Learning Experiences of Nursing Students in Online RN-BSN Programs in the United States

Elaine Della Vecchia


The complex profession of nursing requires the practitioner to be knowledgeable, skilled, and autonomous. It is estimated in the USA 36.8 percent of nurses hold degrees at the baccalaureate level and above. Evidence indicating baccalaureate-degreed nurses are better prepared to meet the demands of this complex profession has led to policymakers and practice leaders touting the importance of this degree. RNs are seeking the BSN degree in increasing numbers. However, due to family, work, and personal time constraints, traditional means of education may not be a viable option for many, and distance learning provides an alternative for students who might not be able to pursue degrees. The number of RN-BSN online education programs has increased significantly over the last decade. There is a great deal of research regarding the efficacy of these programs but little research exists regarding the learning experiences RN-BSN students have in these programs. The intent of this research study was to examine the structure of the learning experiences of RN-BSN students participating in online education programs. To accomplish this goal, data were obtained from 11 interviews with RN-BSN online education students about their perceptions and assumptions before beginning their coursework, and their perceptions and actual experiences, as well as, perceived challenges after experiencing the programs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/rhs.v2n3p291


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