MARCH 16, 2006

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Online bachelor’s degree available for Panhandle State nursing students

Oklahoma Panhandle State University offers a unique program designed for registered nurses who want to obtain a higher degree. As one of the only completely online Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing programs in the country, OPSU’s BSN allows students flexibility to work and complete a degree.

A BSN opens doors to positions in management, administration, and public health. Students can also enter nurse practitioner programs after earning a BSN, an option many OPSU graduates choose.

Registered nurses with an associate’s degree or a diploma from an accredited program can take classes full-time or part-time via the internet. While courses are not self-paced, instructors typically allow one or two weeks for students to complete assignments, a plus for those with busy schedules.

OPSU’s BSN program admits students from all over the country. This semester, the program has enrolled students from Florida, Vermont, California, Wyoming, Nevada, South Texas, Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. Although separated geographically, students interact not only with the professor in the online courses, but they also have the opportunity to talk with each other through threaded discussions. By sharing their professional experiences, students gain a tremendous amount of practical knowledge from each other.

Students have up to five years to complete the BSN after acceptance, but they can complete it in as little as two years depending on the number of general education credits already earned and the number of credit hours enrolled in each semester. Since students must have an associate’s degree or a diploma, often they have already completed all or most of the general education requirements. Of the 129 credit hours required to graduate, 40 are nursing courses, some of which are clinical in nature. Students complete clinical hours in the form of projects in their communities. Sometimes students may use previous work experiences for credit in clinical projects as well.

A pioneer in online nursing programs, the OPSU BSN program remains one of the only nursing degree programs that students can complete entirely online. In 2004, it received an eight-year accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC), which will give it accreditation through 2012.

The OPSU BSN program continues to grow. Four years ago the program graduated only two students, and 11 graduated in 2005. The program had about 44 students enrolled in BSN courses in the Fall 2005 semester.

Admission requirements include a completed OPSU application and a BSN application, official transcripts or test scores from all colleges, universities, and/or nursing schools attended, and a 2.0 GPA in previous course work. Candidates must have an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. Students can take general education requirements concurrently with nursing courses. OPSU admits BSN students in the fall, spring and summer semesters.

For more information about OPSU’s BSN program, call toll-free at 1.800.664.OPSU or email nursing@opsu.edu. Information can also be found www.opsu.edu under the University Schools link.