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Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree offers a path to professional advancement

Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree offers a path to professional advancement

Since its inception in 2010, Doane’s RN to BSN program has helped many registered nurses (RNs) develop a broader array of professional skills through the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Several graduates have moved into managerial roles or are on their way to earning a master’s degree according to Doane’s Director of Nursing and Associate Professor of Practice April Minster.


The BSN curriculum allows the registered nurse to view nursing and healthcare with a wider lens. The graduate is prepared to assume roles on committees, task forces and managerial roles with the required knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to be an effective leader in today’s healthcare environment,” said Minster.


Currently, 149 RNs are enrolled in the program. Students can take courses on the Lincoln and Grand Island campuses, as well as online. All students take at least one course, Health Care Informatics, online.


The need for more health care professionals is clear. Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate rapid growth in health care occupations. “Recent BLS statistics show that 20 of the 30 fastest growing occupations nationally are projected to be in health care occupations,” said College of Professional Studies Dean Lorie Cook-Benjamin.


The program earned accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2013, the first year that students graduated from the program. Since then 83 students have earned a BSN degree from Doane.


The program highlights personal and professional development using emotional intelligence and self-leadership, and provides opportunities for students to improve critical thinking and communication skills to solve real-world problems, according to Minster. She affectionately refers to it as “Going beyond the bedside.” Minster continued, “We believe in the importance of teaching you to care for the person - not the patient.”


The course of study incorporates an individualized clinical learning experience. Each student works with a faculty member or nursing mentor to design a project that fulfills the clinical course objectives. The clinical experience allows each student to select an area of passion in which they can make a change in nursing practice and employ leadership skills, according to Minster. For example, one student with a personal interest in nutrition is exploring how she can apply her knowledge to help ventilator-dependent patients with delayed wound healing.


Other students are growing in leadership experiences with their employer by taking a committee lead or conducting research and making recommendations to administrators.


An affiliation agreement with Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln offers opportunities for mentored experiences, and Minster is continuing to build the program through potential new affiliations with community hospitals in Grand Island and Lincoln. Partnerships with community colleges are also in progress for RNs with a newly-earned associate degree. The partnerships will offer a seamless progression of professional education to RNs wanting to complete a BSN.


Students can complete the BSN in as little as two years, however most students complete the degree in three years as they continue to work full time, often juggling family life, work and school, according to Minster.


“The RN to BSN program is a prime example of our commitment to nontraditional students. It focuses on combining college learning experiences with students’ work and life experiences,” said Cook-Benjamin.


Information about the RN to BSN program can be found at