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Understanding Online RN to BSN Programs for Military Service Members

As part of a nationwide move to improve patient care, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) — renamed National Academy of Medicine (NAM) in 2015 — recommended that the healthcare system increase the proportion of nurses with Bachelor of Science (BSN) degrees to 80 percent by 2020. Many hospitals have responded to the initiative by mandating their ADN- and diploma-prepared nurses to earn a BSN within a set period of time and requiring new hires to have a BSN at a minimum. Military personnel who desire to advance their careers need to know why a BSN is important, what the benefits of obtaining a BSN are, and how to find the best RN to BSN program.

Why Is There an RN to BSN Mandate?

The NAM made its recommendations so nurses could keep up with an evolving medical system. With an aging population and an increase in chronic conditions among patients, there is a need for nurses to have higher levels of education. Studies have demonstrated that hospitals employing more nurses with a BSN have better patient outcomes. This is important in civilian and military practice alike. The military requires all of its nurses to have a BSN. RNs with associate degrees who are currently serving as medics, corpsmen or in other roles and who want to serve as military nurses can find great benefit in online RN to BSN programs.

What Are the Benefits of an Online RN to BSN Program?

For current ADNs in active duty, reserves or National Guard, earning a BSN provides a great deal of advancement opportunities. Pursuing an RN to BSN online allows military personnel to continue with studies even if they are deployed or transferred. The coursework is 100 percent online with any clinical practice requirements being completed on the job or in the student's local community. Nurses with a BSN have the tools they need to practice in a broad array of healthcare settings, including critical care, mental health and public health. With a BSN, a nurse in the military has greater opportunity for advancement in the ranks as an officer. The Army, Navy and Air Force require nurses to complete officer training as part of the nursing corps admissions.

Choosing an RN to BSN Online Program

Online RN to BSN programs provide great flexibility for military personnel and those interested in becoming a military nurse. These degree programs allow students to continue studies from anywhere their job may take them. When contemplating program options, a prospective student will need to evaluate the course load, time allowed to complete the degree, admission requirements, accreditation, tuition costs and opportunities for military financial aid. If the service member is stationed overseas, an all-online program is essential.

Pursuing a BSN opens a broad range of practice and advancement opportunities within the military.

Learn more about the University of West Florida’s RN to BSN Online program.


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

The JAMA Network: Educational Levels of Hospital Nurses and Surgical Patient Mortality
Nursing: Is military nursing for you?

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