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RN to BSN Programs: School-to-School Articulation Agreements

Higher Education Articles November 26, 2013

Registered nurses (RNs) who want to pursue their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees should be particularly aware of which nursing schools offer RN to BSN Articulation Agreements, especially School-to-School agreements. Articulation agreements allow current nurses and nursing students to more easily access BSN programs by supporting educational choice and mobility, and by facilitating unhindered transfers of academic credits from Associate Degrees in Nursing (ADN) to BSN nursing programs.

RN to BSN articulation agreements are especially important to current nursing students, current nursing students who are in the early part of their careers, as well as experienced nurses who may want to return to school to pursue Advanced Practice Nursing (APN) degree so they can remain an active part of the health care workforce for many years and into retirement.

States with School-to-School Agreements

Nursing education programs offer three types of articulation agreements: mandated, statewide, and personal or school-to-school. Mandated agreements are legislated formal agreements guaranteeing transfer of nursing credits between schools in several states. Statewide agreements offer credit transfers between nursing programs in community colleges and technical colleges within different states, and are currently in effect in over two dozen states.

This article focuses on individual or school-to-school articulation agreements. These agreements exist in states that do not have either mandated or statewide agreements, and typically define which courses and credits will transfer between ADN and BSN nursing programs.

The following states offer hundreds of school-to-school articulation agreements:

•California
•Hawaii
•Indiana
•Kentucky
•Maine
•Massachusetts
•Michigan
•Montana
•Nebraska
•Nevada
•New Mexico
•New York
•Oregon
•Rhode Island
•Utah
•Vermont
•Virginia
•West Virginia

These articulation agreements are important for the following reasons:

•They provide better information about what courses nursing students should select.
•They eliminate the possibility of unnecessary curriculum redundancies.
•They streamline the application review process.
•They promote collaboration among educators across a wide range of nursing programs.

Many states also offer online resources to help nursing students identify exactly which courses and credits will transfer between one program or school to another.

RN to BSN: Online Degree Program

RN to BSN articulation agreements helps nurses obtain advanced degrees and careers, which give them advantages over their peers who do not have four-year degrees. An increasing number of health care employers are making a BSN degree the entry-level degree requirement for practicing as a nurse, so that is probably the first and most important consideration for pursuing the BSN degree.

Some of the benefits of having a BSN degree include the following:

•Possess better understanding of the ongoing and rapid expansion in clinical information and complexities in health care mandates.
•Practice across multiple settings.
•Supervise unlicensed aides and support personnel.
•Prepare and mentor entry-level nurses.
•Possess greater experience of illness and disease management, health promotion, disease prevention, and risk reduction.
•Offers greater career opportunities for front-line primary care and managed care.

University of Mary RN to BSN Degree Program

The University of Mary offers an RN to BSN degree program that meets articulation agreement goals. Advanced practice nursing students will learn to combine theory with practice, enabling them to do the following:

•Develop and maintain caring, respectful professional relationships using therapeutic communication.
•Implement safe, competent nursing practices that will develop, support, and restore positive patterns of health.
•Integrate professional nursing standards and values with evidence-based practice.
•Form collaborations with patients, clients, families, and other health care professionals to improve health.
•Use critical thinking and leadership skills to manage care and examine health care policies for the best possible outcomes.

Nursing students in the RN to BSN degree program can expect to take courses such as:

•Biomedical Ethics
•Dimensions of Professional Nursing Practice
•Ethics, Law, and Policy
•Health, Promotion, and Support
•Management of Critical Health Problems
•Nursing Leadership and Management
•Public Policy

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