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Saving future nursing students nearly $5,000 is one benefit of the University of Louisville School of Nursing’s revamped RN-to-BSN online program. Some courses have been restructured and others, such as population health and nursing leadership and health policy, are new to the program and reflect the evolving nature of health care.

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“In Kentucky, only 33 percent of the nursing workforce is baccalaureate-prepared. The Institute of Medicine has recommended that 80 percent of nurses receive a bachelor’s degree by the year 2020,” said Marcia J. Hern, Ed.D., CNS, RN, dean, UofL School of Nursing. “It is well documented that baccalaureate-prepared nurses have decreased patient deaths and better outcomes in caring for patients with complex diseases.”

The online RN-to-BSN program provides a flexible, cost-effective opportunity for nurses with an associate’s degree or a nursing diploma to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing at their own pace. Students can finish the program in as few as 16 months, although they may take more time if needed.

Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the RN-to-BSN program requires 31 core credits plus 30 portfolio credits. The portfolio consists of a resume’, goal statement, professional development documentation, and other materials to support practice as a professional nurse. These 30 tuition-free credit hours count toward graduation requirements – a value of more than $14,000 in tuition costs.

“The affordability and convenience of the online education platform combined with the strong support of award-winning faculty and access to all university support services makes the online RN-to-BSN program ideal for nurses seeking a baccalaureate degree,” Hern said.

July 1 is the application deadline for classes beginning in Fall 2015.