12 Tips for Registered Nurses Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree

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Nursing is a highly competitive field. After an associate degree, passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) can get you registered early, but your prospects are still limited. Working as a registered nurse (RN) is a huge achievement on its own, but sometimes it is not enough. To climb the ladder to success, you need to take a few extra steps.

RN to BSN: Is it Worth it?

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a four-year degree program that qualifies you to take the NCLEX exam. Although a two-year associate degree can also qualify you for this, employers usually prefer a BSN over an RN. Nurses with a BSN spend more time in school and thus have more comprehensive knowledge. If you wish to upscale your nursing career, go for a BSN program. A BSN considerably increases your job prospects.

If you are skeptical about going back to school while working as a registered nurse, here are a few tips for registered nurses to help out.

1Consider Your Specialty

Look for a program that complements your personality and skills. If you work well in a high-risk and challenging environment, ICU/Emergency care might be your calling. If you are more interested in research and technology, you can opt for neurology. Pediatric care allows you to care for infants. It all comes down to your interest and desire to see yourself in 5 years.

2Choose An Online Program

Due to pandemic restrictions, many accredited nursing schools now offer an online RN to BSN program. It has the same value as an on-campus program.

An online program comes with its pros and cons. But it allows you to continue your practice while you pursue a BSN. After completing your degree, you will also have years of experience as an RN under your belt.

3Let Your Teachers Know

Many of your classmates might not be registered nurses already. Let your teachers know that you work as an RN while studying. Many of them will be happy to serve as your mentors. Having mentors to guide you can make your journey a lot easier.

You may also experience days with more workload at your healthcare facility. In those days, your teachers may relax your deadlines and coursework.

4Let Your Employers Know

Before enrolling in a BSN program, let your supervisor know about your plan. Share your schedule with them. This way, your shifts won’t be scheduled during important days at school. Employers understand the tight schedule of their employees. That’s because most of them have gone through similar paths.

Your supervisor may also agree to help you go through topics that are relatively hard for you to understand.

5Use Tuition Assistance

You may not know this, but many healthcare facilities offer tuition assistance if you opt to school while working. Usually, this policy is for undergrad tuition only.

Every healthcare facility has its reimbursement policy. It would help if you dug deeper into the regulations and regulations by going to HR. They can guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have. Some facilities cover only the tuition while others cover the extra expenses. This approach can save you a lot of money and increase your career prospects at your current job.

6Socialize And Network

In the field of nursing, socializing can take you places. There are always employers who are looking for registered nurses with good references. Your social network can provide references for you and help you get better jobs.

Stay in contact with your classmates. Having good professional relations with your teachers is also a major resource. They can help you land jobs in your field of interest.

7Manage Your Time

Time management can be the biggest challenge you face. Working as an RN is stressful, so is the BSN program. Both require a lot of your time and energy. A bit of mismanagement can have a serious effect on your career as well as your studies.

Prepare for this ahead of time. Put important tasks in your calendar. Make a schedule and stick to it. Effective time management skills can save you a lot of trouble during highly stressful days.

8Organize Your Notes

This tip is the oldest leaf in the book. Whenever you want to study, always keep your study table organized, clearing out the clutter and keeping the extra notes out of sight. Make bullet points of long lectures and correlate them with your textbooks. Doing this saves study time and helps learn the concepts much more effectively.

9Apply Your Practice To Coursework

While studying, you may encounter some concepts that you already have practiced. Correlating theory with practice helps you retain the facts and figures for much longer. As an RN, you have this edge over many of your other classmates. You get to witness and perform the theoretical concepts regularly.

10Join A Study Group

Study groups can help you stay motivated. They also help you cover a bulk load of the syllabus in record time. Even if you are not too fond of study groups, you come to realize their importance once you give them a try.

When you study with other nursing students, you gain a different perspective. Everyone has their way of understanding and retaining concepts. A fresh angle can help you better understand your courses.

11Stay Healthy

This one is the most important tip. As an RN, you have a responsibility to your patients. But as a student, you have a responsibility to yourself. Juggling your roles as an RN and a student can leave you exhausted. It is important to remind yourself to take a good diet and get enough rest at times like these. Take care of your health if you want to excel in your career and studies.

12Prioritize Your Mental Health

Many psychologists have highlighted that working while studying can take a serious toll on your mental health. You can experience extreme feelings of burnout and demotivation. To avoid this, take time to rest. Spend your days off indulging in your hobbies. Have a supportive social circle. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to seek help.

To Summarize

Earning a BSN can be highly rewarding, but it comes with its fair share of challenges. If you manage to cross this tunnel, you emerge on the other side with a degree and a successful career. Nursing itself is a fulfilling career, but an extra degree can pave your way to unimaginable heights of success.

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