The BSN degree or the Bachelor of Science in Nursing academic degree is conferred upon a student by a duly accredited institution of higher learning after rigorous training in the science, principles and skills of nursing. The course schedule generally takes from three to four years. It should be noted that a BSN is not a mandatory requirement to become a registered nurse in the US as there are other pathways.
Essentially, the degree in nursing prepares students to join a wide array of professions and post-graduate study. The course units involve nursing science, general sciences, and leadership and research skills with the aim of imparting knowledge on how to practice as a nurse. Equally, students study math, social sciences as well as humanities. The undergraduate degree gives leeway for students to advance their careers and wring out higher earnings. It comes in handy for teaching various fields like consultancy, administration or research roles as it is a common prerequisite.
Types of BSN Programs
Generic or Basic BSN:
This undergraduate degree in nursing targets students who are not Licensed Vocational Nurses/LVN or Registered Nurses/RN. Upon completing this program, students are awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Admissions are dependent on the institutions but applicants should meet points set by each school. The program will take up to three years or less to complete.
LVN to BSN:
This program is designed specifically for licensed LVNs, upon completing and graduating with the BSN degree, students can enroll for the NCLEX-RN. Normally, the LVN to BSN admits candidates to the basic or generic courses based on the slots available. It takes three years generally with part time and full time schedules.
RN to BSN:
Since registration as a nurse does not necessarily entail a BSN degree, RNs without it can join this program to improve their credentials. Since the courses are meant for working nurses, they are flexible while some programs are taught online. It depends on the institution but the program generally takes up to two years.
Accelerated BSN Program/Second Degree in Nursing:
In most tertiary institutions, this program is designed for aspiring nurses who hold an undergraduate degree in other disciplines. Students who graduate from this program with an additional
degree attain eligibility to sit for the NCLEX-RN at the conclusion of their course. These BSN programs have stricter prerequisites as they focus purely on nursing and take from one to two years.
BSN to MSN:
After graduating with the BSN degree, students can enroll for the Masters of Science in Nursing. Other students are allowed to take the generic-entry MSN as to become registered nurses, however, BSN holders pursue specialized fields. BSN holders who undertake the MSN can become nurse educators, psychiatrist mental health clinical nurse specialists, clinical
nurse leaders, advanced public health nurses, family nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists.
Why enroll for a BSN program?
Nurses who lack a Bachelor of Science in Nursing will climb up their career ladder by enrolling in a BSN program. LVNs and inspiring candidates wishing to embark on the bsn degree
should check with their institutions of choice as prerequisites vary but the programs are highly flexible.
Normally, if you are not a licensed RN, this course allows you to sit for the NCLEX-RN to gain registration. RNs supervise LVNs, clinical assistants and orderlies. Job prospects for nurses holding the BSN degree include registered nurses after passing the NCLEX-RN exam, health care providers in homes, hospitals and social institutions, therapists and mutually working with other medical practitioners in patient care programs among others.
Admission Criteria for the BSN Program
As aforementioned, there is no uniform criterion for the BSN programs, thus, every tertiary college has its own prerequisites. Nevertheless, students are generally required to have a GPA of 2.0 and above, a diploma or equivalent course in nursing and other requirements like 60% in subjects such as Chemistry, Biology and Math.
There are other strict requirements like criminal background check, passing special pre admission exams and exceptional qualifications for RN to BSN or generic BSN.
Accreditation for the BSN Programs
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education/CCNE in conjunction with the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing/ACEN are recognized nationally as apex agencies within the US, they have the mandate to maintain standards for the BSN programs and awarding accreditation to nursing tertiary institutions. You must enroll for the BSN in a college accredited by the agencies.