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First Entirely Online RN to BSN Degree Students Finish Coursework
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First Entirely Online RN to BSN Degree Students at Notre Dame College Finish Coursework, Set to Graduate

The first Notre Dame College students to convert their Registered Nurse (R.N.) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degrees completely online have completed their coursework.

Two of the first enrolled–now part of the 180 total students–in the entirely online B.S.N. program finished their degree this winter, while another set is expected to graduate following the spring semester, according to Colleen Sweeney, Ph.D., Notre Dame nursing division interim chair and assistant professor of nursing.

These soon-to-be 2014 nursing alumni of the College hail from across the country and have taken about two years to complete their online degrees. Some are expected to participate in commencement ceremonies May 10 and 11 on the Notre Dame campus.

Because online R.N. to B.S.N. students can select from six different start dates per year and take courses at their own pace, they do not graduate as a typical class cohort. They also may have previously earned college credits, affecting the duration of their program.

Notre Dame converted its R.N. to B.S.N. degree to an entirely online program in 2011. The very first R.N. to B.S.N. students graduated from Notre Dame in 2009 when the degree was a hybrid program, which required R.N. students to meet in the classroom setting every other week.

Sweeney–who has earned an M.S.N, R.N. and J.D. as well a doctorate–said the B.S.N. is replacing the R.N. as the industry standard for entry level practice and typically is required for management and specialties in nursing. Notre Dame launched its traditionally on-campus, predominantly four-year, pre-licensure B.S.N degree with the incoming class in 2007.