4 questions students ask before starting an RN to BS program

UB laptop.

-By Roberta Angielczyk, RN to BS student

Considering going back to school to earn your bachelor's degree in nursing, but have some questions? You're not alone!  

Here are four questions (and answers) to some of the most frequent questions about an RN to BS program.

1. How is an RN to BS program different from an associate degree in nursing program?

Associate degree nursing programs typically consist of microbiology, anatomy, nursing foundation courses, basic nursing skills application and some clinical training. An RN to BS program naturally builds on the content you learned in your associate program and expands your skills and knowledge as a practicing RN. The curriculum includes clinical reasoning for safety and quality improvement, ethics, health promotion, research methods and leadership.

2. What can you do to help to fund your RN to BS degree?

Apply for scholarships right away. There are many third-party scholarships available online, which you can find by doing a thorough internet search. You may also want to check with your employer for any tuition reimbursement opportunities, as many employers offer incentives to return for your bachelor's degree. 

You should also check scholarship opportunities within your nursing program or university. To learn what you're eligible for at UB, check out UB SON's scholarship opportunities on the website. This page encompasses different types of available scholarship opportunities for UB nursing students. After you receive your login name and password, submit a general application through the UB scholarship portal. That way, you will be automatically considered for the many donor scholarships. You should also be on the lookout for the Helene Fuld Scholarship opportunity directly administered through the School of Nursing. If selected to become a Helene Fuld Fellow, there is a volunteer requirement that can be satisfied by participating in SON events and other community opportunities. 

3. How do you decide to attend part-time or full-time?

If you feel you can balance your workload and personal and professional commitments, along with your coursework, and are looking to get it done and out of the way, the full-time option may be for you. My experience has been that the full-time course load is doable even when working full-time. The program allows for part-time and full-time status changes if you decide to change your mind or if situations arise.

If you have other responsibilities and commitments or prefer to go at a slower pace, then you can choose part-time with the option to switch to full time at a later date. I originally wanted to attend part-time because I work full-time and don't like to overwhelm myself, but I am finding that it is going along very smoothly in the full-time program.

4. What advice would you give to anyone starting the RN to BS program?

If your RN to BS program is 100% online like UB's RN to BS program, it's vital to thoroughly explore the links within each class on your school's online learning platform (UB SON uses Blackboard). Professors may embed some assignments within the course material, and some items may not show up on the overall due date calendar. Pay attention to the due dates. You may need to complete some tasks before the due dates. Learn the differences between each class syllabus and professor. Each professor has individual policies and ways of delivering content material.

Published January 26, 2021