Earning a BSN as an RN brings unique challenges — challenges UL Lafayette RN to BSN coordinator Tara Horsley knows well.
“I've been through multiple online courses just like them,” she says. “I have a common denominator with our students, because I started where they started; we are all RNs.”
RN to BSN Program Coordinator Snapshot:
|Name||Tara Horsley, PhD(c), MSN, RN|
|Program||RN to BSN online|
|Research interests||Nursing education|
|Courses taught||NURS 353: Orientation for RN to BSN; NURS 354: Transition to Professional Nursing for RN to BSN|
Horsley began her career in a small community hospital before transitioning to travel nursing. Like her students, she earned her nursing degree while working. She then continued her education by earning an MSN, which allowed her to pivot her career toward nursing education.
Every term, Horsley applies her knowledge and experiences as a nurse, student, and educator into acclimating online students into the online RN to BSN program through their first courses — NURS 353: Orientation and NURS 354: Transition to Professional Nursing.
“My goal is for them to succeed in class and to succeed as a nurse,” says Horsley. “It's not just about teaching; it's about mentoring them, guiding them, and advising them both academically and professionally.”
Study Skills as an RN
To succeed in the online RN to BSN program, students must develop study skills and time management — and do it quickly.
Horsley says the first two weeks of each term are the busiest as she works with students on everything from getting their books online to navigating their online classroom to learning APA format.
“I meet with my class the first week online via Zoom and hold a recorded open office meeting. I do this due to the hectic work schedules of nurses. If students can’t attend due to their busy schedule, I just post it in the course,” she says. “This way, they can view the recording when they have the time.”
Horsley also lets her students know she was not a perfect student when she enrolled in college. She says she struggled on her way to becoming an RN. But she developed skills that allowed her to succeed in earning her nursing degree and her master’s in nursing education — skills that serve her well as she completes her doctoral degree, manages her teaching schedule, and raises twins.
“I can relate to the working student because I am balancing coursework, family, and work, as well. No matter how many letters I have after my name, I'm still a nurse just like my students,” says Horsley. “I encourage them, because if I can do it, they can do it.”
Supporting Students, Encouraging Faculty
Instructors teaching in the online RN to BSN program are dedicated exclusively to those students. For the last seven years, Horsley has been among those instructors, taking on the role of program coordinator in May 2022.
She says her mission hasn’t changed. Her priority is seeing RNs succeed academically and professionally, earning their BSN degree and potentially continuing to their MSN and even doctoral degrees.
“I do push that in my classes,” Horsley says. “I tell them to keep the momentum going to advance their careers by continuing their education.”
The big change for Horsley has been managing faculty as well as student success.
“It's been challenging, but exciting at the same time. I try to give strong, encouraging words to faculty, just making sure that they know they're appreciated,” she says. “I'm excited to go to work every day. I really enjoy my career.”
Earn your BS in Nursing degree with faculty dedicated to your success. Request information today about UL Lafayette’s online RN to BSN degree program, offered through the LHC Group • Myers School of Nursing.