RN-to-BSN Programs: Challenges for Rural Nurse Education
The summary finding of our survey of registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing (RN-to-BSN) programs is that, with a few exceptions, schools of nursing do not conceptualize their students or their educational offerings in a geographic context. A sizable subgroup of programs (25.3%) reported being "unable to determine" the proportion of their students who live in rural areas; among campus-based programs (not exclusively online), 32.9% could not indicate the proportion of students commuting from rural areas. The majority of programs (62.4%) could not describe whether their graduates practice in rural, urban, or suburban locations after graduation. The majority of RN-to-BSN programs do not offer any rural-specific content (55.7%), and only 13 respondents (5.5% of responding schools) offered a dedicated rural health course. Finally, when asked to distinguish between rural and urban students with regard to potential barriers to program completion, virtually all schools chose to use an "all students" response option.