Students can graduate from Kent State with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing without ever stepping foot on campus.
Kent State offers a complete online program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, a national agency that insures the integrity and quality of nursing programs.
Registered Nurses who already have an associate degree are going back to school for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
“They’re out there practicing; they want to go back for their BSN, Bachelor of Science in nursing,” said Marcy Caplin, an online nursing professor. “Those would be the nurses who come into our program.”
The university’s online nursing degree program currently has over 300 students from across the United States. Caplin said about one-third of her students are nurses practicing in other states.
“It’s kind of a hidden program,” Caplin said. “Because it’s online so you never see the students on campus.”
There are other colleges that offer the same online degree, but Caplin said she thinks students like the fact that Kent is a physical university and has a good reputation in the nursing community.
Tracey Motter, academic nursing program director, said they started the program three years ago when the demand for an all-online nursing program became apparent.
“There’s a move at the national level to change from RN to BSN by 2020,” Motter said. “It also opens up more job opportunities.”
She said students can complete the program in two years if they have all of their electives completed. When they graduate from the online program they will receive the same degree as someone who attended classes on campus.
RNs who are already working in their field don’t have the time to attend traditional classes. An online program works better around their schedule. It came down to “the convenience for the students,” Motter said.
“One of the reasons (this program) works really well for RNs is because they cover the shifts at the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Caplin said, “So, no matter when a nurse works they can come online and contribute.”
There are a lot of reasons nurses are going back for higher education, Caplin said. More hospitals are requiring a BSN, and a lot of nurses are looking toward their futures.
“They’re thinking ‘what do I want to be doing for the next ten or twenty years’ and they might like to go back for their master’s so that they can become a nurse practitioner or teach, “ Caplin said. “ I think it opens up a lot more doors for the nurses and career opportunities for them.“
Caplin said with the technology available she has had very few issues in terms of interacting with students. Her class was one of the first ones to utilize Blackboard over the summer. She said students can record themselves giving a presentation and other students can watch it on their own time.
“It’s just very interesting to see how nursing and health care are different in different areas of the country,” Caplin said. “I think that just adds a real richness to the program, and that’s why I love teaching it.”