Although the bulk of students’ time in the new program will be online, the program does include a two-day, on-campus orientation.
Image Credit: Clemson University

Clemson will make one of its most successful nursing programs even more convenient for registered nurses hoping to take their education to the next level. The School of Nursing’s RN/BS Completion Program will transition to a fully online format beginning Fall 2017.

The benefits remain the same, as do the expert faculty who are set to deliver the program, but the level of convenience for full-time students and those actively engaged in the work force will increase dramatically. According to Deborah Willoughby, professor and RN/BS program coordinator, the idea to make the leap to full-online delivery has been seriously considered by the faculty for years, but student voices and related research made the choice increasingly obvious.

“Our faculty really enjoys the face-to-face interaction with students, but all signs point to students at that stage of their career preferring online formats due to the formats’ flexibility,” Willoughby said. “The model of ‘learning anywhere, anytime’ is often the deciding factor for students juggling jobs, families and other obligations.”

Willoughby and the rest of the faculty did their homework; surveys of students from a partner associate degree program revealed that more than 75 percent preferred the fully online format. Those results along with the bulk of literature supporting online formats made it clear that the change was needed to remain relevant among higher education institutions and, more importantly, among prospective students.

Willoughby said great care was taken to ensure that the program would overcome common limitations with online formats. Students visit campus for a two-day orientation so that they can meet faculty in person, and Clemson Online helped faculty design the program so that courses would be as interactive and engaging as possible.

Each course and the overall program will be ENCORE(S) certified through Clemson Online, ensuring the program’s navigation and content remain current while emphasizing collaboration, ongoing faculty presence and the student experience.


Deborah Willoughby, professor and RN/BS program coordinator, said the move to a fully online format became increasingly obvious for faculty in the last few years.
Image Credit: Clemson University

“The entire process of moving to an online format has been challenging, but we’re confident that the great program we’ve built will still be recognizable and strong after this move,” Willoughby said. “We wouldn’t have pursued such a monumental change if quality was ever going to be in question.”

The program allows registered nurses enrolled as full-time students to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in 12 months, and part-time and full-time plans of study are available to meet the needs of working students.

Because students come to the program as licensed, experienced registered nurses, the program focuses on socializing the RN to the role of the baccalaureate prepared nurse, emphasizing the values of ethical decision making, intellectual curiosity, critical thinking and interdisciplinary collegiality. The curriculum expands the students’ current knowledge base, including courses in professionalism, health care genetics, research, community and family nursing, and leadership and management in nursing.

The admission deadline for the fall 2017 semester is May 15. For more information on admission requirements, click here.