The RN to BSN completion program path is gaining popularity and traction within the healthcare world. If you are currently a licensed RN, earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing can be a strategic step on your way up the ladder to a higher salary, greater marketability, and perhaps a leadership role. There’s no doubt that healthcare offices, hospitals, and medical facilities want nurses with more experience, more education, and more drive.
In fact, in the state of New York, registered nurses are now required by law to earn a BSN within 10 years of being licensed as an RN. While this law is currently limited to New York, it is a flashlight pointing to a trend in the world of nursing and healthcare: advanced education matters. Below, we’ll break down the BSN program requirements for a nursing degree such as Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
The Future of Nursing
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine’s “Future of Nursing” report recommended that at least 80% of nurses have a BSN-level education. Organizations such as the American Nurses Association have since endorsed the recommendation due to the growing complexity of the nursing profession. Some 56% of registered nurses have BSN or higher degrees as of 2019, up from 49% in 2010, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
This means the common denominator in the future of nursing degree requirements will be a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. As more baby boomer nurses hit retirement, there will be a shortage of both RNs and BSN graduates. Positioning yourself as an experienced and educated nurse with a BSN may give you a major advantage in the field.
Earning your BSN online can help you qualify for a wider range of jobs in nursing, with courses dedicated to enhancing your leadership skills and patient assessment abilities, which can lead to more advanced roles in management, education, and advocacy. A BSN-educated nurse may hold the ticket to a brighter future and is often poised to pivot to even more advanced levels of nursing.
BSN Education Requirements
Registered nurses can gain strong leadership skills and deep knowledge of relevant, modern nursing trends by enrolling in an RN to BSN program. BSN education requirements for practicing RNs include holding an associate degree in nursing or a diploma from an accredited hospital nursing program. RNs must also have passed the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), which allows them to gain licensure from the state where they work.
Typical Requirements for an RN to BSN Program
An online RN to BSN degree program presents the ideal opportunity for nurses with an active RN license to study to earn their BSN while continuing to work. BSN program requirements cover a wide range of courses to help equip RNs with the necessary skills and knowledge to take on additional responsibilities and advance their careers.
A typical RN to BSN curriculum consists of liberal arts and general education classes, as well as nursing-specific classes. BSN students may take courses in anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, nutrition, psychology, and other social and behavioral sciences. Online academic schedules for BSN students usually allow for flexibility.
Coursework for an online RN to BSN program is framed around assisting students with associate degrees and active, diploma-holding registered nurses. Typical graduation requirements for an RN to BSN degree include holding a valid RN license and completing nearly 90 credit hours. Nurses with associate degrees can seek approval to apply eligible transfer credits to satisfy some or all general education courses.
Maryville’s Online RN to BSN Curriculum
Maryville University’s 100% online RN to BSN program is designed to help working registered nurses develop new skills that they can apply directly to their careers. Courses can be accessed entirely online, and credits can be transferred (upon approval) to speed up the process and complete the BSN as soon as the student’s schedule allows. Maryville is committed to a learning environment in which online courses are fully supported and easily accessible. Additionally, the courses are continually updated, based on healthcare employer feedback and relevant industry trends, to ensure you can develop the expertise to thrive in nursing today.
Students in Maryville’s RN to BSN program follow a curriculum consisting of both general education courses and nursing-specific courses. Nursing courses teach professional nursing skills with an in-depth approach to healthcare leadership, family assessment, nursing informatics, and end-of-life nursing. The RN to BSN course load at Maryville can be completed in as little as one year with a current, unencumbered RN license. The RN to BSN program requires eligible students to complete 89 credit hours: 64 credits in general education and 25 credits in nursing-specific courses.
Here’s a closer look at Maryville’s BSN nursing-specific courses:
Leadership Contemporary Healthcare: Earning your BSN degree is a critical first step to assuming a leadership role in nursing. In this course, students can learn the responsibilities of a professional nurse while also gaining an understanding of historical and contemporary nursing issues. The course emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration, principles of management, and nursing practice models.
Family Assessment: Only recently has the family been widely recognized as a critical element in patient care, yet families have been a part of nursing care for many years. This course focuses on the importance of broadening the practice of healthcare professionals to serve the family as a unit, as well as each individual family member. During this course, students should gain a sound theoretical foundation for family nursing assessment and intervention.
Nursing Informatics: Basic computing and word-processing skills are required for this course. Students may learn how to integrate nursing practice, education, and research with information science and computer technology to identify, gather, process, and manage information. The course focuses on health technology applications that support clinical, research, and administrative decision-making and the use of such applications in evidence-based practice.
Nursing Care at End of Life: This course addresses the critical aspects of palliative nursing care. Students may gain knowledge and skills in clinical nursing assessment, symptom management, ethics, cultural influences, and spirituality. The needs of special populations and nursing management are also covered.
Career Opportunities for Graduates with a BSN
Nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing have greater opportunities to climb the career ladder and provide patients with a higher quality of care, according to the AACN. They are also better qualified to gain positions at prestigious medical institutions, which often require bachelor’s degrees. In fact, some 68% of clinical nurses working at Magnet-designated institutions have a bachelor’s or higher level university degree, according to the American Nurses Association.
Registered nurses with a BSN degree have a variety of career options available to them. Once they’ve met all of the BSN program requirements, RNs can pursue positions such as:
- Critical Care Nurse: These nurses care for critically ill or injured patients. Workplace settings include ICUs, trauma units, and cardiac care departments.
- Gerontology Nurse: These health professionals provide care for elderly patients struggling with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or osteoporosis. Nurses work in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, and home health facilities.
- Public Health Nurse: Public health nurses carry out community health programs for specific patient groups or populations. They must take account of patient risk factors such as education levels, socioeconomic conditions, and living situations.
- Nurse Manager: In charge of nursing units, these professionals manage training, recruitment, scheduling, and budgeting, most often in hospitals. They also provide support for staff members, patients, and families.
- Nurse Educator: Nurse educators create and carry out nursing school teaching programs, often in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings.
RNs with a BSN can elevate their careers to even higher level leadership positions by pursuing an advanced degree such as an online Master of Science in Nursing or an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) degree.
Earn Your RN to BSN Degree from Maryville
Maryville University’s RN to BSN program is designed to help active registered nurses develop the skills they need to take the next step in their nursing careers. Learn more about Maryville’s online RN to BSN program.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice”
American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “Your Nursing Career: A Look at the Facts”
American Nurse Association, “Academic Progression to Meet the Needs of the Registered Nurse, the Health Care Consumer, and the U.S. Health Care System”
American Nurses Association, IOM Future of Nursing Report
American Nurses Association, American Nurses Credentialing Center, Characteristics of Magnet
HealthLeaders, “Should Nurse Leaders Be Optimistic About ‘BSN in 10’?”
Maryville University, “Career Opportunities for Nurses: Opening Doors with a BSN”