What Is a BSN Degree and BSN Nurse?

The acronym “BSN” stands for Bachelor of Science in Nursing, signifying an undergraduate-level credential tailored for registered nurses (RNs). This comprehensive degree delves into various facets of nursing, encompassing patient care technology, research methodologies, health promotion strategies, safety protocols, and the assurance of quality within the healthcare system. Employers frequently require BSN qualifications for registered nurses, as it bestows them with heightened responsibilities, supervisory roles, and augmented salaries compared to counterparts holding an associate degree. In fact, certain hospitals mandate that registered nurses possess a BSN to be eligible for employment.

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The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) bestows a Magnet designation upon hospitals that stipulate nurse leaders must possess a BSN. These Magnet-status hospitals are renowned for providing exemplary working conditions for nurses and maintaining the highest standards of patient care. Prospective nurses aspiring to work in such hospitals must hold a BSN to meet the employment criteria.

For a more in-depth understanding of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, one can explore the program’s content, the steps involved in earning the degree, and the compelling reasons for choosing this professional trajectory.

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What Is a BSN Nurse?

A BSN nurse is a registered nurse with a license and a baccalaureate preparation. The scope of work for BSN nurses extends beyond hospitals, encompassing various settings such as community care, private residences, outpatient centers, schools, and clinics. BSN-qualified nurses enjoy a broader array of career options and the opportunity to access higher-paying roles, including specialized positions and managerial responsibilities.

The primary responsibilities of BSN nurses include:
1. Educating patients and their families about their medical conditions and treatments.
2. Setting up patient care plans alongside doctors and other nurses.
3. Administering treatments to injured, disabled, or ill patients.
4. Monitoring patient health statuses.
5. Recording medical histories.
6. Reviewing and maintaining medical records.
7. Assessing patient symptoms and conditions.

BSNs are known to command higher average salaries compared to their counterparts with RN qualifications. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses earned a median salary of $77,600 in 2021. Research from PayScale further highlights that BSN nurses earn an average annual salary of $89,000, exceeding the earnings of RNs by over $10,000.

An Overview of the BSN Degree

The process of earning a BSN typically spans four years and entails fulfilling general education requirements along with specialized nursing classes. This program is meticulously crafted for aspiring nurses entering the profession, aiming to make a significant impact on patient care, enhance their skills, and gain access to higher salary brackets. Upon successfully completing the educational requirements, aspiring nurses are required to pass the NCLEX-RN© licensing examination to demonstrate their competence.

The demand for BSN-qualified nurses is growing, propelled by factors such as the prevalence of widespread diseases like COVID-19 and an aging baby boomer population. Researchers predict a potential shortage of registered nurses ranging from 200,000 to 450,000 by 2025, underscoring the pressing need for new nurses. The healthcare industry’s increasing complexity, marked by the introduction of life-saving technologies, emphasizes the critical role of highly educated registered nurses holding bachelor’s degrees.

Earning a BSN Degree

For individuals considering a career in nursing, WGU offers three distinctive nursing program options to earn a BSN degree:

1. Traditional BSN 

BSN (Prelicensure) program is an excellent choice for those who dream of becoming nurses. It’s a unique program where aspiring nurses can not only earn their registered nurse (RN) license but also achieve their BSN degree, all in one comprehensive program.

In this program, nursing students work closely with their Program Mentor and Course Instructors to get ready for challenging assessments and virtual reality simulations. After successfully completing these components, students move on to clinical rotations. Between these rotations, simulation labs, and regular schoolwork, students dedicate at least 30 hours a week to complete the degree. The curriculum is carefully crafted to transform students into exceptional nurses, ready to play a vital role in patient care and contribute effectively to a healthcare team. The traditional BSN program follows a standard path and pace, with a completion time of 2.5 years.

2. RN to BSN

For students who are already working as nurses and wish to further their education, they can get RN-to-BSN programs. This program is designed to help current RNs earn a bachelor’s degree, bridging the gap between an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a BSN. Specifically crafted for current RNs, this program enables them to enhance their skills, improve patient outcomes, and contribute positively to community health. It’s a valuable opportunity for nurses to strengthen their résumés, enhance job security, maximize earning potential, and deliver even better care to their patients.

3. Accelerated BSN

For students eager to kickstart their nursing careers at an accelerated pace, they can get an accelerated BSN program. This program allows students to simultaneously earn their RN and BSN in an expedited manner compared to the traditional BSN program.

There are significant advantages to pursuing a BSN degree online. Online learning offers unparalleled flexibility compared to traditional on-campus schooling. It allows students to complete their degrees within their preferred time frame. Most importantly, it paves the way for a rewarding career dedicated to caring for those in need.

Reasons to Consider a BSN Degree

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree brings numerous advantages for nurses aiming to advance their careers. For registered nurses (RNs) aspiring for long-term success in the healthcare field, obtaining a bachelor’s degree is a guaranteed pathway to their career goals. Even those who are not yet RNs but are eager to start a healthcare career can expedite their journey through an RN-to-BSN program. This program allows them to earn the necessary credentials and receive a comprehensive education simultaneously. Some hospitals even offer tuition reimbursement programs to support registered nurses pursuing a BSN.

It’s a clear fact: becoming a nurse is an excellent and secure career choice. The employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031, creating an average of 203,200 new jobs per year, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Having a BSN degree helps nurses stand out to employers. For those with even greater ambitions, pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree or a Doctor of Nursing Practice becomes an option, with a BSN degree serving as a prerequisite.

Apply to a BSN Degree Program

Applying to a BSN degree program is a step towards a fulfilling career of caring for others, and choosing an online BSN degree from WGU offers several major advantages:

1. Affordability

Nursing degree is cost-effective. Per-term fees allow students to take as many classes as they can handle each semester, ultimately reducing the overall cost of their nursing education. Completing the program faster means paying less for the degree.

2. Competency-Based Programs

This approach puts students in control. They can complete courses on their schedule, progressing to the next step once they master the material. The focus is on maximizing the impact of students’ time, ensuring they learn and master skills that are directly applicable in the field.

3. Career Opportunities

A BSN opens doors in the nursing career. Graduate BSN program possess the knowledge and clinical experience to steer their nursing careers in any direction. They are in demand and prepared to take on new roles, contributing to the improvement and maintenance of patient and community health. Additionally, it positions them to pursue an MSN and specialize in areas like nursing informatics, nurse education, or nursing leadership and management.

4. Success in the Nursing Field

A BSN degree program helps individuals develop the knowledge and experience essential for success in the nursing field. As more hospitals aim for magnet status, a BSN becomes instrumental in contributing to that goal and acquiring better credentials and skills to enhance patient and community care.

Whether someone is already an RN or starting their journey from scratch, exploring more about these programs initiates the journey towards becoming a nurse with a positive impact on healthcare.

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