Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Overview

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Overview

Attaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing equips individuals to address the challenges presented by the healthcare industry. Discover how you can transition careers and acquire a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

As per the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, disparities in nursing practice within healthcare settings stem from variations in a nurse’s educational background. Employers exhibit a pronounced preference for nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) due to its correlation with improved patient outcomes. Hospitals aspiring to achieve Magnet status also demonstrate a preference for hiring graduates from BSN programs.

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Average Duration of BSN Program: 4 years
Average Credits Required for a BSN: 120
Average Earning Potential for BSN Graduates: $52,080-$111,220
SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics / PayScale

BSN programs offer nurses an array of benefits beyond clinical skills. Students gain exposure to a comprehensive curriculum encompassing critical thinking, decision-making, leadership, evidence-based practice, and nursing informatics.

While salary considerations hinge on various factors, BSN-prepared nurses consistently surpass their counterparts from associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs in annual earnings. Moreover, a BSN lays the groundwork for pursuing graduate education and advancing one’s career, contributing to an augmented earning potential.

There is a growing inclination towards making a BSN a mandatory requirement for nursing practice. In December 2017, New York marked a milestone as the first state to stipulate that nurses must obtain a BSN within ten years of acquiring their initial licensure.

The acquisition of a BSN not only enhances credibility with both patients and administration but also broadens horizons for opportunities beyond direct patient care. Possibilities include roles as analysts, consultants, case managers, leaders, or even in sales.

Opportunities With a Bachelor of Science in Nursing:

– Partial Online Offering
– Clinical Hours Required
– Good Career Mobility
– Most Administrative and Supervisory Positions Require a BSN
– Path to Advancement
– Grants Entry to Master’s or Doctoral Nursing Programs, Leading to Career Advancement and Higher Salaries
– Job Potential
– With a BSN, a Range of Specialized Nursing Jobs Outside of Traditional Floor Nursing is Available
– Skills Learned: Clinical and Leadership Skills, Case Management, Community Participation, Nursing Care of Children and Adults

Beyond the conventional realm of hospital-based Registered Nurses (RNs), individuals armed with a BSN degree can explore diverse careers such as geriatric nursing, OBGYN nursing, and neonatal nursing. Further details about these specialized occupations are provided in the descriptions below.

Registered Nurse

Registered Nurses (RNs) assume leadership roles, overseeing teams of nurses in various healthcare settings such as clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes. They provide care to patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly, working either the day or night shift. In 16 states, RNs have the additional responsibility of prescribing medications. Achieving an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a prerequisite to becoming a registered nurse.

Salary: $73,300
Job Outlook: Anticipated 7% growth from 2019-2029

Registered Nursing Requirements by State

Geriatric Nurse

Geriatric nurses operate within nursing care facilities and hospitals, specializing in offering medical assistance to the elderly. These professionals typically start their careers as RNs, gaining valuable clinical experience working with older individuals. They possess a unique understanding of conditions prevalent in the elderly, such as osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.

Salary: $64,870
Job Outlook: Positive growth expected in the coming years

Geriatric Nurse Career Overview


OBGYN nurses provide medical services to women and infants. Working under the guidance of obstetricians and gynecologists, they deliver care in clinics, private doctor’s offices, and hospitals. Their focus may include assisting women during various reproductive stages, including pregnancy, labor, or postpartum.

Salary: $60,000
Job Outlook: Anticipated 7% growth from 2019-2029

What is Obstetrics Nursing?

Travel Nurse

Travel nurses operate on a contractual basis, meeting the high demand for healthcare professionals in areas such as operating rooms, intensive care units (ICU), and emergency rooms across the country. Assignments typically span weeks or months, with international assignments lasting up to two years.

Salary: $79,000
Job Outlook: Anticipated 7% growth from 2019-2029

What Is a Travel Nurse?

Neonatal Nurse

Neonatal nurses specialize in administering care to sick or critically ill infants in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Collaborating with pediatricians and nursing staff, they also provide guidance to parents. Most neonatal nurses have extensive experience as RNs and hold neonatal nursing certificates.

Salary: $60,797
Job Outlook: Anticipated 7% growth from 2019-2029

What Is a Neonatal Nurse?

How Much Will I Make With a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing?

– Hourly Salary: $32.64
– Monthly Salary: $7,123
– Annual Salary: $85,539

Source: PayScale

Learn More About BSN Salaries and Careers

How to Get a BSN

1. Decide Type of BSN Program

Various BSN programs, including traditional, bridge, and online options, are available. Determine the best fit for your needs.

2. Find BSN Program

Utilize our degree finder after identifying your school preferences to locate programs that match your criteria.

3. Apply to BSN Programs

Common application requirements include GPA, essay, references, CV or resume, volunteer experience, and prior coursework.

4. Secure funding for BSN programs

Explore financing options, including financial aid, grants, scholarships, and loans.

5. Attend BSN classes

Complete required courses and gain clinical hours for hands-on experience. Develop the skills to work independently with patients.

6. Graduate with a BSN

Congratulations on earning your degree! Proceed to take the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse (RN) or continue your education for an MSN.

Types of Bachelor’s Degrees in Nursing

Admission Requirements for a BSN Program

Admission requirements for BSN applicants vary based on their student status. Common criteria include:

  • High school or college transcripts
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • A CV or resume
  • A GPA of at least a 2.5 or 3.0

Core Concepts in a BSN Program

Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing programs encompass didactic and clinical phases. Students learn to promote health, prevent and manage disease, reduce risks, and improve patient outcomes through core courses in anatomy, community health nursing, pharmacology, leadership and management, nursing informatics, research and statistics, pathophysiology, and psychology. Upper division courses delve into specialty areas such as gerontology, global public health, maternal-child care, and pediatrics. In summary:

  • Anatomy
  • Community health nursing
  • Pharmacology
  • Leadership and management
  • Nursing informatics
  • Research and statistics
  • Pathophysiology
  • Psychology

Clinical & Lab Components in a BSN Program

BSN programs may entail clinical experiences in hospitals, clinics, or lab settings. During these experiences, candidates work under licensed RN mentors, delivering medications, assessing and diagnosing patients, planning interventions, and monitoring outcomes. Clinicals provide opportunities to:

  • shadow working RNs
  • apply classroom skills on patients
  • network with future employers
  • build confidence.

What to Expect From an Online RN-to-BSN Program

Individuals pursuing an RN-to-BSN or second degree BSN now have the option to enroll in online programs, offering an alternative to traditional face-to-face classes. Online RN-to-BSN degrees afford students the flexibility to engage in core courses such as anatomy, pharmacology, and psychology remotely. While foundational courses do not necessitate on-campus attendance for distance learners, the completion of clinicals or labs in their local communities is mandatory. Throughout the clinical component of the program, students actively participate in labs or contribute to healthcare settings like local hospitals, clinics, or nursing care facilities. It is often the responsibility of the students to arrange and secure their individual clinical experiences.

In terms of content and academic rigor, online degrees do not differ from their traditional counterparts. Online learners obtain an equivalent degree and education, benefiting from the expertise of professors who are actively engaged on campus. Instructors leverage online learning platforms, conducting live meetings with students or assigning virtual coursework.

For further insights into the functioning of online programs, refer to the information available on this page.

Should I Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing?

Various factors, including personal financial circumstances, time constraints, and family responsibilities, play a crucial role in determining whether pursuing a 4-year degree is the right decision. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons before committing to obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing:

Advantages to a BSN

1. Greater Career Mobility: Many administrative and supervisory roles require a BSN.
2. Entry to Advanced Programs: A BSN opens doors to master’s or doctoral nursing programs, facilitating career advancement and higher salaries.
3. Enhanced Critical Thinking Skills: The critical thinking skills acquired through a BSN contribute to improved patient care and safety.

Disadvantages to a BSN

1. Extended Study Duration: Candidates invest four years in a program before entering the workforce and generating income.
2. Higher Tuition Costs: Four years of tuition are considerably more expensive than a two-year program, often resulting in additional years of student debt.
3. Not Always Higher Starting Salary: In nursing roles that don’t mandate a BSN, having a bachelor’s degree may not necessarily translate to a higher initial salary.

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