25 Most Affordable Online BSN Programs

Top 25 Most Affordable Online BSN Programs

Affordable Online RN to BSN

Top 25 Most Affordable Online BSN Programs

The most affordable online BSN programs offer RN’s a flexible and convenient path to earning a bachelor’s degree while continuing to work. Many nurses pursuing their RN or BSN are looking for affordable nursing schools. There are many factors to consider when deciding to go to nursing school. First, you will try to find the cheapest RN to BSN Online, then probably compare that to the cost of traditional schools.

There are many affordable nursing schools for those that want to go the traditional route. Still, the fastest and most affordable RN to BSN programs are online programs. There seem to be more and more affordable online RN to BSN programs popping up all the time.

The operating expense for online students is less than on-campus programs. Therefore, students can get a more affordable RN to BSN program if they study online. The student saves even more money because there is no cost for transportation to get to school, plus they can learn when it is easiest for them. Working nursing students with families and limited time will find an online RN to BSN affordable and flexible.

Top 25 Most Affordable Online BSN Programs
Top 25 Most Affordable Online BSN Programs

Methodology: Ranking The Top 25 Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs 

For TopRNtoBSN’s ranking of the most affordable Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, editors focused on trusted, accredited programs across the US. Since students want to know the cost of the programs, we rank the programs according to the cost of tuition, the school’s reputation, and the program offerings. Data comes from the College Scorecard, the College Navigator, and also the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).


1. University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida Online RN to BSN degree is one of the most affordable programs available. Registered nurses can get up to 29 credits for previous classes they’ve taken. To be eligible, applicants must have at least a 2.8 overall GPA. In addition, the convenient online format makes it easy for participants to complete their baccalaureate degrees while also continuing to work.

This highly-rated public university has 42,000 undergraduate students. However, admission to the university is competitive, with only 44% of those applying receiving an acceptance letter. The University of Central Florida was founded in 1963 to support the U.S. space program. UCF is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). In addition, the College of Nursing at UCF is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and approved by the Florida Board of Nursing.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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2. Georgia Southern University

Georgia Southern University

Another one of the most affordable programs is the Georgia Southern University online RN to BSN. This program allows registered nurses to complete their undergraduate degrees quickly. Students can complete the program in two semesters or twelve months. Referred to as a bridge program, the RN to BSN program accepts credits for previously completed classes. Typically, nurses don’t have to complete clinical hours as part of this program. 

Georgia Southern University (GSU) has 19,000 undergraduate students and is based in Statesboro, Georgia. Over half of applicants who apply are granted admission, and students choose from hundreds of majors, including liberal arts, biology, and also nursing. Additionally, GSU ranks number three among the state’s top public universities.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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3. Fort Hays State University

At Fort Hays State University, registered nurses can complete one of the most affordable RN to BSN programs. FHSU’s program is 100% online. So, working nurses can complete their bachelor’s of science in nursing within three semesters. Students can begin the program in the summer, spring or fall. Classes focus on expanding leadership and also critical thinking skills to help nurses advance in their field.

Fort Hays State has nearly 6,000 undergraduate students. This midsize school accepts more than nine out of ten students who apply, making it relatively easy to gain admission. The school has several majors, including business support services and also liberal arts. Additionally, Fort Hays is the fifth-ranked public university in Kansas.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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4. Fayetteville State University

The Fayetteville State University online RN to BSN program allows working nurses to complete their degrees online. Typical students have their associate’s degree or diploma and an RN license but want to complete their baccalaureate degrees. This program builds upon the knowledge of working nurses to help them deepen their science-based learning. In addition, participants learn about health assessments, community health, and emergency care.

Fayetteville State is a historically black college and can be found in Fayetteville, NC. The college is committed to the advancement of black Americans and keeps enrollment small at just over 4,000 undergraduate students. As a result, admission to the FSU is fairly competitive, and just 69% of those who apply to receive the green light from this historic university. At UNC-FSU, most students receive financial aid, allowing more students to complete their degrees.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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5. University of Utah

The University of Utah online RN to BSN stands out among the most affordable programs for its flexible start dates. Students can begin in the spring, fall, or summer. Part-time students can complete the program in four semesters, and full-time students can complete it in two to three semesters, based on their choice. The 100% online program gives students a lot of flexibility in completing their degrees. However, the geriatric concentration requires four semesters and only a fall start date. Graduates can also apply for admittance into a master’s in nursing program or return to the workforce if they’ve taken time off.

Located in Salt Lake City, the University of Utah is well respected both regionally and nationally. This large school has 19,000 undergraduate students and a very competitive admissions process. Approximately three out of five students who apply receive an acceptance letter. Those who choose to go to the school have a huge selection of majors, including kinesiology, psychology, and nursing. The school graduates 70% of incoming first-year students, compared with a 49% national average. The University of Utah is the state’s top public university and carries brand recognition to help students obtain better-paying jobs.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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6. West Texas A&M University

West Texas A&M University

The West Texas A&M University online RN to BSN program is one of the most affordable programs available. The program focuses on advancing career opportunities for registered nurses who received their baccalaureate degrees. After completing the program, many students move into management positions or higher-paying healthcare jobs. Getting their bachelor’s degree allows many nurses to compete for higher-level positions and earn higher wages. In addition, graduates with a BSN receive more diverse career opportunities such as risk management. This is also great preparation for students who intend to complete their master’s of science in nursing degrees.

At West Texas A&M, 88% of students say that their professors show a lot of effort in prepping for their courses. Additionally, eight out of 10 students say they feel confident finding jobs after graduation. Additionally, 91% of surveyed graduates had found work within two years. West Texas A&M ranks 10th in the state’s top public universities, making it a great choice for registered nurses is looking for a valued degree.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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7. University of Louisiana at Monroe

The University of Louisiana – Monroe online RN to BSN program is affordable and fast. This accelerated program allows students to complete their courses online. That makes it easier to balance work and family life with completing their education. Participants learn about evidence-based nursing that concentrates on respecting the wishes of patients and their family members. Students also learn to use information and data to drive positive outcomes. The program includes pharmacological principles and the role of information management systems in modern nursing.

Louisiana – Monroe has a fairly high acceptance rate of 80%. This well-respected public university has fewer than 5,000 undergraduate students. However, students choose a plethora of majors, including humanities, nursing, and psychology. Louisiana – Monroe is among the top 4 public universities in the state.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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8. University of Central Missouri

University of Central Missouri

Students can find another one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs at the University of Central Missouri. UCM has a caring nursing faculty built of professionals dedicated to student success. Students can get to know their instructors and enjoy mentorship through a faculty honors project, community service, and peer mentoring. Students also receive hands-on experience through clinical.

As an award-winning university, UCM offers students challenging academic experiences and exceptional student life at Warrensburg, Missouri. The school has 10,000 undergraduate students and more than 100,000 alumni. Founded in 1871, UCM provides students with the confidence and knowledge to succeed in their various job roles. As well as being an affordable school, UCM offers student aid to 94% of its student body.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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9. Lamar University

Lamar University

Lamar University has one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs. This program can be taken fully online, giving students the flexibility to study where they want when they want. The program prepares graduates for various nursing roles and gives them the credentials needed to advance to a higher level in their careers. Courses include community nursing, holistic health, and evidence-based nursing practice. Students also take management courses to help them succeed as leaders.

As a public university in Beaumont, TX, this midsize school has over 5,000 undergraduate students. The school has a fairly liberal admissions process, and 84% of those who apply can attend the school. Among its many majors, liberal arts and humanities, and business are among the most popular. In addition, approximately 82% of students receive some form of financial aid, making a degree at Lamar University even more affordable.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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10. Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University

Some students choose Southeast Missouri State University online RN to BSN programs because it’s one of the most affordable in the Midwest. This baccalaureate program requires a financial and time commitment from its students, but the benefits of this degree propel graduates into roles of increasing responsibility. With an advanced degree, registered nurses become more well-rounded and can better meet the needs of an ever-changing medical industry. In addition, a bachelor’s degree will position nurses to market their skill set and expertise better.

With just over 7,000 undergraduate students, this midsize university has a generous acceptance rate of 86%. That means that nearly nine out of 10 students who apply receive an acceptance letter and choose from popular majors, including biology and business. In addition, nearly every student at Southeast Missouri State University receives some sort of financial aid. The school allocates student aid to 96% of students.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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11. Western Illinois University

The Western Illinois University online RN to BSN program is one of the most affordable. This online RN-BSN program facilitates the schedules of working nurses who have their diploma or associates in nursing and their nursing license. Successful applicants first complete their general education courses and prerequisites for the program. Then, however, they can complete their other requirements while pursuing their nursing degrees.

At Western Illinois University, students receive an excellent education, and full-time professors teach over 96% of classes with tenure or on the way to earning tenure. Face-to-face meetings are available for online and hybrid students and on-campus students. Western Illinois University is the sixth-ranking top public school in the state.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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12. Fitchburg State University

 Fitchburg State University

At the Fitchburg State University online RN to BSN program, the students can attend one of the most affordable RN to BSN programs. This program has received CCNE accreditation and prepares registered nurses to complete their baccalaureate degrees. The program focuses on community health care in numerous settings and gives students a foundation in the ethical, legal and professional standards that govern the industry. The school is committed to developing well-rounded nurses and has an evidence-based nursing curriculum. Topics of study include advocacy and social justice delivered in an accelerated format.

Fitchburg State is a small school with just over 3,100 undergraduate students. Located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the school offers numerous majors, including liberal arts and humanities. The school accepts 80% of applicants, and 91% of students receive financial aid.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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13. Oakland University

Oakland University’s online RN to BSN program is one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs available. With a curriculum based in science and relevant to modern nursing, the school prepares students for leadership roles and gives them the credentials needed to make positive career changes.

This respected university lies in the Detroit area and has more than 12,000 undergraduate students. The school has a generous acceptance policy, and more than eight out of 10 students who apply receive the nod to attend the school. Students can choose from dozens of majors in science, humanities, and other disciplines. As well as having affordable tuition rates, Oakland University offers 94% of students some form of financial assistance.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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14. Mayville State University

One of the most affordable programs in the country is the online RN to BSN at Mayville State University. The school offers a bachelor’s of science in nursing for registered nurses who already have licenses and career experience. The program builds on students’ previous nursing education and offers two different tracks for RNs.

Mayville State has more than 80 majors and minors and offers various certificate programs to students in different disciplines. All classes are taught by expert faculty members who have the highest academic credentials available. This allows students to form mentoring relationships with professors and obtain advice on career paths. In addition, up to 94% of students receive financial aid at this affordable school.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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15. American Public University System

The American Public University System online RN to BSN program combines quality and affordability. Students receive a solid foundation in modern nursing, including the latest technology available. In addition, this is a great refresher course for working nurses who have been out of school for some time. After completing the program, graduates sometimes earn their masters of science in nursing or seek out more challenging work opportunities.

American Public University System (APUS) is a higher learning institution composed of the American Military University (AMU) and the American Public University (APU). APUS offers associate’s degrees, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and certificate programs. The private school is not part of the U.S. government or the U.S. military but is a good fit for individuals in the armed forces. Around half of the school’s students are active duty or veterans.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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16. Wichita State University

The Wichita State University online RN to BSN degree is another of the most affordable online programs. Graduates receive a bachelor of science in nursing and can use their new credentials to become highly qualified candidates for better-paying positions or leadership roles. This online program allows students to finish their BSN in as little as three semesters. All classes are available online, and students gain valuable leadership skills as part of the coursework. In addition, students can transfer up to 30 credit hours from other programs and build a foundation for their master’s degree if they choose to pursue one.

Wichita State has 9,000 undergraduate students. The school’s acceptance rate of 92% gives most students who want to attend a chance to do so. Students can choose from dozens of available degrees or work with their advisors to customize a degree that meets their career goals. Within 92% acceptance rate and 89% of students receiving financial aid, Wichita State provides accessible learning opportunities to many students.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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17. Northwestern College 

Northwestern College in Iowa also provides an attractive incentive in the form of affordable tuition rates, and it’s one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs. In addition, registered nurses who have already completed their diploma or associate’s degree can complete their baccalaureate degree as part of this program. This fully online track allows students to log on and complete their work around their own schedules.

Northwestern – Iowa is physically based in Orange City, Iowa. It has fewer than 1,000 undergraduate students and accepts seven out of 10 students who apply. The school has a graduation rate of 68%, which is much higher than the national average of 49%. In addition, Northwestern College Iowa ranks number seven among the state’s best value colleges, a ranking that underscores the value of attending this school.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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18. University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas online RN to BSN program is affordable and flexible. Applications are accepted year-round, and there are five start options each year. This program has accreditation from the CCNE and offers flexible degree programs for registered nurses seeking their baccalaureate degrees. Students build upon their existing experience in the field to strengthen their critical reasoning and analytical thinking abilities. Getting a baccalaureate degree increases earning potential and establishes an academic foundation for graduate programs. So, graduates emerge with the skills needed to perform clinical reasoning and analytical tasks. For nurses who want to broaden their practice, this degree also provides a strong foundation of cultural, social, and economic issues that impact health care.

The University of Arkansas is located in Fayetteville and has over 21,000 undergraduate students. Since admissions are somewhat competitive, students should ensure that their applications are well-thought-out and represent their best work. Just 77% of those who apply to receive an acceptance letter. The University of Arkansas is the top public university in the state.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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19. Florida International University

The Florida International University online RN to BSN is one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs in the nation. For registered nurses who want to complete their bachelor’s degree, FIU provides an experienced faculty with real-world skillsets. In addition, with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, RNs can leap in their careers. Therefore, FIU’s online format allows nurses to complete their baccalaureate degrees without quitting their jobs. Courses in the program include wellness, health, and care for a diverse patient community. The program is firmly rooted in science but includes the importance of compassionate care.

Florida International University is a large school of 20,000 undergraduate students. The Miami college also offers graduate degrees and accepts just 58% of students who apply. FIU is a public university committed to high-quality education at every level. In addition, Florida International University has been ranked the second-best online college in America.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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20. South Dakota State University

The South Dakota State University online RN to BSN program is affordable. Therefore, working nurses can use this program to level-up their careers and complete their bachelor’s of science in nursing. Building on their current experience and knowledge, students learn the latest techniques in integrated care and also how to provide holistic care for their patients. In addition, the program focuses on reducing health care disparities and helping nurses understand and appreciate diversity in those they treat.

South Dakota accepts nine out of 10 students who apply. This public university has just under 8,000 undergraduate students and also offers many majors to those who decide to attend. As a result, South Dakota State University ranks number three among the state’s top value universities.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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21. University of Louisville

University of Louisville

Students who choose the University of Louisville online RN to BSN may appreciate the work-life-education balance offered by the school’s eight-week terms. As one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs, this accelerated track requires just 31 credit hours to complete. So, most students can graduate within 20 months if attending full-time. In addition, students can complete their coursework online and also have 24-hour access to educational tools for their assignments. Furthermore, the program encourages learners to develop a supportive community.

Approximately 98% of Louisville students receive some kind of student aid. This public university has approximately 12,000 undergraduate students, and there is fierce competition for placement at the university, which accepts just 69% of applicants. Additionally, Louisville ranks among the state’s best colleges.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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22. Murray State University

One of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs can be found at Murray State University. The school offers an RN to BSN program to take 100% online. It consists of 20 credit hours designed to help nurses complete their baccalaureate degrees. In addition, the program does not place geographic or time restrictions on when students can complete their work. Therefore, this flexible program makes it easier for nurses working in remote areas or busy schedules to advance their careers with a BSN degree.

Murray State is a public university in Murray, Kentucky. With over 6,000 undergraduate students, it’s considered a midsize institution. The school offers many majors in various disciplines, including sciences, liberal arts, and also humanities. Additionally, MSU has student-designed degrees for those with unique career goals. Murray State is a well-respected college and also ranks among Kentucky’s top three public universities. The school accepts just 82% of students who apply.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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23. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Students can attend one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. This online RN to BSN program meets the needs of registered nurses who have not yet earned their bachelor’s degrees. Learners focus on critical thinking skills to make better clinical decisions for their patients. Students can complete their work from home or any remote location, and learning resources are also available around the clock. Flexible 8-week sessions make it easier for students to take time off when they need a break or take care of personal matters. Additionally, students received top-notch education from faculty members who are professionals in the field. Also, the program focuses on team skills and collaboration to produce graduates who can help improve the healthcare industry.

Slippery Rock is a public university with a great reputation for producing high-quality graduates. This midsize school has approximately 7,000 undergraduate students. So, applicants who wish to make a good impression with the admissions committee should spend enough time making their applications stand out. Slippery Rock accepts just 71% of students who apply. Additionally, the school offers a wide variety of majors, including everything from nutrition and wellness to occupational safety. Because the school graduates 68% of incoming first-year students, it is above 49%.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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24. Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University is one of the most affordable online RN to BSN programs in the country. There are many benefits to attending this program, including its 100% online format. First, the program boasts a practice experience that students can help design according to their preferences. Additionally, the asynchronous format of online classes allows students to listen to course lectures and complete their assignments on their own schedule. Most students complete the program three semesters attending full-time. However, it may take longer for students who attend part-time. Discussions, practice experience, and other coursework help students learn to care for patients from different cultural, ethnic, and also social backgrounds. Talented faculty and staff with graduate or doctorate degrees teach the program.

Bowling Green is a public university in the Toledo area of Ohio. Its undergraduate student body numbers 13,000, so applicants face stiff competition. The school accepts just 72% of those who apply but offers majors ranging from education to teaching to psychology. Additionally, Bowling Green ranks among the top five Ohio universities.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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25. University of North Carolina Wilmington

The University of North Carolina Wilmington online RN to BSN program is one of the most affordable programs available. This degree prepares professionals who have not yet completed their baccalaureate degree but have their registered nursing license. Students learn to provide family-centered professional nursing care. Furthermore, the skills and knowledge gained can help them improve their job prospects. The program also provides a firm foundation for graduates who want to move on to complete their graduate work in nursing. The program also emphasizes material included in the most recent national licensing exams. So, students update their knowledge and experience and enhance their on-the-job performance.

UNC Wilmington has 13,000 students enrolled in baccalaureate programs. This large public university values diversity and also takes it into account when screening applicants. The school accepts 72% of those who apply. So, UNC Wilmington has an excellent retention rate and graduates 72% of incoming first-year students, more than 23% higher than the national average. The university also ranks among the top four public universities in the state.

Cost Per Credit Hour: $$$$

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How Long Does it Take to Complete one of the Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs?

The amount of time it takes to complete the BSN depends on the program you choose and the amount of education you have already completed. A BSN is a bachelor’s degree program, so it typically takes four years to complete.

However, the RN-to-BSN is different. Most RN’s already have an associate’s degree, which means you likely have at least two years of college courses completed already. An associate’s degree is usually about 60 credits. Therefore, if you enroll in a regular RN-to-BSN program, you will need to have a total of 120 credits for graduation.

You can take a fast-track RN-to-BSN program if you want to get your degree faster. These programs take about 12 months on average to complete. A fast-track program is primarily for working RNs. The program lets you earn course credit based on your experience as an RN.


Why is it Essential For an Online RN to BSN Program to Be Accredited?

Choosing an accredited RN to BSN online program is a critical step in your nursing education. First, this choice can determine the types of jobs you can perform. Additionally, it can affect admission to other programs and your ability to qualify for financial aid. Both the nursing school and the nursing program you enroll in should be accredited. 

Students who completed an accredited nursing program are more likely to get hired. Furthermore, graduating from an accredited nursing program is usually a condition of employment in the nursing field. Accreditation is a way employers can make sure you receive the required education for the job. Because accredited programs meet the minimum standards set by a U.S. Department of Education, employers know you have the proper instruction.


The NCLEX Exam and Accreditation

Only students who complete an accredited nursing program can sit for the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX is the exam that you obtain nursing licensure through. So, if you have not attended an accredited program, you will not be able to get a nursing license.

Those attending non-accredited schools often find themselves with credits they cannot transfer. As a result, they end up having to retake the same preliminary courses from an accredited university or online program before they can pursue a higher-level program. The following are the RN to BSN online programs accreditation governing boards:

  • Commission on College Nursing Education
  • The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools

Your Career

To achieve your educational nursing goals in the fastest and most economical route, your nursing program and school must be accredited. Choosing one of the Most Affordable Online RN to BSN Programs for the next step in your nursing career will put you on the path to success! Then after you earn your BSN you can explore the next step and earn an MSN. Popular nursing master’s programs that pay well are in Informatics, Family Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Educators, and Psychiatric Nursing.


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Sandra Janowicz
Author

Keeley Jones
Registered Nurse

Carrie Sealey-Morris
Editor-in-Chief