nurses on staff benefits employers too. BSN RNs contribute to lower readmission rates, better infection control, and other cost-saving innovations that can reduce risk and liability.

This is just a fraction of the mounting evidence in favor of hiring BSN-prepared nurses. Two additional years of nursing education really pays off for RNs and their patients, and it also benefits healthcare employers.

I Got Hired With an ADN. What's the Rush to Earn a BSN?

If your employer is encouraging or requiring you to get your BSN, it's understandable given the comprehensive nursing education you'll receive with a bachelor's degree. Your training can help your employer meet important patient care goals.

Working nurses can earn a BSN

Many hospitals and healthcare systems also prioritize the BSN because they are working toward Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This honor is reserved for care facilities and systems that meet the highest standards in nursing. To earn a Magnet designation, 100% of nurse managers and leaders and 80% of RNs in an organization must have a BSN or higher degree.

National nursing recruiter AMN Healthcare also argues that even employers striving to meet the 80% BSN RN goal by as late as 2030 must accelerate their efforts. AMN cites research and data models presented at the 2018 meeting of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, showing that a much stronger emphasis on BSN completion is critical for employers who want to meet the goal. Barriers to the degree should also be eliminated, AMN notes, by offering experienced nurses good tuition reimbursement and flexible study policies when they go back to school.

Which Nursing Specialties Favor BSN Nurses?

BSN RNs have the advantage when it comes to hiring and promotion in most nursing specialties, including the popular ones below. Healthcare employers rely on BSN nurses for their critical thinking skills and ability to handle complex challenges across the spectrum.

The average salaries listed for each of these specialties demonstrates the range of pay you may see across the country.

Specialty Percentage of RNs North Carolina Michigan Texas Ohio California
Acute/Critical Care 14% $69,679 $77,286 $79,760 $83,317 $89,661
Surgical 8% $70,462 $78,155 $80,656 $84,254 $90,668
Perioperative 6% $61,850 $68,602 $70,798 $73,956 $79,587
Gerontology/Geriatrics 5% $72,419 $80,326 $82,516 $86,594 $93,817
Emergency/Trauma 5% $68,113 $75,550 $77,967 $81,445 $87,646
Pediatrics 5% $55,586 $61,655 $63,628 $66,467 $71,527

Sources: Journal of Nursing Regulation (2017) and ZipRecruiter (2019)

An increasing number of hospitals require nurses applying in these specialty areas to either have a BSN or earn one as a condition of the job offer.

Learn more about our RN to BSN online program

Which Jobs in Nurse Management and Leadership Require a Bachelor's Degree?

Many types of nursing management and leadership positions now require a BSN. The degree is becoming a must for RNs who want to move up the career ladder. The examples below feature salary data from PayScale that also illustrates the financial benefits associated with earning this degree.

Position Average Salary
Infection Control Manager $75,240
Operations Manager $76,300
Assistant Nursing Manager $81,758
Occupational Health Manager $81,798
Practice Administrator $82,649
Clinical Nurse Leader $85,926
Regulatory Compliance Manager $86,100
Nursing Home Administrator $86,986
Quality Manager $87,557
Patient Care Manager< $88,354
Nurse Administrator $88,374
Healthcare Program Director $91,870
Nurse Manager - Operating Room $92,858
Clinical Project Manager $98,569

Source: PayScale, May 2019

Some high-paying leadership positions may also require a master's degree, depending on your employer or the type of healthcare system you work for. If you're considering a Master of Science in Nursing eventually, completing your BSN is the first step.

I Want to Change Careers and Become a Nurse. Do I Need a BSN?

You may be able to change your job quickly by going through an ADN or diploma program, but it's hard to build and sustain a new nursing career without a BSN. The trend toward the bachelor's degree in nursing education isn't just due to employer preference, it's also about helping nurses pursue their goals.

A bachelor's degree is the best choice for second-career RNs who also want to develop and advance in their new field and grow their scope of opportunity.

Where Do BSN RNs Have the Best Job Prospects?

Burning Glass Technologies location data for May 2018-April 2019 offers a snapshot of the ongoing demand for BSN RNs across the nation, highlighting areas where the supply of nurses is not meeting the needs of local residents.

According to the data, the following counties offer excellent opportunities for online RN to BSN graduates. Healthcare employers have more difficulty hiring qualified BSN nurses in these locations compared to other areas of the country, based on national recruiting data.

State County Key Cities Demand for BSN RNs Compared to National Average
Tennessee Shelby Memphis, Bartlett, Germantown 150% higher
North Carolina Mecklenburg Charlotte, Cornelius, Huntersville 100% higher
Georgia Fulton Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta 120% higher
Michigan Wayne Detroit, Dearborn, Livonia 100% higher
Texas Bexar San Antonio, Alamo Heights, Universal City 60% higher
Ohio Cuyahoga Cleveland, Parma, Lakewood 30% higher

Burning Glass data also reveals that employers in the following cities have higher demand than average for BSN RNs and more difficulty recruiting them:

  • Louis, Missouri (380% higher)
  • Baltimore, Maryland (230% higher)
  • Denver, Colorado (70% higher)
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (60% higher)
  • Nashville, Tennessee (50% higher)

Do BSN RNs Get Better Signing Bonuses?

Some hospitals offer incentives to BSN nurses

Many employers competing for qualified RNs are definitely using this type of incentive to attract nurses at all levels of training. BSN RNs are in the best position to benefit from signing bonuses and other recruiting perks, however. Demand for their services is substantially higher, and they are also eligible for a wider range of nursing specialty and management positions.

Some hospitals and large healthcare systems are now recruiting BSN RNs — and ADNs who will commit to earning their BSN — almost exclusively. Healthcare trade magazine STAT reports that the signing bonuses for those new hires continue to grow as nursing shortages become more significant, ranging from $5000 to as high as $25,000.

How Much Will an RN to BSN Degree Cost Me?

Costs can vary widely between nursing schools, so it pays to do your research. A quick look at online RN to BSN tuition at institutions in Michigan and Ohio demonstrates the range students pay by credit hour and by course.

Online RN to BSN Program Classification Tuition Per Credit Hour Tuition Per Course
Eastern Michigan University Public, nonprofit $328 $984
University of Phoenix Private, for-profit $398 $1,194
Kent State University Public, nonprofit $400 $1,200
University of Michigan-Flint Public, nonprofit $456 in-state
$501 out-of-state
$1,368 in-state
$1,503 out-of-state
Grand Canyon University Private, for-profit $470 $1,410
Franklin University Private, nonprofit $526 $1,578
Kettering College Private, nonprofit $558 $1,674
Michigan State University Public, nonprofit $647.15 $1,941.45
University of Detroit-Mercy Private, nonprofit $1,080 $3,240

As you can see, private colleges and universities often cost more. Some schools also charge nursing students out-of-state tuition if they study across state lines. It's easy to tell why Eastern Michigan University's affordable online RN to BSN program is considered a value leader. You can complete all nursing course requirements for only $9,840.

Stephanie Jensen Pelarski, 2019 EMU RN to BSN graduate and surgical intensive care nurse
Price was one of the biggest selling points. I had gotten into the University of Michigan and Eastern, but University of Michigan was like $25,000 and Eastern was under $10,000. I also got grants through Eastern for being a good student in community college. Because I went to Eastern and was already working, I was able to not take out any student loans and just pay for it all.

Do Online Students Qualify for Financial Aid?

online RN to BSN students in accredited programs qualify for financial aid

Like on-campus students, online students must attend an accredited college or university to receive state and federal financial aid. Eligibility is also determined by your income and the total cost of your RN to BSN degree program. Students can qualify for grants, scholarships and loans during the financial aid award process. The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has loan and scholarship programs for students in the healthcare professions as well.

EMU students may also qualify for opportunities available through the Michigan Center for Nursing. The organization maintains a scholarship list just for nurses that features application deadlines and other key details. Some funding opportunities are even tied to your current RN specialty or career plans, such as the Emergency Nurses Association scholarship program.

What About Tuition Reimbursement or Loan Forgiveness?

These types of programs are available to online RN to BSN students, but each one has its own requirements. You'll usually need to be studying in an accredited degree program for tuition reimbursement. Likewise, you may need to be a graduate of an accredited program to qualify for loan forgiveness.

Check with your employer's human resources department to see whether these benefits are available at your workplace, and how you can qualify. There are also federal and state government programs designed to support nursing education in this manner.

Tuition reimbursement and student loan forgiveness options

These forms of assistance are also intended to help communities in need of healthcare professionals. That's why they often require nurses to serve in a designated healthcare shortage area for a period of time to receive program benefits.

Does the Military Pay for Online Degrees?

Yes, if you're an active duty service member or veteran, you can use benefits you've earned in any branch of the military to pay for an online degree. You can also transfer those benefits to your spouse or children to help pay their tuition.

Just make sure you (or your beneficiaries) are studying in an accredited degree program. That's a requirement.

How Long Does It Take to Go From ADN to BSN if I Go Part Time?

Go from ADN to BSN in one year

Traditional BSN programs can take part-time students more than two years to complete, but online students often finish more quickly. Accelerated degree programs like Eastern Michigan's RN to BSN online allow students to finish their nursing courses in as few as 12 months.

This option for completing your degree is tailor-made for working nurses, with short, intensive classes and a flexible schedule. It's perfect for busy professionals who can't commit to full-time study, because you can move through the BSN requirements at your own pace.

Can I Go to School and Still Work Full Time?

Yes. Online RN to BSN programs are easier for working nurses to fit school into their schedule.

Some RNs like to study between shifts, on meal breaks or in small increments during the work day. Others prefer to study on their days off, when they have larger blocks of time to get reading and assignments done. If you have kids or a house filled with family members, your favorite study time might be early mornings or late nights, when the roost is quiet. With an online nursing degree, you can do whatever works for you.

"Just do it. You're able to work, you're able to manage your family and you're able to give it time. … A term's only seven weeks, then it switches to a new path and you're able to chip away at that degree." — , 2019 EMU RN to BSN graduate

How Much Study Time Do I Need?

allow 12-15 hrs of study time per week

Although 12-15 hours is a good weekly estimate for most RN to BSN courses, you may find some classes require a little more effort or a little less. With online learning, it's easy to adjust your studies to your schedule as you go.

For every hour of course credit you take, give yourself 3-5 hours of study time per week. That includes working in your course online, and the time you spend on assigned readings, projects or other tasks.

I'm New to This, How Do Online Classes Work?

Online coursework

When you log in to a course for the first time, you'll find that it is organized to help you get started quickly. You can scan the syllabus and learning modules to easily find all the information you need on assignments, tests and deadlines.

From there, you'll simply begin working through the steps of the course outlined by your professor in each module. When you finish a paper or another assignment, just follow the instructions provided and upload your work. You can even view your grades online.

If you have questions at any point, you may email your professor directly from the portal.

Are Online Courses as Hard as On-Campus Courses?

The material you study largely dictates the difficulty of BSN courses, regardless of whether you are learning online or on campus. Professors also have their own way of presenting information, giving and grading assignments, and assessing student participation — all of which can contribute to how easy or difficult you perceive a course to be.

In any case, you should expect online courses to be just as rigorous as face-to-face courses, and online professors will be just as focused on the quality of your work.

Who Will Be Teaching My Online Courses?

Professors in online RN to BSN programs are nurses with a master's or doctoral degree. Most have extensive professional and clinical experience in healthcare. They are often part of the same nursing faculty that teaches on campus, and they are equally qualified to work with students.

Many of EMU's nursing faculty teach both online and on campus, and you'll find the curriculum and quality of education is the same in each learning format.

Will I Work With Other Students in My Online Class or By Myself?

Work with other students online

You'll do both. In each course module, you should have readings to complete, course lectures or other material to watch, and an assignment or two. While most of your work can be done solo, certain elements of each course require you to interact with your classmates.

For instance, if your professor asks you to respond to the weekly reading on the discussion board, you may end up in a lively conversation there with your peers. If you're assigned a group research project, you might work with classmates via email and video chat to gather data and report results.

In online nursing courses, there are many creative ways to work together (and alone) as you learn the material. You might even make some new friends on the road to earning your BSN.

I Might Be a Little Older Than My Online Classmates, Is That Okay?

Diverse nurses work together for the good of their patients

Absolutely. One of the best things about online RN to BSN courses is that students from all age groups and nursing backgrounds are working toward the same goal. They have the opportunity to learn from each other as well by sharing knowledge and experiences.

Early-career nurses often value having the perspective of a seasoned RN during discussions, research and group projects. Likewise, many mature RNs appreciate the collaborative spirit and advanced tech skills of nursing's latest generation. When a diverse cohort of BSN students interact and work together, they can create common best practices in nursing that will benefit their patients most of all.

Is a Computer Required to Take Online Courses?

It's always best to check with the RN to BSN programs you're considering, because their technology guidelines and requirements will vary. Having access to a laptop or desktop computer (Mac or PC) is always preferable, but that doesn't mean you can't use your mobile device for some activities.

Some students use tablets or phones to access BSN courses, chat with professors and read the textbooks. But you may find you can't do everything on those devices or that you don't want to. Writing papers, for instance, is almost impossible on a phone.

Do I Need A Certain Internet Speed or Special Software?

Your internet connection needs be reliable and fast enough to stream video and audio without delays. It's also best to have the latest version of your web browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.).

Technology required for Rn to BSN online courses

The computer or other device you use to access your courses and complete assignments should also be able to handle:

  • Email, messaging and live chat
  • Word processing and spreadsheets
  • PDF files and document sharing
  • Local file storage and/or cloud storage
  • Presentations (creating slide shows and videos)

Consult your online RN to BSN program for any additional requirements.

Is There Tech Support If I Have a Problem?

Yes. EMU and other schools that offer 100% online RN to BSN programs also provide tech support. If you experience a problem with an online course at EMU, 24-hour support is available by calling 844-326-6322 or emailing The IT Help Desk also assists EMU students with email issues and provides self-study tutorials on computer security and other topics.

Can Online Students Get Writing Help?

Campus writing centers are the go-to source for most online students who need help with papers. Many colleges and universities offer this service, including Eastern Michigan. The University Writing Center provides EMU nursing students with written feedback 24-48 hours after their paper or writing assignment is uploaded to the online portal.

Can I Use the University Library Online?

In most cases, you can. Colleges and universities of all sizes now share their library collections online. Many even have resources tailor-made for students who need to study when the library is closed.

EMU's Halle Library has a number of helpful resources for online students that are available 24/7. They include the searchable library catalog, journal and periodical databases, 10 interactive research tutorials, and the live chat service Ask a Librarian.

Learn more about our RN to BSN online program!


American Association of Colleges of Nursing:
Degree Completion Programs for Registered Nurses: RN to Master's Degree and RN to Baccalaureate Programs
The Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing as the Minimal Preparation for Professional Practice
The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice
Your Nursing Career: A Look at the Facts

Eastern Michigan University:
RN to BSN Online
Undergraduate Admissions
Transfer Admissions
Help Desk FAQs
University Writing Center
Halle Library
Library Tutorials
Ask a Librarian

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Measuring the Value of an Education
Occupational Outlook Handbook: Registered Nurses

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education:
CCNE Accreditation
Accredited Baccalaureate & Graduate Nursing Programs
Clinical Practice Experiences FAQs

Education Dive:
Ed Dept: New Accreditation Rules Will Be 'More Aggressive' to Prevent Abrupt College Closures
How Many Colleges and Universities Have Closed Since 2016?

The Chronicle of Higher Education: How America's College-Closure Crisis Leaves Families Devastated

U.S. Department of Education:
Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs
Federal Student Aid: How to Repay Your Loans: Forgiveness, Cancellation, and Discharge

Accreditation Commission on Education in Nursing: Search ACEN Accredited Nursing Programs

Burning Glass Technologies, May 2019 (reports by state)

Average Salary of RN BSN Jobs
Average ICU Registered Nurse Salary by State
Average Geriatric Nurse Salary by State
Average Pediatric Registered Nurse Salary by State
Operating Room Registered Nurse Salary by State
Emergency Room Nurse Salary by State
Average Perioperative Nurse Salary by State
Average Salary of BSN RNs by State

The National Academy of Medicine:
About the National Academy of Medicine
The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health

How Educated Nurses Save Hospitals Money
Nurses Recognized for Patient and Workplace Safety Achievements

American Nurses Credentialing Center: ANCC Magnet Recognition Program

AMN Healthcare: BSNs in the Nursing Workforce: How to Get from Here to 80% There

American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE)

Journal of Nursing Regulation: 2017 National Nursing Workforce Survey

PayScale: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree

STAT: 'Whatever It Takes': Hospitals Get Creative in Hiring Nurses Amid a National Shortage

U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration:
HRSA Health Workforce: School-Based Loans and Scholarships
Nurse Corps
National Health Service Corps

Michigan Center for Nursing: Scholarships

Emergency Nurses Association: Scholarships

Indian Health Service: Loan Repayment Program

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services: Michigan State Loan Repayment Program Overview

U.S. World & News Report: What Nurses Need to Know About Student Loan Forgiveness

U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs: Education and Training Benefits