What is a BSN Degree?
Recognizing the urgent need for qualified and educated nursing professionals, the World Health Assembly has designated 2020 as the “International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife,” and launched a global campaign to “advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce.” According to the World Health Organization, “The world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.”
One investment — for a growing number of nurses — is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a four-year college degree that addresses changes in patient care policies while outfitting nurses with critical management and leadership skills.
What is a BS in Nursing?
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, is an undergraduate degree program that provides registered nurses the education they need to stand out from the competition and excel in their field. By enrolling in a BSN degree program as an RN, nurses will receive the latest knowledge and skills needed to care for patients in the ever-changing nursing field. Additionally, a BSN can provide nurses with the educational experience to take on more responsibilities and pursue management-level roles that often require this in-depth training.
Ashford University launched its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program in 2016 in order to provide nurses with the knowledge and skills needed to advance in their careers. The undergraduate program, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), is comprised of 14 core courses, totaling 42 credits of the 120-degree program, and covers a wide range of increasingly relevant content, from patient care quality and safety to leadership, community health, transcultural care, ethics, and health information technology.
“Many nursing procedures change over time, and the program addresses those changes,” explains LaTonya Santo, EdD, MSN, RN, an associate professor who serves as lead faculty for Ashford’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. “Additionally, many nurses want to obtain leadership positions, and often those positions require a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.”
Students enrolled in the program are eligible for the RN to BSN Grant, which reduces tuition. Those who have also completed the NCLEX-RN® exam — which is required for licensure — prior to enrolling in the program, may also be eligible for college credit, which can shorten their path to graduation.
Why Do I Need a BS in Nursing?
For many nurses who have already obtained licensure, the motivation to earn a bachelor’s degree comes down to job security. In 2017, New York became the first state to mandate all nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing as part of the “BSN in 10” law. BSN-educated nurses are able to provide “optimal patient outcomes,” says Santo.
“Nurses are looking to higher education in order to be more prepared, and Ashford is there to support that need,” she adds.
It’s not just state mandates that are driving the push for college-educated nurses. Demand for registered nurses is growing much faster than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, due to “an increased emphasis on preventive care; growing rates of chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity; and demand for healthcare services from the baby-boom population, as they live longer and more active lives.”
What Will I Learn in the BS in Nursing?
Ashford University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing will help you develop the technical and personal skills required to meet the needs of a growing patient population. While many nurses begin their careers with a two-year degree or diploma, Santo says a bachelor’s degree program better prepares you by focusing on three critical areas: research, leadership, and community public health.
“The bachelor’s program focuses on caring for a population of people versus one patient,” she explains. “Gone are the days when you could stay in the hospital for weeks with a minor illness. Healthcare has moved from hospitals into the community, with a focus on wellness, health promotion, and illness prevention.”
The BSN focuses as much on personal development as it does professional development. Ethics, critical thinking, research abilities, and health information technology all factor significantly into the course curriculum. Students are also required to complete 90 hours of practice experience that is integrated into three courses and two capstone courses:
- NUR 300 Professional Role Development and Practice in Nursing (20 hours)
- NUR 402 Community Health Nursing (20 hours)
- NUR 406 Leading and Managing in Nursing (20 hours)
- NUR 492 Capstone I: Nursing Practice Improvement Inquiry and NUR 494 Capstone II: Nursing Practice Improvement and Evaluation (30 hours)
These practice experiences are designed to enable you to develop professional competencies in practice settings in collaboration with providers in the field and their community. They include specific objectives, expected outcomes, and competencies that are evaluated by BSN faculty.
RN to BSN – Additional Admissions Requirements
Applicants seeking admission to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program must meet the following admission requirements prior to the start of the first course at Ashford University:
- Possess a current, active, unrestricted license to practice as a Registered Nurse or its equivalent in at least one U.S. state. Students must maintain an active unrestricted license throughout the program.
- Have earned a nursing (hospital) diploma or Associate degree in Nursing from a regionally accredited or approved nationally accredited college or university**.
- Have earned a grade of C- or higher in Microbiology (with lab), or equivalent, from a regionally accredited or approved nationally accredited institution**.
What’s the Difference Between an RN and BSN?
When determining which path to take your career, it’s easy to be confounded by the various professional credentials; and which ones you need to acquire in order to reach your goal. A registered nurse, or RN, is a nurse who holds a nursing diploma or Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). To become a registered nurse, you must also pass the NCLEX-RN® exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and also meet all the licensing requirements mandated by your state's board of nursing. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, represents your level of education. The bachelor’s degree is often required in order for you to compete for larger opportunities in the nursing field, which is why many of today’s RN’s are returning to school.
What Can I Do With a BS in Nursing?
Ashford University’s BS in Nursing is designed to prepare nurses for the next step in their careers while taking into account the impact of technology and outside forces — such as legislation and lawsuits — on the industry. Those who are hoping to advance can use their degrees to pursue new roles, including:
- Clinical Director
- Director of Nursing
- Nurse Manager
- Practice Administrator
- Program Manager
- Public Health Nurse
- School Nurse
- Nurse Educator
- Home Health Nurse
- Telehealth Nurse
With courses that immerse you in areas of leadership, theory, health informatics, patient safety, and excellence in practice, Ashford University’s CCNE accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing can help you satisfy the requirements of your field and position you for long-term success. If you’re ready to move up, contact an Ashford University advisor about your Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Written by Ashford University Staff