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RN to BSN Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions about the RN-BSN Program

The RN to BSN online option allows a registered nurse who has either an associate degree or diploma in nursing to gain advanced placement in the BSN nursing major.

The Department recognizes prior knowledge and experience to promote advanced learning without repetition of nursing education and practice. Both nursing and General Education requirements can be completed totally online. Courses are designed to promote interactive experiences with a variety of faculty and other online students.

Upon completion of the program a Bachelor of Science degree is awarded. This degree combines liberal arts courses, through the General Education, with current nursing theory and practice. Nursing assessment, research, care of the elderly, leadership and management, community health skills and personal/professional development skills are taught. The curriculum is based on the core concept of knowledgeable caring which provides opportunities for the nurse to interact with individuals, families, communities and the environment in ways that “facilitate understanding and growth through the human experiences of wellness, illness, healing and dying (BSN Philosophy)

Admissions, Advising, Registration, Textbooks and Graduation

Please read our RN to BSN Online Web site and become familiar with Southeast Online and the services and information available for online degree students. We also recommend that you read our Southeast Online Handbook and try our demonstration course to get the feel for our online classroom structure.

As a new transfer student or a returning student with transfer credit, your file will be reviewed by a Southeast Online Advisor to determine if admission might be granted by the Program Director. Should an advisor believe this to be the case, you will be advised to apply to the program. If acceptance to the program is granted, an advisor will then inform you of the next steps in the process, including the submission of various health records to a private company (Certified Background Check) which will track them. Upon the submission and approval of these records, you will be officially accepted into the RN-BSN program. You can then begin working with an advisor to select available courses that match your remaining BSN degree requirements and personal interests.

If you are a returning student, and unsure whether or not you owe any balance, please check with Student Financial Services at (573) 651-2253. If a balance is owed, you will be prevented from registering until the amount is paid, and it is better to discover this early in the process so you have ample time to correct the situation.

Some minors may be possible based upon your previous Southeast or transfer credit. Please check the bulletin for more information on the necessary courses for each minor and compare with your degree tracking report for initial information. Please note that a minor requires a set of specific courses and simply taking many hours in one subject does not constitute a minor.

Your degree audit will show what courses you have taken will transfer. However if you have not taken the course and need to know if a current or future course you plan to take will transfer, visit Then click on Transfer Course Conversion to find out if a course will transfer.

Refer to Testing Services and click on "credit by examination." It is best to complete the credit by examination as soon as possible after you are admitted to the University. Students may qualify for credit by examination as long as they have earned fewer than 90 hours and have not enrolled in a college course in the subject area in which the examination is given. Students who anticipate attempting to earn credit by examination should not enroll in that subject area before taking the examination. For registration procedures contact Testing Services at 573-651-2836. RN-BSN Online Students who wish to take the FN235 credit by examination must do so before completing 90 credit hours.

Course registration generally begins in the following pattern:

  • Fall Semester - early April
  • Spring Semester - early November
  • Summer Semester - early February

Registration priority is based upon your completed credit hours on file at Southeast. The earlier you discuss your course options with your advisor and begin registration, the better selection of courses you will have available. If you are unable to get your target number of credit hours or specific requirements for degree goals, please contact your advisor as soon as possible. It is not recommended to add new online courses beyond the second day of the course as not to risk starting the semester already behind on your assignments. Keep in mind all schedule changes will affect your textbook rental, and please take into account the time needed to receive your new book.

Registration opens at 7 a.m. daily and closes at 9 p.m. If you attempt to access the menu outside of this time range, you will receive a message that misleads you to believe your alternate PIN is not correct. Please try again during the scheduled hours before contacting technical support for assistance.

To check course availability, please visit

To drop a course, please follow the instructions at A pin number may not be needed for this process.

Most courses require at least one text that is rented through Textbook Rental Services. In addition, some courses may require additional book(s) that may be bought at the Southeast bookstore or elsewhere.

Therefore, it is essential you first contact textbook rental to rent the needed textbooks for your upcoming courses. It is best to do this at least two weeks before the course begins. If you can’t come to campus to get your books the week before classes begin, you can arrange for them to be shipped using the online order form. Textbooks are usually mailed about a week before classes begin and there are charges for shipping. At the end of the semester, you will mail the textbooks back to the University and they must be postmarked by the Monday after finals week.

Next, you should also check with the Bookstore to see if you need any additional supplemental materials that you will need to buy for the courses. You can order them online. Always check with both Textbook Services for rental books and the Book Store for other books or materials you may need to buy in addition to the text(s) you will need to rent.

Information regarding how to obtain your name badge for field experiences will be given to you in your NS390 Framework for Professional Nursing course.

Once admitted to nursing, you have the flexibility to complete any needed academic advising by phone, e-mail or in person. E-mail is the preferred method as no appointment is required and both parties then have written records of the discussion. In order to register in classes each semester, an RN to BSN online advisor must be contacted to confirm your plan of study and degree requirements. At that time, a new alternate PIN number - required to register for the next semester - will be given to you.

This is a matter to be discussed with your advisor. Remember that online courses require the same amount of work as face-to-face courses but often in a different format. Be sure to consider the amount of time spent weekly between employment, family and recreation. Students can take as little as one course (three-five hours) each semester or as many as 18 hours during the regular fall and spring terms. You must take at least six hours to qualify for your financial aid awards. To be considered full-time, you must have at least 12 hours for the fall or spring semester. Most online courses are three credit hours.

  • Fall/Spring semester maximum: 18 hours
  • Summer semester maximum: 4 hours pre-session and/or 9 hours regular session (limit one four-week course at a time)

If your cumulative (overall) GPA is less than 2.5, then you will be advised to take non-nursing courses to bring your GPA up to a 2.5. After those courses are completed and your GPA is 2.5 or higher, you may apply to the nursing program.

Students with a GPA under 2.0 will be subject to suspension from the university unless a 2.0 semester GPA or better is maintained (i.e. demonstrate you are making progress to remedy the situation).

The first step is to find the course description in either the General Education Handbook (only General Education courses) or the University Bulletin (all courses). Some courses will not have pre-requisites, while others may require certain General Education categories (i.e. Living Systems, Social Systems, Political Systems) or even specific courses (i.e. SC105, PS103 or PS104, MA134 and AD101). Still other courses may state junior standing (60 hours) or senior standing (90 hours) in order to take the course.

Course levels:

  • 100-200 level courses are open to all students (if any).
  • 300-500 level courses are open to students with at least 45 hours completed.
  • 600-700 level courses are ONLY for graduate students.
  • 800 level courses are workshops for both undergraduate and graduate students. 800-833 are open to all students and are considered lower division credit, while 834-866 are open to students with at least 45 hours completed and are considered upper division credit.

The second step is to check your Unofficial Transcript in Self-Service. This will show all courses completed and in progress to help you remember what you have already taken. If you have credit that is more than 10 years old, next check the title on the needed pre-requisite(s). If you are still uncertain, you should confirm your selection with me as some course numbers may have changed since you completed the course (i.e. US101 = US105, MA136 = MA140, EN150 = EN140).

Note: the registration system is not currently designed to check pre-requisites except in rare cases. It is your responsibility as a student to make sure you are not only prepared for your next course but also that you will not be dropped by the department when they realize you lack the proper prerequisites. Most departments check rosters in close proximity to the semester start, and finding a replacement may not be possible that late into registration.

Information on how to apply for graduation can be found at, https:///

Mentors and Field Experience

Is anyone who invests time, know how, and effort cares to enhance another person's growth, knowledge, and skills. This sharing goes beyond one's duty or work obligations.(Shea, 1999)

Is one who makes an effort to assess, internalize, and use effectively the knowledge, skills, insights, perspectives or wisdom offered by the mentor. (Shea, 1999)

"Field Experiences" are defined as experiential learning activities that require the RN-BSN student to complete required assignments that take place in agency or community settings. Although some activities require the student to examine their current practice where they are employed as an RN, most activities require the student to explore areas not familiar to one's past experiences. These activities are designed to promote opportunities for the RN to learn the roles and competencies of the baccalaureate prepared professional nurse. A variety of course assignments across the RN-BSN Curriculum are required to assist the RN to meet the learning objectives of each individual nursing course. The RN is required to independently seek a mentor(s), develop own learning goals within the framework of the course objectives, plan the activity, and schedule one's own Field Experiences. There is not a required specified amount of hours that are required for the Field Experiences. Instead, focus is given to the meeting of course objectives and completion learning assignments.

Examples of field experience:

  • Completing a client interview and assessment seeking the guidance of an Advanced Practice Nurse or Nurse Expert (ie. Critical Care Nurse)
  • Developing an Evidence Based Care Plan seeking the expertise of clinical nurse specialists, case managers, dietitians, physical or occupational therapists, respiratory therapists.
  • Propose a change project by collaborating with nursing staff, nurse mangers, staff educators, or a Director of Nurses.
  • Observe and assess a Community Health Agency and a Health Department. Interview a Community Health/Public Health Leader
  • Assess an organization or agency ( Senior centers, Long term care Organizations, Free standing Alzheimer Care Facilities, Hospice Agency, State Agencies such as Area Agency on Aging, Residential Care Facilities, that provides for the health care needs of older adults, Associations such as national Council on Aging, etc. ) and describe the challenges it faces in providing effective services for the elderly.

Online Learning and Student Services

As an online degree student, we will do our best to assist you in registering in your desired number of hours, but we cannot guarantee availability in your top choices. For the best selection, we highly recommend you complete your advising and attempt to register on your priority registration date, which is based upon credit hours completed. If you cannot secure your full course load or necessary graduation requirements through open enrollment, please contact your Online Advisor as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the fewer options will exist. Enrollment assistance for online degree students works on a first-come, first-served basis until (limited) space is no longer available. The only way to guarantee a seat in a specific course is to self-register in it as soon as your priority date has arrived.

Online students must have approval from their advisor to take any face-to-face courses.

Fall/Spring Semester

  • Full semester (traditional): 16 weeks
  • 1st eight-week and 2nd eight-week courses are rarely available online

Summer Semester

  • 1st four-week session: four weeks immediately after spring finals
  • Eight Week session: Eight weeks in middle of summer
  • 2nd four-week session: first half of the eight-week session
  • 3rd four-week session: second half of the eight-week session
  • 1st six-week session: first four-week session and part of the eight-week session
  • 2nd six-week session: last six-weeks of the eight-week session
  • Twelve-week session: first four-week session and the eight-week session

The pace for each course is already established, and you will want to check for updates each day. Our online courses follow the same timeline as their face-to-face counterparts. You can schedule accordingly and work ahead as assignments are announced, but you must meet your course deadlines to receive full credit.

To use the student portal site, you must first activate your SE Key. Go to Under the login area, click the link for SE Key Activation. Enter your Southeast ID (SXXXXXXXX) and day and year of birth to begin the activation process. Be sure you write down your new SE Key as well as the password you just established. You will use this information to access all services within the portal, including your online courses and Southeast e-mail. Your e-mail address will simply be I also recommend that you set up the password reset facility in case you forget your new password.

If you have problems in activating your SE Key, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk at (573) 651-4357. If you have activated your SE Key and cannot remember your password, there is only one way to reset it remotely: Send a fax to (573) 651-2200 of a photo ID along with your Southeast ID number (SXXXXXXXX), signature and the new password you desire. Make sure that your password follows the established rules (at least three of four elements from these criteria - upper case, lower case, symbols, numbers) or Information Technology will be unable to reset it for you.

In the event of a name change, you must first update your record in the Office of the Registrar. If you unsure of your current status, please visit the personal information menu in the portal to confirm. To update, send a fax to (573) 651-5155 of proof of name change (social security card, court ordered document, driver’s license), your Southeast ID number (SXXXXXXXX), your request to update your name and your signature.

Once your name is correct in the database, you may then e-mail Nancy with your old name, your new name and your Southeast ID number.

Go to and click on Schedule of Courses.

Online students can have books and videos from Kent Library at Southeast Missouri State University, in addition to books from the state-wide lending program MOBIUS, shipped to their primary residence free of charge. Each library item shipped comes with a prepaid return envelope. Additionally, materials may be picked up at one of the more than 60 Missouri libraries in the MOBIUS system.

For more assistance on this process, visit the Kent Library request tutorial or the MOBIUS request tutorial for more details.

All Southeast students have access to library subscription databases that can help you find an article that matches your topic. The library has full-text access to more than 24,000 journals, magazines and newspapers, so you will be able to get the full-text to many articles with a single click. To learn more about finding articles, you can complete the self-paced tutorial Module 4-Finding Articles.

All Southeast students have access to the Online Writing Lab (OWL). Using OWL, students can submit drafts of papers for additional feedback and guidance on the drafting process, walk through writing tutorials to refresh memory or ask individual questions of the writing staff. Please note that the staff will not proofread your entire submission, but rather they seek to work with you in order to teach you how to be a better proofreader as well as clarify any repetitive errors made. If you utilize this resource, please do so well in advance of your submission deadline for the course, so you have adequate time for the revision and communication process.

The online submission form will not allow students to submit documents more than six pages in length. As an online degree student, you can still receive assistance with longer submissions. Please contact the Writing Center through the above link for more information.

The Offices of Learning Assistance Programs and Disability Services provide both disability and tutorial assistance to Southeast students. Online students with disabilities may receive assistance by registering with the office as outlined on its Web site. Although tutorial assistance is not available online, online students are welcome to visit them for face-to-face tutorial services and other learning resources. Additionally, if you have difficulty in understanding your materials or assignments, many faculty will answer additional questions via e-mail or phone - or refer you to additional resources that may assist you in your studies.

Plans of Study and Progression through the Program

Please use your detailed degree audit to determine what courses you still need:

  1. Required before entry into the nursing program
    1. Anatomy and Physiology I
    2. Anatomy and Physiology II
    3. Microbiology
    4. Written Expression (English Composition 2)
    5. Chemistry
  2. Required before entry into the nursing program
    1. Human Growth & Development
    2. Living Systems (Nutrition or other)
    3. Oral Expression (Speech or Language)
    4. Literary Expression
    5. Logical Systems (Math)
    6. Development of a Major Civilization (History)
    7. Social Systems
    8. Political Systems
    9. Artistic Expression
    10. Economic Systems
    11. UI 412 American Health Care Systems
    12. Statistics (Inferential)
  3. Nursing Courses Required (credit hours)
    1. NS 380 Holistic Assessment (4)
    2. NS 385 Research in Professional Practice (3)
    3. NS 386 Professional Practice: Community Health Nursing (6)
    4. NS 390 Framework for Professional Nursing (4)
    5. NS 480 Professional Practice: Leadership and Management (6)
    6. NS 483 Gerontological Nursing and Care of Older Adults (3)
  4. General Requirements for Graduation
    1. Residency at Southeast - at least 30 hours from Southeast
    2. Current residency at Southeast -12 of your final 18 hours must be taken with Southeast
    3. Grade Point Average at Southeast: 2.0 minimum required
    4. Grade Point Average Cumulative: 2.0 minimum required
    5. Writing Proficiency - WP003, 75 Hour Writing Proficiency Exam with passing score required

The WP003 is a writing assessment checkpoint that must be passed for graduation. There is no fee for taking this assessment, but it is required for graduation. Southeast wants to ensure all students are maintaining their writing skills obtained in those initial composition courses. Upon successful completion of EN140 (English Composition II/Rhetoric and Critical Thinking) and at least 75 credit hours, you may register for this assessment. Be sure to click the CRN link on the class schedule to see which date the assessment is being offered. New transfer students with more than 90 degree hours completed may be waived from this assessment. You may contact Marge Phillips at (573) 651-2460 for further assistance with this. Scoring criteria, scoring scales and sample essays are available through the Writing Outcomes Web site. If you do not pass the assessment, you must contact Writing Outcomes and ask to submit a portfolio as your second chance opportunity. This portfolio option generally occurs over the duration of the semester with scheduled checkpoints. However, most students pass the assessment without difficulty.

For questions about scholarships and financial aid, visit the Student Financial Services website.


Questions, comments or requests regarding a course should be taken to your instructor. Questions, comments or requests regarding the program should be taken to Desma Reno, Director of the RN-BSN Program Unanswered questions or unresolved issues involving a class may be taken to Dr. Gloria Green, Chairperson of Nursing



Crisp Hall 107
Department of Nursing
One University Plaza, MS 8300
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701