From our backyard in Central Florida to across the globe in Zambia, RNs are returning to school to meet national demand and further their career thanks to the convenience and flexibility of online learning at UCF.

In addition to a reputation for academic excellence and recognition by U.S. News & World Report as one of the “Best Online Nursing Programs,” the college has recently enhanced its online RN to BSN program to make it easier, more convenient and more affordable to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and eventual graduate degree.

The fully online RN to BSN program now features:

  • Expanded enrollment to admit three times per year,
  • A simplified application process where licensed RNs can apply at any time and only need to submit one application directly to UCF,
  • Lower overall tuition costs through UCF Online and the elimination of some campus-based fees, and
  • Opportunity for qualified students to get a head-start on a graduate degree by substituting up to three classes of graduate-level coursework that would transfer toward a MSN or DNP degree.
  • In addition, RN to BSN students have the opportunity to begin independent research early in their career by participating in the prestigious Honors in the Major program.

    National Need: The landmark “Future of Nursing” report published by the Institute of Medicine calls for increasing the number of BSN-educated nurses to 80 percent by 2020.

    “Baccalaureate-educated nurses have more job opportunities as they are in high demand nationwide, and greater opportunity for advancement as they are more prepared for leadership roles,” said Mary Lou Sole, dean of the College of Nursing. “By enhancing our program, we are able to help address a nationwide need and provide more opportunity for RNs to advance their education and career.”

    “The online program is a convenient option for RNs nationwide and around the world,” said Joellen Edwards, PhD, RN, FAAN, interim chair of the Department of Nursing Systems at the college. “It provides flexibility without sacrificing academic excellence, as the program is fully accredited and led by faculty with advanced degrees who are experts in their field.”

    Among the students currently in the program is Amber Webb, who lives in Zambia and is a nurse that works with rural clinics and hospitals. “One of the reasons I chose UCF was because their program was 100 percent online, which I needed since I was going to be attending from across the globe. It has been a great experience,” said Webb. “The degree is also a good stepping stone, should I choose to further my education even more.”

    Recent RN to BSN graduate Haley Hawkinberry, a travel nurse, is already planning to pursue her master’s degree. “The fact that UCF’s nursing programs are available online, including the MSN, sealed the deal for me,” Hawkinberry said. “While an undergraduate, I was able to substitute graduate-level courses, which will save me money and time once I begin the graduate program.”

    Hawkinberry now plans to pursue an MSN in Leadership & Management to help her obtain her career goal of becoming a director of an operating room at a hospital – her current specialty – or an educator. After graduation, Webb plans to continue living in Zambia and become a nurse educator to provide not only U.S. nursing students with an opportunity to become culturally competent, but also provide a way for Zambian nurses to become culturally competent in U.S. health care.