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Duquesne to Launch New BSN Program This Fall for Registered Nurses

Duquesne University’s School of Nursing is unveiling a new program for the fall that will make it easier for registered nurses (RNs) to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

Nationwide, nurses are licensed to practice after passing the test for the Registered Nurse (RN) credential. Frequently, RNs opt to earn associate's degrees or a nursing diploma at a hospital-administered nursing school rather than devoting four years to obtaining a BSN. 

According to Dr. Mary Ellen Glasgow, dean of the School of Nursing, the timing for the new RN-BSN program is ideal. National trends - including an aging population, the increased demand for health care services through the Affordable Care Act and the need to improve health care outcomes - are fueling the need for the program.

Glasgow added that a recent report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a congressionally chartered but non-governmental group of health care experts, made recommendations about the nursing profession, including that 80 percent of the country’s nurses should have a baccalaureate degree by the year 2020.

The IOM is widely respected, Glasgow said, and its recent report emphasized that nurses who have a BSN are much better equipped to make decisions based on evidence. She added that Pittsburgh is an ideal place to launch an RN-BSN program because only 33 percent of nurses in the city have a BSN. The national average is 50 percent.
 
Duquesne’s RN–BSN degree requires 126 credits, which is the same as its regular BSN program. Every course will be offered online and can be completed in seven-and-a-half weeks, a structure that allows a student to easily take six credits per semester.

“We're looking for students who wish to advance their education in a supportive environment,” said Dr. Cindy Walters, the RN-BSN coordinator and a former RN-BSN student.

Walters, an assistant clinical professor in the nursing school, said that because the program is online, it appeals to the adult working nurse, who often works around-the-clock shifts and on weekends. Many of the potential students, Walters added, may also be responsible for child rearing or have other family or caregiving responsibilities.

All of the non-nursing courses will be offered in the program through the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement. RN-BSN students will receive 60 transfer credits for their previous lower-division nursing courses, and other college credits can be transferred as well.

An RN-BSN program complements Duquesne's mission, Glasgow observed, because the program's timeliness and flexibility will attract a new group of students to Duquesne. “We have created a program that honors what RNs have already accomplished," Glasgow said. "This program will be a great way to diversify our student body and the nursing profession."

The RN-BSN program is now accepting applications for the first class of students, which will begin matriculation in Fall 2014. For more information, visit the Nursing School's RN-BSN website at http://onlinenursing.duq.edu/.

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