UAH's College of Nursing offers online options for career growth

UAH College of Nursing
Michael Mercier | UAH

The College of Nursing at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has recently earned recognition for two of its online programs. Its RN to BSN program was named by Super Scholar as one of the nation's best online undergraduate nursing programs, while its RN to MSN program made College Choice's list of best online masters of science in nursing programs.

Offered entirely online, the RN to BSN program allows nurses with an associate's degree in nursing (ADN) to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) in just two semesters. The distinction between the two degrees may not be clear to the average patient, but it can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

"With every 10% increase in the proportion of nurses with a bachelor's degree on the hospital staff, the risk of patient death goes down 4%," says Dr. Haley Hoy, Interim Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, referencing a well-known article by Linda Aiken. And the demand is there, Dr. Hoy adds, thanks to an Institute of Medicine recommendation that hospitals increase the proportion of nurses with a BSN from 50 to 80% by 2020.

For those who want to go even further than that, the College's online master's program – the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN): Leadership in Health Care Systems – is an ideal next step. With acceptance into the RN to MSN program, the student's spot in the graduate program is automatically guaranteed and up to two graduate level courses can be completed in the first year.

"Both programs are designed for working nurses with families who want to expand their career opportunities," says Dr. Hoy, adding that all classes are offered at an in-state tuition rate regardless of where the student lives. "And transition into the RN to BSN program is even more seamless as we are working toward articulation agreements with all of the local community colleges."

As both continue to grow, more courses will be converted to a succinct seven-week online format. But for now, Dr. Hoy says the focus is on " taking a student-centered approach while maintaining quality." That's good news for the students in the program – and given the statistics on the difference that a nurse's level of education can make, it's even better news for the patients they will one day care for.


Dr. Haley Hoy