Completing your Bachelors Degree in Nursing is one of the major steps in securing long term job employment. A BSN degree will set you apart from those who only have their Associates Degree in Nursing(ADN). Healthcare employers are now aggressively hiring BSNs while they scale back their hiring of ADN prepared nurses. Getting your BSN degree will propel you to a very fast growing career in the healthcare profession. You will learn not only all conceptual information about nursing, but also how to apply a holistic approach.
A Bachelors of Science in Nursing can be earned in 4 years. These nursing programs are often referred to as prelicensure BSN programs. There are also accelerated BSN programs that offer bachelors degrees to those who have obtained a degree in a non nursing field. An accelerated BSN for a student with a non-nursing degree can be completed in 18 to 24 months.
Bachelors of Science in Nursing degrees can be earned in places like state and private universities. Hospital diploma programs are also a great option; however, diploma programs are fairly rare these days. In California, many Cal State Universities have “RN to BSN Bridge Programs”. These “Bridge” programs typically take 12 months to complete.
Bachelors Degree In Nursing Curriculum
As far as the curriculum goes, a BSN degree program is broken into 4 sections. The sections are:
- An academic portion where students are taught the concepts of nursing.
- Skills labratories where students will be overseen by their teacher when performing skills necessary to administer the nursing job description.
- Clinical training is given by programs who accept non-nurses which there are some who do, but most programs require students to be an RN already which will take away the need for providing them with clinical training. Although if a course offers clinical training it is done near the conclusion of the bachelors nursing degree program in which the students are taken to a facility where nurses work and learn from the nurses both visually as well as performing basic care allowing them to get an immense amount of hands on training and preperation for when they get their first job as a nurse.
- The other major portion that is integrated into a bachelors nursing degree program is where students are able to pick a certain specialty that they are most interested in. You then put in hours learning the basics of what encompasses working a job in that particular nursing specialty.
Nearly 75 percent of those who have obtained their bachelors degree in nursing completed an associate degree in nursing program first. They then worked towards their four year degree. This can be due to many reasons. Many nurses earn their ADN, then spend several years getting hands-on experience. After hands-on experience, many of these nurses pursue their BSN. Another reason is that an ADN degree can be earned in just 2 years. One of the most common reasons for experienced nurses pursuing a BSN is that many hospitals now require a Bachelors for an entry level position.
BSN Program Prerequisites
Most BSN programs, especially in California, have prerequisites that need to be met. One thing admissions officers want to ensure is that the student is cut out for a career in nursing. Because of this, many nursing schools require that students complete a CNA program before applying. This CNA prerequisite helps weed out students who have a problem with blood, vomit, etc.
As a general rule, students need to have a 2.5 GPA or higher, as well as 2 letters of recommendation. For accelerated nursing programs, schools typically want a higher GPA. This is because accelerated programs are academically challenging.
Accredited Schools Offering A Bachelors Degree In Nursing
If you are interested in earning your bachelors degree in nursing that will let you start you career in nursing, the most important aspect of doing your training in finding a school that is approved by your state. Both the NLNAC(National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission) and the CCNE(Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) are such accrediting agencies. If the program you’re researching isn’t accredited by either the NLNAC or CCNE, look elsewhere. If the program isn’t properly accredited, you’ll be spending time and money on a nursing program that won’t lead to licensure.
Options Available After Earning Your BSN
Once you’ve completed your BSN, you’ll have a wide variety of options as far as what type of jobs you can apply for. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows employment opportunities are excellent for those who hold their BSN. Some of the career options include:
- General Registered Nurse
- Primary Care Nurse Manager
- Clinical Audit Manager
- Nursing Manager or Nursing Director
- Case Manager
- Staff Development
If you have already completed your bachelors degree in nursing, the next step can be completing a BSN to MSN program.
BSN Salary Vs LVN Salary
If you’re looking to enter the nursing profession in a short period of time, vocational nursing may be a great first step. LVNs are the backbone of such places as skilled nursing facilities and physical rehab centers. LVN programs take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to complete. These shorter program lengths are part of what draw students interested in nursing into vocational nursing schools. If you are interested in vocational nursing, you want to make sure the program is properly approved by the state. As an example, LVN programs in California must be approved by the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.
Average LVN Salary
Because vocational nursing is considered an entry level position in the nursing field, the average LVN salary reflects that. The median annual pay for vocational nurses is currently $44,090. Vocational nurses who specialize in Home Health are on the higher end of the payscale, while LVNs in skilled nursing facilities are on the lower end.
LVNs can significantly increase their pay by taking either an LVN to RN program, or an LVN to BSN program. These programs take 2 years to complete, on average.
Average BSN Salary
The average annual pay for a nurse with a BSN degree is now $72,550. The biggest reason for the difference in pay between LVNs and BSNs is obviously the level of education. BSN nurses have earned a Bachelors degree, which typically takes at least 4 years to complete.
BSN-prepared nurses who want to increase their salary may consider taking an accredited BSN to MSN program. These programs usually take 12 to 18 months to complete. Many MSN-prepared nurses go into either education or research. A research MSN nurse can make as much as $102,000 per year.