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The professionalization of the RN-BSN student in a distance learning program

, Virginia Commonwealth University, United States

Virginia Commonwealth University . Awarded


Distance learning is an educational process whereby the learner is geographically separate from the instructor. Through distance learning, RNs residing in remote areas who are geographically separated from universities are now able to earn their baccalaureate degree in nursing. Several studies have documented the effectiveness of distance learning programs. The studies show that students who pursue their degree in a distance learning program master the information at least as effectively as students in a traditional on-campus degree program.

Professionalization is an important outcome of baccalaureate education. Professionalization is the acquisition of knowledge, values, skills and attitudes which are characteristic of that profession. Professionalization is a developmental process which begins in nursing school and continues into the work setting. The RNs who return to school are enhancing their professionalization.

This study employed a multi-method approach which examined the professionalization of RNs in a distance learning program in a mid-Atlantic state. Through the use of a demographic questionnaire, the Lawler modification of the Nursing Role Conception Scale (NRCS) and semi-structured phone interviews, the researcher was able to address the following research questions: (1) Is there a difference in the professionalization of first and second year RN-BSN students in a distance learning program? and (2) How do selected RN-BSN students in a distance learning program describe the professionalization process?

Purposeful sampling of two distance learning sites was employed. Fifty participants in the study which represented a cross-sectional survey of first and second year students in the program. Twelve second year students volunteered to be interviewed. The findings on the NRCS were not statistically significant when comparing first and second year students; however, the RN-BSN students did experience a difference in their perception of ideal nursing behaviors in comparison to actual nursing behaviors observed. The interview results indicate the RN-BSN students have developed professionally in the distance learning environment. These students experienced a change in their values, beliefs and attitudes about the profession. Several of the students expressed an interest in pursuing the master's degree in nursing upon completion of the baccalaureate program.


Faison-Britt, K. The professionalization of the RN-BSN student in a distance learning program. Ph.D. thesis, Virginia Commonwealth University. Retrieved March 23, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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