Tennessee RN to BSN Programs
Earning a BSN degree after already working as a RN may seem counterintuitive at times. After all, a BSN doesn’t let you start working as a RN without taking the NCLEX-RN exam for certification. You already passed that exam, so the education isn’t going to help you get past that. You probably already know a few reasons to earn a BSN, but to be clear, consider each of these benefits. A BSN will make you more desirable to employers which gives you a better chance at picking where you work. Your education and additional experience will likely lead to a higher starting wage and a much higher income over the course of your career. A BSN also prepares you to continue your education at a later date to earn a nurse practitioners license or a master’s or doctorate degree. In the end, a BSN is a natural step most RNs should take as they advance through their career and you can see from the following statistics that your skills will be desired greatly.
Tennessee only saw 391 total graduates from medical schools in 2011. Only a portion of those graduates were nursing graduates, meaning that the influx of new nursing graduates is not keeping up with the need for RNs in the industry. With a total of 60,570 registered nurses working in Tennessee, the state is not seeing the number of RNs it needs to support its population of over 6 million people. With an average income of $56,000 a year, based largely on experience and education, you can help lead a new generation of RNs after you earn your BSN.
You may already have a solid career plan with your current employer, but if you are willing to look across the fence, keep this information in mind. Jackson, Johnson City and Kingsport have the highest percentage of registered nurses relative to the population of each city. The other side of the coin shows that Clarksville, Morristown and Cleveland have the lowest percentage of registered nurses relative to the city’s population. For those looking for cities paying the highest median salaries, look to Memphis, Chattanooga and Johnson City.
The Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Jackson-Madison County General in Jackson, and Mountain States Health Alliance in Johnson City rank among the top 20 employers across all industries in the state. Keep these employers in mind as you start to consider what benefits your current employer offers compared to those that these employers offer. You may find that you can gain a great deal of tuition assistance by moving to a new employer, or your current employer may have the best options for your educational goals. Either way, working while you go back to school for your BSN will add even more experience to your resume once you put the BSN degree on it.
While colleges offer specific scholarships, grants and loans to their students, you should look to two different sources for assistance in finding additional funding for your education. First the Tennessee Nurses Association should be a tool that you put to use as much as possible. With continuing education assistance, nursing practice, government affairs, foundations, events, news, social networking and career assistance, the TNA will do more than help you find a way to continue your education, they will help you throughout your career.
You should also spend a great deal of time reviewing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services site. With millions of Americans underserved in their communities because of a lack of access to health professionals, the HRSA is doing what it can to encourage students to pursue a medical degree. You will find a wide array of scholarships, grants, loans and loan repayment options that will make a significant impact on the financial stresses that come along with earning an education. Repayment programs will forgive debt if you commit to work in underserved areas for a specific amount of time after graduation.
Nationally recognized as a leader in the education of highly skilled, visionary nurses, the UTKCON will ensure that you graduate with the respect you deserve. Established in July of 1971, the College of Nursing’s sole purpose is to prepare nurses at the collegiate level to meet the demands of our growing and aging population. With almost 500 students currently enrolled in their undergraduate programs, 124 students in their master’s program and 50 in the doctoral program, UTKCON can be your school of choice for as long as you want to continue your education.
Offering a traditional four year baccalaureate degree for nursing students, MTSU is great for students just starting out. They also offer a RN to BSN program for currently licensed RNs and even a LPN to BSN program for those that never earned a RN. With master’s degrees across four tracks; Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Nursing Administration and Family Practice Nursing, you don’t have to stop once you earn your BSN.