20 Oct BSN | Bachelor of Science in Nursing
The healthcare field has gone through a lot of changes in the recent years to meet the demands of the increasingly complex industry. Nowadays, registered nurses serve a significant number of elderly population, mostly with multiple chronic medical conditions, while also utilizing the advanced tools at their disposal. As these healthcare professionals continue to serve as primary caregivers and as the scope of nursing grows, improving the educational qualifications of today’s registered nurses is still a key focus.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing or AACN recognizes the traditional four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree as the best program to achieve to get an experiential base to enter into professional practice. Although there are some faster options that serve as a stepping stone for a nursing career, the BSN degree program remains to be a key focus for anyone who considers nursing as his/her permanent job.
The AACN reports that there is continues demand for nurses in the healthcare system in the United States, regardless of the economic downturn a few years ago. These healthcare providers should have certain qualifications that will make them meet the requirements of the state and the federal government. They must also go beyond the traditional areas of focus or specializations to ensure that nurses have a good understanding of health promotion, genetic counseling, screening and immunization, and disease prevention.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs are provided by various colleges and universities in the country, and AACN is just one of the nursing organizations that recognizes the importance of completing such degree. The complexity of the healthcare field is what makes the profession challenging.
That is why, nurses or healthcare professionals are encouraged to pursue a baccalaureate degree to have a proper assessment, analysis and evaluation on certain health problems, human psychology, behavior and social/cultural values.
This four-year course can be obtained in different pathways, and all of them are designed to prepare the aspiring baccalaureate degree holders to be equipped and professionally qualified to serve a diverse group of patients.
A pre-licensure or an entry-level Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is a four-year degree program designed for individuals who do not hold any state nursing license and who have no prior work experience or education as a nurse. Some of these BSN programs have flexible class schedules, while others offer part-time study, campus-based study, distance learning education or a combination of online and classroom study.
These programs, regardless of its nature, will require completion of clinical experiences in local healthcare facilities. Students who graduated from the pre-licensure or entry-level BSN program are already eligible to take the NCLEX-RN licensing exam and apply for a Registered Nurse license through the state’s Board of Nursing.
BSN programs in the United States are offered by various colleges and universities, and many of which are offered through online or distance learning education, or a combination of online and classroom coursework. Candidates for the program should make sure that the BSN program they are taking, whether campus-based or online, is accredited by a recognized office to make them eligible for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam. The two recognized agencies accrediting the Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs in the U.S. are;
- Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education or CCNE
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing or ACEN
Before a student can enter the BSN program, he/she must be able to meet the school’s general entrance requirements, which usually includes a high school diploma or GED equivalent, a completed program application, a minimum high school GPA requirements or a minimum SAT requirements. Several colleges and universities, particularly those who performed well in the licensure exam, require their student applicants to submit an essay, personal or professional references and sit for a personal interview with their admission’s officer or college dean. The admission process allows the college or university to assess the strengths and goals of the applicants, and learn from their values and integrity.
The traditional or pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is divided into two distinct units; the first two years is a completion of general education requirements or the pre-requisites, and the junior and senior years is the completion of nursing core subjects and clinical experiences.
One good thing about the BSN program is it offers flexibility to students. However, if you want to determine whether you are a good fit for this baccalaureate degree, you have to consider the three types of BSN students;
- An aspiring Registered Nurse who attends a four-year BSN course in a college or university
- A Registered Nurse who want to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and who enrolls in an RN to BSN bridging course
- A student who earned a Bachelor’s degree in a different field and who enrolls in an accelerated BSN program
If you found yourself in any of these BSN student types, then you have to make a commitment to evaluate your lifestyle and needs based on these questions.
- How much can I afford to pay the tuition fees and miscellaneous expenses?
- Do I need to work while studying a BSN program?
- How much time do I need to complete the course while having other commitments?
There are several things to take into account when taking a BSN program, but on top of all these, you have to know what type of student are you. Some individuals prefer an on-campus training with lots of interaction from peers and professors, while others thrive in an online program where they can work at their pace and afford a less expensive option for a BSN education. The good thing about these needs is it can be met by various online and on-campus programs from different colleges and universities in the country. There is no shortage of schools for the BSN program, so you only have to weigh the options available for you.
Most baccalaureate curriculum provided by the colleges and universities across the country are grounded in a liberal arts education which have the following courses;
- Social Sciences
- Basic Sciences
These subjects will give the students a solid foundation in understanding their profession, particularly in discovering their strengths in the nursing field. Nursing core courses are not offered until a student completed the general education requirements and passed the minimum GPA.
BSN Core Nursing Subjects and Clinical Experiences
Once the pre-requisites are completed successfully, students will proceed to core nursing curriculum which focuses on the nursing sciences. During this time, students are exposed to various nursing theory, clinical skills and nursing concepts applicable in the delivery of healthcare within the healthcare system.
The coursework in the core nursing curriculum includes;
- Mental Health Nursing
- Nurse Leadership
- Family Planning
- Health Promotion
- Home healthcare
- Community Health Nursing
- Medical and Surgical Care
- Adult and Pediatric Care
- Occupational Health
- Leadership and Management
These nurse core subjects will be supplemented with clinical experiences in a variety of settings like;
- Private/community hospitals
- Health maintenance organizations
- Social services agencies
Although schools have different requirements for clinical experiences, students are expected to complete at least three clinical hours in every one hour of classroom education.
In addition to the general education requirements like English, the BSN program will also incorporate both coursework and clinical practice. Students will learn anatomy and physiology, nutrition, biology and other relevant topics.
If you have earned an Associate degree already, you have the option to enroll in an RN to BSN program. This type of bridging course uses the associate degree in nursing as a jumping off the point in the BSN program. This baccalaureate pathway will also contain the same science-based learning as well as nursing skills instruction. Topics usually include
- Health assessment
- Emergency care
- Public and global health
- Research and scholarship for evidence-based practice
- Issues and trends in nursing
- Family, community and population-based care
BSN Program Outcomes
After obtaining a BSN degree, job search usually begins. There are plenty of healthcare facilities looking for Registered Nurses with this kind of credential. Even though the nurse’s role is the same wherever they work, some of their tasks may vary depending on the facility they are employed in. Most nurses with a BSN degree work in leadership roles, supervising other nurses with an associate degree or certification. They are also expected to play a vital role in high-stakes situations.
Among the set of responsibilities that a nurse with a BSN degree have are;
- Administering medications and injections
- Creating nursing care treatment plans
- Assisting doctors in minor or major procedures
- Performing routine laboratory work
- Treating patients with injuries, illnesses and other types of medical conditions
- Supervising other nurses based on patient care plans
- Educating patients on how to improve certain health habits
- Providing support to patients and their families in coping a particular medical condition or illness.
Careers with BSN Degree
By earning a BSN degree, several workplace options will be available. Many nurses start their career in a hospital setting where they encounter a broad range of medical conditions. However, there are still a lot of areas in the healthcare field where skilled nurses can be employed.
- Private medical and surgical hospitals. There is approximately 48% of the BSN holder nurses working in private hospitals. In this kind of setting, they will treat a broad spectrum of injuries and illnesses. Some nurses will work in the emergency room, maternity ward or surgical ward.
- Public medical and surgical hospitals. Nurses can also work in public and surgical hospitals. This hospital setting is becoming less common in the country, but it can be a great venue to learn a lot and be exposed to different patients with certain medical conditions.
- Physician’s offices. Working in a physician’s clinic has better regularity in hours and fewer emergency situations. Most nurses employed in this kind of setting are responsible for preparing patients, overseeing medical records and giving injections.
- Nursing care facilities. The duties of nurses in this type of service include assisting patients in their daily activities and providing elderly care. They are also responsible for the rehabilitation of patients who are recently released from hospitals.
- Home health care services. In this kind of healthcare setting, nurses have to make sure that their patient receives the appropriate medications and care. Most of the patients in home health care services are children with medical needs or adults who cannot care for themselves.
Upon completing the BSN program, an individual needs to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-RN. This exam may be challenging, but the bachelor’s degree will prepare its graduate for the examination. For individuals who are already Registered Nurses and who completed the RN to BSN degree program, there is no need to retake the NCLEX-RN exam. However, a retake may be necessary if a Registered Nurse decided to practice in another state.
Moreover, a continuing education is necessary to be updated with the latest techniques and procedures in the healthcare field. Depending on the state where a nurse works, the number of hours of continuing education varies. It is better to check the state board of nursing to know the latest requirements for continuing education.
On the flip side, nurses holding a BSN degree often enjoy great success in their career. Other than the higher salary and benefits, they can also go further in their education through an MSN or doctorate degree program, to broaden their career paths and focus on certain roles like administrative roles and nurse practitioner positions. Pursuing a higher degree will also bring a lot of opportunities. If you are considering to take this bold move, find out if your employer offers tuition assistance. Some facilities provide tuition assistance to their nurses who want to return to school to earn a higher degree in nursing. A return service may be required from you once you take the tuition assistance program.
The decision to upgrade the BSN education depends on you. The healthcare field provides vast opportunities for individuals who excel and who equip themselves with proper training and education. If you continuously study, you can assume supervisory roles or teaching jobs in different schools.
Best BSN Programs
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University of Maryland – Baltimore is a nursing school based in Baltimore, MD, Maryland. There are currently over 6000 students enrolled in this school. University of Maryland – Baltimore is an accred...
University of North Carolina is a nursing school based in Chapel Hill, NC, North Carolina. There are currently 15600 students enrolled in this school. University of North Carolina is an accredited col...
University of Pennsylvania is a nursing school based in Philadelphia, PA, Pennsylvania. There are currently over 24 000 students enrolled in this school. University of Pennsylvania is an accredited co...
University of Pittsburgh is a nursing school based in Pittsburgh, PA, Pennsylvania. There are currently over 28 000 students enrolled in this school. University of Pittsburgh is an accredited college....
University of Washington is a nursing school based in Seattle, WA, Washington. There are currently 43000 students enrolled in this school. University of Washington is an accredited college. The school...