A registered nurse (RN) can further her career through one of several nursing programs to qualify for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). RN to BSN courses are usually aimed at working registered nurses, who do not have the time to take a regular nursing degree and require some flexibility in their learning hours. The RN to BSN courses are generally shorter than the full course to earn a BSN, as the qualification to become a registered nurse usually makes up much of the same initial study matter for the BSN.
Who can become a nurse?
Anyone can apply to study in the field of nursing, but the nature of the job and the length of time it takes to become qualified means that most registered nurses end up being people who are passionate about the subject and wish to dedicate their lives to helping others.
Where do I study?
While there are no specific RN to BSN schools, many universities have RN to BSN courses available. The academic requirements for the RN to BSN course will be set by the university or college that it is available through, although they will consistently have to have successfully completed a nursing program and become a registered nurse beforehand.
To become a registered nurse, a person must complete a nursing program (usually a degree) from a college or university that enables them to become eligible for, and then pass, a national licensing examination. The duties of a registered nurse vary from state to state in the U.S., with each state having its own Nurse Practice Act, which determines the legal requirements, regulations and duties of a registered nurse.
The registered nurse is a very hands-on and practical position, requiring many hours of hospital time and involvement with patients. Some people may wish to advance further than this position to a more academic and research-oriented role, which can be facilitated by gaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Why gain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing?
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing allows a registered nurse to move into a more supervisory role, and opens up career options such as becoming a nurse educator, at either a college or university as a professor, or allows a registered nurse to progress into research into nursing informatics, science or leadership job positions.
The BSN enables registered nurses to apply for clinical managerial roles such as a Healthcare Risk Manager or Clinical Nurse Manager, directorial roles such as a Director of Case Management or Director of Education, or other job roles such as Chief Nursing Officer or Charge Nurse.
What is the RN to BSN degree curriculum like?
A RN to BSN degree curriculum usually spans four years at a college or university, but it is also possible to do a course online through several universities. These courses allow you to manage your own work schedule, so you can organise it around your ordinary working hours. The course is usually split so that the first two years consists of general educational courses, and the second two years consists of specific nursing courses. At the end of the course path, the student has earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, this does require a lot of personal discipline.
As with most degree courses, RN to BSN degree courses require a certain number of credit hours to complete (usually around 120), with these being split over several areas. The registered nurses’ licensure is usually around a quarter of the points, with approximately half being taken up by general core education and core sciences, and the rest on specialized nursing courses. This means that it can take less time for a registered nurse to earn the BSN qualification, as opposed to someone who is not a registered nurse, and thus would have to complete a BSN course in its entirety.
These nursing courses cover subjects such as professional nursing, how to directly apply professional nursing concepts, advanced care procedures, leadership in nursing and health care, evidence-based nursing care, information management, and community-focused nursing work.
What will I need?
The courses usually require a large number of textbooks as course materials for the curriculum. These are generally not cheap, with prices for them ranging between $35 to over $200 per set, but they can easily be found on auction websites or second-hand through ex-students who no longer require them and wish to sell them on to help out a student on a budget. As each course requires a different textbook that is pertinent to its specialization, you may need to purchase over a dozen books to complete the degree course.
This, In addition to other normal student fees one accrues through university or college, can make becoming a Bachelor of Science in Nursing a very expensive prospect, as you are likely to incur large debts. However, the BSN allows the registered nurse to go from their $60,000 per year salary to $70-80,000 if they were to take a position as a charge nurse and from $90,000 to $135,000 per year as a chief nursing officer, for example.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics’ produced Occupational Outlook Handbook 2011 edition states that the outlook of the nursing job market to be excellent at all levels. Healthcare is a growing industry, and as population increases, the demand for healthcare increases with it. Registered nurses are the most widely-employed kind of nursing professionals, with over 2.3 million estimated to be employed in the United States alone, a figure that has grown substantially over the last ten years.
The growth of the industry means that there will be an increase in managerial positions as new facilities open or as old facilities grow, so nursing management is one of the current hot job prospects. Because of this, RN to BSN degree courses are expected to become more popular and widely-available as more registered nurses move into the newly-created job spaces.
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