News from the Aurora University community

AU Online meeting the demand for nursing professionals

Posted by on February 15, 2013

Nursing PhotoAurora University Online is answering the demand for BSN-prepared nurses in Illinois by offering associate degree or diploma-prepared nursing professionals an accessible path to higher education.

There is a chronic nursing shortage in the United States, and Illinois is one of the places most affected. According to the Illinois Center for Nursing, Illinois sees 3,000 fewer nursing graduates each year than needed to meet demand. Nationally, the number of potential caregivers, including nurses, is projected to decrease by 4.2 percent by 2020, while the number of those who need care is projected to increase by 31 percent.

To help meet this demand, scholarship and grant opportunities for nursing students have been created at the local, state and federal level. There’s never been a better time to go back to school and finish your nursing degree.

To keep up with state and federal initiatives to help educate and attract nursing professionals, Aurora University offers an online RN to BSN degree. This flexible and innovative program allows nursing professionals to advance their education on their own schedule. Graduates are equipped with the skills necessary to enter leadership positions and meet the challenges of today’s nursing environment.

Online RN to BSN Degree Completion Program

The Aurora University Online RN to BSN program is designed for registered nurses who currently hold a diploma or associate degree in nursing and wish to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The program can be completed in as little as 43 semester hours, though this varies on a student-by-student basis. Transfer credits are welcome, and applicants with a diploma or associate degree can earn up to 30 semester hours for being a currently licensed registered nurse. A combined total of 123 credit hours are necessary to earn the BSN degree. RN to BSN students engage in quality improvement projects in lieu of clinical instruction.

Students who have not graduated from a licensed nursing school or do not have recent clinical experience (within the past five years) are encouraged to complete an RN refresher course prior to applying for the program. Applicants should have a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

In addition to completion of nursing courses, students are required to complete a one-day residency prior to graduation. The residency takes place on-campus at Aurora University or George Williams College. During the on-campus residency, students participate in an assessment and evaluation of their knowledge of health assessment content, including diagnostic reasoning, clinical assessment skills and therapeutic communication. Students also will participate in a forum centered on discussion of course material as a community of learners, allowing for face-to-face interaction with faculty and peers.

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Scholarship Resources

There are several financial aid opportunities for nursing students. In addition to need-based federal grants and loans, there are several state and national organizations that offer a variety of financial aid awards to students pursuing a nursing degree.

Health Resources and Services Administration

The HRSA branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers loan repayment, scholarship programs and favorable loan terms for nursing students. The organization offers incentives for students who agree to teach or work at a facility with a critical shortage of nurses. They also offer need- and merit-based assistance, as well as financial aid for nurses wishing to work within specific specializations. For more information, click here.

American Association of College of Nursing

Aurora University partners with the AACN, a group devoted to advancing higher education in nursing. The AACN website contains information on the nursing scholarships they offer, as well as scholarships offered by their partners. These awards are merit-based, and preference is given to underrepresented and minority students.

American Association of University Women

The AAUW provides information on state and local scholarships for women who attend universities in any degree path, including nursing. For a listening of scholarship opportunities, contact your local AAUW branch or click here.

Center for Rural Health

The Illinois Department of Public Health sponsors nursing scholarships through its Center for Rural Health. Medical professionals, including nurses, who agree to work in rural areas, teach in a medical field or attend medical schools that are accredited in specific fields, are eligible for monetary awards. For more information and to see if you qualify, visit their website.