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Becoming an RN in Virginia

In Virginia, a person becomes a professional nurse, or RN, by completing an approved educational program and passing a national board exam. Virginia’s prospective nurses have a lot of programs to choose from. The Board of Nursing currently lists 5 programs at the diploma level, 46 at the ADN level, or associate’s level, and 29 at the BSN, or baccalaureate, level. All cover pediatrics, perinatal care, and mental health as well as adult nursing. All prepare a candidate to take the NCLEX-RN.

There are, however, significant differences between programs. Diploma programs are based at hospitals like Lynchburg General Hospital and Riverside. This is where nurses were traditionally educated. Indeed the program at Danville Regional Medical Center dates back to the late 19th century. Associate’s and diploma programs may differ in approach and pacing, but are comparable in terms of level of preparation.

A BSN program will include advanced nursing concepts suitable for a prospective educator or manager as well as an adept clinician. Typical classes will include health care policy and leadership and community health. The BSN program will also include more humanities and general education courses. Students who do opt for an ADN or diploma can take an RN to BSN completion program later if they choose.

Registered Nurse Educational Pathways

Some of Virginia’s programs are designed for students who already have a degree or career. These are typically faster than the traditional programs.

Second career professional nurses are valued -- and much needed if the nation is to meet its increased demand for professional nurses. Students who already have a baccalaureate in another field can take an accelerated BSN program and complete the clinical portion in approximately 16 months. The actual time varies from institution to institution. The program is an intensive experience, so it is often recommended that students not hold jobs during the time they are in school full-time. Students who prefer a slower pace, or need to work, may opt for a more traditional second BSN. Typical prerequisites include anatomy and physiology, psychology, and microbiology. Students vary a good deal when it comes to how many of the required classes they have on their transcripts. Science and health majors are often at an advantage.

Licensed practical nurses also have a shortened path to RN licensing. Many Virginia schools offer LPN to RN programs. CNAs may earn a small amount of credit for their prior learning. Jefferson College of Health Sciences, for instance, waives the “Intro to Patient Care” class.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in Virginia

Virginia’s RN workforce is aging and many are nearing retirement age. The Virginia Department of Health Professions noted in a 2010 report that nearly half of the workforce expected to exit within ten years. This should translate into an increased demand for new graduates.

The recession has caused some nurses to stay in the field longer than expected. This has eased the shortage in the short term, but not solved the problem. A 2007 report had estimated a shortfall of 22,600 nurses by 2020. The figure has recently been revised. It’s down to the 10,000 to 12,000 range. That’s still a lot of nurses!

The Nursing Program Application Process

Limited program capacity is a bigger issue than lack of interest. Competition for nursing school spots can be stiff. The application process will be a little different depending on what type of degree a student seeks. Accelerated BSN programs are known for being rigorous. Jefferson Health Center requires one thing from BSN students that is not required from other students: a writing sample. A representative of Jewell University, meanwhile, notes that an interview is an important part of the process for the accelerated BSN.

Students in a diploma or ADN program will often be asked to take a test of academic skills, for example, the Compass Test or TEAS V. Virginia’s community colleges often give preference to students in the school’s service area. If there are more applicants than openings, other factors like prerequisites, GPA, and health care experience may be considered. Some high achieving high school graduates may be admitted without completion of prerequisites.

ADN Programs Approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing

Fortis College - Richmond

The Associate's in Nursing program is approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN Licensure exam.

Programs Offered: Associate's | Nursing

Blue Ridge Community College
P. O. Box 80, One College Lane
Weyers Cave, Virginia 24486
PH: (540) 234-9261 Ext 2321
Bryant and Stratton College
8141 Hull Street Road
Richmond, VA 23235
PH: (804) 745-2444
Email: nabeaman@bryantstratton.edu
Career Training Solutions
100 Riverside Parkway, Suite 123
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406
Email: kmarshall@CareerTrainingSolutions.com
Centra School of Nursing, ADN - 28-409
1901 Tate Springs Road
Lynchburg, Virginia 24501
Email: johnka1@centrahealth.com
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
P. O. Box 1000
Clifton Forge, Virginia 24422
Email: amay@dl.vccs.edu
See more Associate's Programs on the Virginia Board of Nursing Website    

BSN Programs Approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing

Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

The Diploma in Nursing, BSN and RN to BSN programs are approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing. The Diploma in Nursing program is accredited by the NLNAC.

Programs Offered: Diploma, BSN, RN to BSN

  • Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing, 8550 Magellan Parkway, Suite 1100, Richmond, Virginia 23227, Email: susan_bodin@bshsi.org, PH: 804-627-5300

Chamberlain College of Nursing

The BSN program is approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN Licensure exam.

Programs Offered: BSN

Chamberlain College of Nursing - Arlington, 2450 Crystal Dr, Arlington, VA 22202

South University

The BSN program offered by South University at the Richmond Campus is approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN Licensure exam.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN

Marymount University School of Health Professions - Department of Nursing

All nursing programs offered by Marymount University School of Health Professions are accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) and hold approval from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN Online, Accelerated BSN, MSN - (Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Education), DNP, Post-Master's Certificate - (Family Nurse Practitioner or Nursing Education)

Marymount University School of Health Professions - Department of Nursing, 2807 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207

Eastern Mennonite University

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, BSN - 2nd degree, RN to BSN, LPN - RN

  • Eastern Mennonite University, 1200 Park Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462, PH: 540-432-4983

George Mason University

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, BSN - 2nd degree, RN to BSN,RN to MSN - (Advanced Clinical Nursing Concentration, Clinical Nurse Leader Concentration, Joint MSN/MBA Track, Nursing Administration Concentration, Nurse Educator Concentration, Nurse Practitioner), Certificate in Forensic Nursing, Certificate in Nursing Administration, Certificate in Nursing Education, PhD

  • School of Nursing - College of Health and Human Services, MS:3C4, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444, PH: 703-993-1901

Hampton University

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, BSN - 2nd degree, RN to BSN, LPN - BS, MSN - (Concentrations: nursing education, administration, and nurse practitioner), PhD

  • 530 E Queen St, Hampton, VA, PH: 757-727-5000

James Madison University

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, MSN - (Concentrations: Adult Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Educator), post-master's certificate - nurse educator, nurse practitioner

  • Department of Nursing - James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, PH: 540-568-8868

Jefferson College of Health Sciences

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: ASN, LPN-ASN, BSN, RN to BSN, MSN - (Concentrations: Nursing Management, Nursing Education)

  • Department of Nursing - Jefferson College of Health Sciences, 920 S. Jefferson Street, Roanoke, VA 24031-3186, PH: 888-985-4785

Marymount University

The nursing programs are CCNE approved and NLNAC accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, MSN - (Concentrations: FNP, Nursing Education)

  • Marymount University - School of Health Professions, 2807 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22207-4299, PH: 703-284-1580

Old Dominion University

The nursing programs are NLNAC & CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, MSN - (Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Midwifery, Nurse Anesthesia, Nurse Educator and Nurse Leader)

  • 5215 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, VA, PH: 757-683-4259

Radford University

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, RN-BSN-MSN, MSN - (Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist, Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Midwifery), DNP in Fall of 2010

  • School of Nursing - Radford University, Box 6964, Radford, Virginia 24142, PH: 540-831-770

Shenandoah University

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, LPN-BSN, RN to MSN, MSN - (Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Health Systems Management, Nurse-Midwifery, Psychiatric Mental Health, Nurse Midwifery), Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Nursing Practice Certificate

  • Shenandoah University - Division of Nursing, 1775 N. Sector Court, Winchester, VA 22601, PH: 540-678-4374

University of Virginia

The nursing programs are CCNE accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, MSN - (Concentrations: Clinical Nurse Leader Program (CNL), Acute and Specialty Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Community and Public Health Leadership, Community and Public Health Leadership with combined Family or Pediatric Nurse Practitioner preparation, Family Nurse Practitioner, Health Systems Management, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Advanced Practice), PhD, DNP

  • School of Nursing, McLeod Hall, 202 Jeanette Lancaster Way, Charlottesville, VA 22903, PH: 434-924-0141

Virginia Commonwealth University

The nursing School is NLNAC accredited.

Programs Offered: BSN, RN to BSN, accelerated BSN, RN to MSN, MSN - (Concentrations: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Leader, Nursing Administration and Leadership, Nurse Educator), PhD

  • 1100 E. Leigh St., Richmond, VA 23298, PH: 804-828-0724
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