A registered nurse (RN) is a health care professional who provides medical care to patients, emotional support to family members and education to patients, caregivers and the general public. A bachelor's degree is a common educational path to become an RN, and nursing schools offer various Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, depending on the prior education and experience of students. Students who complete BSN programs are prepared to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).
Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A traditional BSN is intended for students with no previous nursing experience and no previous degree in another field. The programs include general education courses, nursing foundation courses and clinical experiences. The majority of programs consist of a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical components at a local medical facility. Common coursework includes anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition, pharmacology, human growth and development, nursing practices, nursing ethics and health care systems policy.
Licensed Practical Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) to BSN program is for individuals with experience working in a practical nursing position. The program enables students to complete advanced education to acquire the knowledge and skills to pursue a position as an RN. LPN to BSN programs often follow the same curriculum as traditional BSN programs, including core requirements and clinical experiences, but students with a current LPN license are able to receive Advanced Placement credits toward the total degree requirements. Many LPN to BSN programs require the completion of non-nursing courses, such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, psychology and biochemistry prior to admittance to the program. LPN to BSN programs can often be completed within two years.
Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
An RN to BSN program is intended for currently licensed RNs who have completed a diploma or associate degree registered nursing program and have at least one year of clinical working experience as an RN within the past five years. The clinical experience requirement may be waived for students who have completed an RN program within one year of admission to an RN to BSN program. Students receive credit for general education, prerequisite courses and nursing courses, such as anatomy and physiology, chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology, adaptation nursing and clinical practicum. RN to BSN programs generally take approximately 18 months to complete, and some programs require clinical requirements and others do not.
Second Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A second degree accelerated BSN is an option for students who have previously completed a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing area who wish to become RNs. Students are required to complete general education requirements, and many courses from the first bachelor's degree are able to be transferred and applied toward the BSN program. The programs are typically fast-paced and focus on promotion of health, prevention of injury and disease and providing care to a wide range of patients. The programs generally include classroom instruction and clinical and practical experiences under the supervision of nurse preceptors. Accelerated second degree BSN programs are generally completed in less than two years.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses
- Mount Carmel College of Nursing: Traditional Four-Year Program
- Northern Michigan University: LPN to BSN Program (Nursing Major)
- Mount St. Mary's College: RN to BSN Program
- Indiana University School of Nursing: Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Accelerated Track
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