A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is the basic requirement that most nurses need in order to practice. There are many different ways to earn a BSN degree and a lot of specializations for those who complete it. So why go through the process of doing a BSN degree?
These degrees are specifically designed to prepare those who see a future in nursing with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. The programs offered are often well rounded and can be applied to through both physical and online universities. Once the BSN program has been completed, the graduate can also extend their field of study to become a registered nurse or a specialized nurse.
The Education You Need
The prerequisites for entering the BSN program depend on the institution you have applied to but most of them do require a high school diploma. The big differences come in the types of subjects you took at school, but most will require that you take English, social sciences and some form of basic anatomy.
The universities that offer these programs usually divide their programs into three main sections namely, classroom, clinic and lab work. The classroom section is specifically for learning theory, lab work is concerned with analyzing blood and chemical samples and clinical work is where the students get practical experience in dealing with problems patients may be having.
Generally, any good BSN program should offer the following topics:
- Medical law and ethics – this is the section that covers the legalities behind practicing in the medical field. It is vital that nurses know this because they need to understand what they can and cannot do in legal terms. For example, if a patient is refusing care, they cannot impose care on him or her according to the law. If they do, they risk being sued and having the hospital they work for being sued.
- Healthcare management – this assists future nurses to run a hospital. If they need to, they will be able to arrange schedules, do stock takes and order medications as needed by the hospital. This really takes care of all of the administrative duties that a nurse may need as part of his or her daily routine.
- Pharmacology – obviously the study of medications is vital for a nurse, especially since they will need to know how to follow doctor’s orders. It is vital that a nurse understands the basics of medication so that they can use generics if needed, administer medication in an emergency and work in clinics, helping patients of their own accord.
- Nutrition and Exercise – part of the work that must be done by a nurse includes advising people how to improve their lives. Whether they need a good eating plan to fight off diabetes, or simply need an exercise routine to stave off obesity, a nurse needs to be able to advise patients on how to take care of themselves and their families more effectively.
- Psychology – to be able to treat patients effectively, it is important that a nurse understands their mental state of health. Thus, they need to take a course in psychology. If a patient comes in who seems to need mental assistance, they will be able to refer them on, or treat them themselves.
- Pediatrics and geriatrics – the study of the elderly and the very young is also important, especially for those nurses who will be working in old age homes or in free clinics. In these cases, they will encounter many patients suffering from the same or similar ailments who need special assistance.
- Special needs nursing – a less popular field, it is nonetheless important that nurses know how to care for those with special needs. This could include the prevalence of mental or physical disabilities or other defects that have caused damage to the body or brain.
Going From One Degree To Another
For those who are not new to the college arena and have already gained a degree, the fast track to a BSN degree becomes much more accessible. In fact, as many have found out, applying for a traditional BSN degree is not the only way to become a nurse. For some who have been working as LPNs or Licensed Practicing Nurses, the opportunity to study to become a BSN is both much easier and much faster. Many colleges offer LPN-to-BSN programs to accommodate such individuals and allow them to fast track their studies.
The RN-to-BSN program allows those who have an associate’s degree to attend weekend or night classes to attain their BSN. In this way, they do not have to stop working and can still do what they need to for a better career in the future. For some people, especially adults, holding a degree in another field can be an advantage when applying to do a BSN degree. Some colleges allow those individuals to redeem credit for the degrees they have already done and complete certain coursework requirements so that they can gain their degree in two years or less.
Some colleges also offer students the chance to accelerate their studies with an accelerated BSN degree. This takes the time to complete the degree down significantly and candidates can complete the BSN in anything from 12 to 20 months. Of course, this does require a lot of work and a lot of time and may not suit every candidate.
Why Study A BSN?
There is no doubt that a career in nursing is not easy. It requires both a lot of time and a lot of hard work and this is why so many candidates, when they begin their BSN degrees, drop out or switch to another field. However, this field can also be very rewarding. For one thing, the prevalence of jobs should be a convincing factor. In an economy where people are struggling to find work, nurses will always have a place. In fact, it has been documented that the predicted growth for this field is a massive 22%.
And how much does a nurse make? Well a registered nurse with a BSN degree usually makes about $65 000 a year but those who have studied further and are specializing in their fields can make up to $95 000 a year. As anyone in this field will tell you though, becoming a nurse is not about the monetary awards, but rather about job satisfaction and the real life award of helping those who cannot help themselves.
After Your BSN
Once you have completed the BSN degree, you may be wondering what opportunities lie ahead of you. The answer is that there are many. Once a graduate from this program has passed their Nursing Board Exams or NCLEX, they can pursue a Masters of Science in Nursing and specialize in many fields.
Though the BSN degree does prepare you for work in hospitals and clinics, home healthcare facilities and doctor’s offices, advancing to an MSN degree will net you more money and give you more experience.
Studying a BSN degree has a lot of rewards, but there can be no argument that is comprises years of hard work. Whether you choose a fast track BSN to take you in the world of nursing quickly, or you stick it out for years, studying a BSN degree is a challenge. However, for many, this is a challenge with a huge reward at the end. The guarantee of being able to find a job, and the satisfaction of working with people and providing them with the best healthcare is often reward enough.
So what kind of person does it take to study a BSN degree? Certainly one with determination and drive. This is vital because the BSN program is not an easy one and those who are lazy or who are completely committed will find very quickly that this is a not a course you can simply glide through.
To complete a BSN degree you also need to have a passion for working with people. Because of the demands of nursing and the frustration that can come with it, it can sometimes be hard to maintain one’s presence of mind, but this is a vital characteristic for those hoping to become nurses. It is also important for these individuals to have a strong stomach. As mentioned before, nursing is not an easy occupation and there may be instances where the nurse encounters wounds, blood, human waste and many other things that the ordinary man on the street would find disgusting. Even in these situations, the nurse must keep their wits about them and continue working.
Nursing, like the BSN degree, is not the easiest field to work in, but it has many rewards, not the least of which includes seeing those who were injured being restored to health. Completing a BSN is the first step on the journey to becoming a nurse and with the help of a good college and a good attitude, you will find out a lot about medicine and about yourself on the way.