What is a BSN in Nursing?
A BSN in Nursing is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). The BSN degree is the preferred degree for nurses. Many nurses with a BSN either have a Registered Nurses license (nurses that take a RN to BSN program), or take the Registered Nurses certification after getting their BSN (in a 4-year BSN program, for example).
We have 711 BSN Programs in our online database.
The BSN is equivalent to any undergraduate Bachelors degree, but can be achieved a few different ways. Depending on where you currently stand on your path, you may find one method more time-efficient that another.
How Do You Get a BSN in Nursing?
To become a registered nurse, you can take a number of routes including getting an associate’s degree at a community college, a diploma from a hospital-based program, or a Bachelor of Science (BSN) in nursing from a four-year college or university.
Entry Level BSN seeker
If you are a new high school graduate or just a first timer to the collegiate experience, than starting from scratch is probably your best choice. Standard BSN programs are available in both on campus and online formats, as well as carrying an even balance of courses for general education requirements and core nursing expectations.
LPN to BSN
LPNs are an important part of the nursing field, but if you are feeling the urge for more responsibility and potentially more opportunity, than LPN to RN bridge programs are great options. These programs accept licensed LPNs and can possibly be completed in 1-2 years on average. Transitioning to this higher degree program can provide you with more freedom to seek out careers in the field of nursing.
Associate Level RN to BSN
Having an associate’s degree and a license to practice nursing can qualify to take part in RN to BSN bridge programs online or in the classroom.
These specialized programs were designed specifically for individuals that have already achieved a degree in nursing and are looking to advance their degree without starting fresh. Most RN to BSN programs can last 1-2 years and focus mainly on the general aspects of nursing and practice.
Bachelor’s Degree to BSN
Sometimes making the wrong choice for a degree program does not have to be a life sentence. If you started off on the wrong foot by choosing the wrong major for your bachelor’s degree – no problem! Bridge programs are available for nursing-minded individuals that are seeking to transition their current bachelor’s degree to a BSN without discrimination.
Most programs such as this one do not require that your current bachelor’s degree be in any certain field and the program itself can potentially be completed in about 2 years. This is a great option if you are not happy with your current bachelor’s degree and wish to pursue a career in nursing.
How Long Does A BSN Degree Take?
The course of study for a BSN is typically four years in duration if you – re attending full-time, but part-time study may be possible because most programs have flexible class schedules and at least some blended formats. Requirements for entry vary by institution. You must first apply to the college or university, which requires a high school diploma or equivalent, good SAT scores, and successful completion of entrance exams. Some require personal essays and letters of recommendation.
During your freshman and sophomore years, you will take prerequisite classes required for a bachelor’s degree. To be accepted into a nursing major you must also complete pre-nursing classes such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and human development. Your application for a nursing program may also include a criminal background check and screening interviews.
You will have a lot of competition for a few nursing program slots. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported that for the 2009-2010 school year, only about 40 percent of those who applied to BSN programs were accepted. Candidates with high GPAs and healthcare experience (even as a volunteer) have a better chance.
Preparing for the NCLEX
Once you graduate, you will take your RN licensing exam. Resources related to your state’s exam can be found at your state board of nursing’s website, or at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Aside from caring for patients, having your BSN enables you to work in many nursing roles in almost any healthcare setting, or anywhere that a nurse’s expertise is needed such as in case management for an insurance company or private business. Your BSN is also a stepping stone to leadership roles or a graduate degree such as an MSN, DNP, or PhD.
BSN Curriculum to Expect
BSN programs envelop the need for research-oriented expertise as well as compassionate care for patients of all ages and populations. Regardless of which path works best for you, you may find courses that touch on the various aspects of nursing from an advanced standpoint.
You should prepare to analyze various illness and diseases from a proactive stance, with care and control in mind. During the BSN program, you may take part in clinically supervised experience training, which can include applying the knowledge you have gained during course work to patients in an actual setting.
- Critical Care Nursing
- Physical Assessment
- Medical Dosage Calculations
- Evidence-Based Practice and Applied Nursing Research
Why Should I Earn a BSN?
Simply considering the BSN path is much easier than actually taking the plunge into the degree program. You may be wondering what benefit this degree program can provide you in the real world, and how much different this degree is in terms of opportunity. Take a look below at a few of the perks of obtaining your BSN.
You may have the potential to work in more diverse settings.
With a higher level degree, you may find yourself seeking employment in private practices, schools, government, or even private specialties such as airlines and businesses. Opening yourself up to more settings can provide a better sense of satisfaction for your career and keep things fresh through the experience.
You could be considered for management positions.
When a healthcare facility looks for potential management, they are likely going to choose professionals that both excel at their current position and have a degree that is fit with the knowledge needed to lead a team. Since most BSN programs consist of a leadership element, you could be exactly the person that a facility needs to properly manage staff.
Your earnings could be increased.
With a higher degree, you could potentially earn more per year. Take a look below at some salary comparisons for BSN level nurses compared to other related fields and degrees.
- LPN – $43,170 on average per year (BLS; 2015)
- Average Bachelor Degree Holder (All Specialties) – $59,124 on average per year (BLS; 2015)
- BSN – $67,490 on average per year (BLS; 2015)
You can gain entry into graduate level programs.
A lot of master’s level nursing programs require applicants to hold the minimum BSN for entry. The BSN is the building block for higher nursing professions such as nurse midwifery, nurse practitioner, or nurse anesthesiologist. If pursuing more prestigious nursing careers is on your list, than the BSN is likely your best option.
BSN-prepared nurses are receiving more support and preference than ever before.
In a study published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there is increasing support of bachelor’s level nurses from hospitals, organizations, the federal government, military, and health care foundations (AACN, 2015).
These entities seek to increase the number of BSN nurses across the United State, with some facilities working towards making bachelor’s and master’s degree the minimum accepted degree levels for open positions (AACN, 2015).
Check out AACN for more information about this degree.