If you are already in the field of nursing, you know there are several types of nursing degrees. When you have obtained an associate's degree in nursing, you are considered a registered nurse, or RN. As an RN, you may administer medications to patients. Your responsibilities may also include keeping medical records and interacting with the family members of patients.
Although being an RN can be fulfilling, you may want to expand upon your nursing skills. If so, a BSN may be the next logical step in your nursing education. The term “BSN” stands for “bachelor's of science in nursing.” There are many reasons why you may wish to pursue a BSN. Below you will find information about why a BSN degree is useful, as well as how to obtain one.
Reasons to Enroll in an RN to BSN Program
You may be wondering if you can have a successful career as an RN without getting a BSN degree. The answer depends on the specialty you wish to pursue. Many nurses who hold RN degrees opt to specialize in specific fields, such as pediatrics. The environment in which you hope to work and the salary you prefer may also influence your desire to enroll in an RN to BSN program. If you hold a BSN:
You are likely to get priority consideration when applying for nursing jobs against nurses who only hold RN degrees.
Your salary is likely to be higher than it would otherwise be.
You are more likely to be hired to work in a hospital, as opposed to a rehabilitation center or in-home care program.
Holding a BSN allows you to study for a master's degree or doctoral agree, if you so choose. Such degrees allow you to become a nurse practitioner or nurse educator.
Typical BSN Positions
You might wonder about the types of nursing positions typically requiring a BSN. One of the largest opportunities you can take advantage of as a BSN holder is working for the United States military. All major military branches require you to hold a bachelor's degree or higher degree in order to serve as a nurse. Additionally, most positions offered by the United States Veteran's Administration (VA) require you to hold a BSN in order to apply.
Many non-military nursing positions require a BSN as well. A head nurse, also called a charge nurse, must usually hold a BSN. A charge nurse typically monitors other nurses on staff, coordinates patient admissions, and oversees discharge processes. A nurse case worker must also typically hold a BSN. The duties of a nurse case worker include coordinating with doctors and insurance companies to establish patient care plans.
RN to BSN Program Prerequisites
RN to BSN program prerequisites are not always the same. They can vary somewhat by state, as well as by college. You must always have a current, legal RN license to enroll in such a program. You may also encounter prerequisites such as:
Minimum high school ACT or SAT scores.
High school GPA of at least 3.5 in many cases. Some programs allow a 2.0 or higher GPA.
Four years of high school English courses.
Two years of foreign language courses.
Completion of certain math courses, such as geometry and algebra.
Popular Schools Offering RN to BSN Programs
Colleges all over the United States offer RN to BSN degrees. It is likely that you can easily find one close to where you live. However, if you are less concerned with proximity and more concerned with how popular a BSN program is, here are some of the top schools to consider:
Online Versus On-Campus RN to BSN Programs
There are many ways to get an RN to BSN degree. You can attend on-campus classes. Alternatively, there are some courses you can enroll in that offer a combination of on-campus and at-home learning. Such hybrid courses usually require you to show off your practical skills in real-world scenarios after completing at-home assignments.
An online hybrid course may be the best option if you are a busy parent, have a full-time job, or live in an area where a daily commute to a college is unrealistic. However, it is important to understand that you must usually still complete the at-home components of a RN to BSN program by specific deadlines. Finding a program that allows you to go completely at your own pace may be impossible. An RN to BSN program contains a lot of educational material and requires a large time commitment on your part.
Typical RN to BSN Program Length
If you are wondering about the time commitment required to earn a RN to BSN degree, be prepared for a major time investment. Although programs vary from state to state and school to school, an on-campus program usually takes four full years to complete. If you are ambitious and have a lot of spare time, you can potentially complete an online hybrid program in approximately half that time. Make sure you have the time to invest before taking on the challenge of obtaining your BSN.