Wednesday, September 30, 2020

How to Get a BSN

Have you recently completed your high school diploma or GED? Are you looking for a career change? If so, you might be wondering what kind of profession to pursue or what type of college program to attend. 

Nursing allows you to connect with others and really make a difference in patients’ lives. Nurses enjoy a diverse range of options when it comes to clinical settings and patient demographics. Keep reading to discover the steps you will need to take to obtain your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and become a licensed nurse.

Determine Nursing Degree Options

To start your journey to receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, research nursing program options. To make sure you are making the right choice, you will want to learn the difference between becoming a licensed registered nurse (RN) and getting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

As a licensed medical professional, RNs provide medical treatments and care to a wide range of patients in many types of clinical settings. A person only needs an associate’s degree in nursing to become a RN. However, a nurse with a BSN—who is also a registered nurse—has completed additional education (up to a year or more than those with an associate’s degree).

Two key differences between the two are that those with a bachelor’s degree can be considered for leadership roles, such as a charge nurse. A higher salary often follows this. The other key difference is that having a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for entering graduate programs such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
Choose an Accredited Nursing School

The accreditation process safeguards the quality of a nursing program, giving you confidence that a nursing school’s curriculum is up to date and on par with professional standards. Attending an accredited nursing program is important for your career goals, as you can have confidence that your clinical education is training you fully for the demands of nursing.

Two important nursing accrediting bodies recognized by the Department of Education include the Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Research Nursing Program Requirements

The next step is to find out what prerequisites you must complete before applying for your BSN. Typically, nursing prerequisite courses include mathematics, English and science sequences.

Some programs require that you complete one or two years of prerequisites before applying to nursing schools. Other nursing schools incorporate those prerequisite courses directly into the nursing program curriculum. Going this latter route can sometimes mean completing all of your schooling more quickly, in as few as even three years of full-time study.
Apply and Enroll

Once you have completed prerequisites for your chosen nursing program, or if you have opted to attend a nursing school that incorporates prerequisites into the curriculum, the next step is to fill out applications. This step usually requires filling out an application form, submitting transcripts of completed academic courses and degrees, a personal statement, recommendation letters, and sometimes an application fee.
This step also involves finding out what your financial aid options are. Determining how you will pay for your nursing program by learning about the kinds of scholarships, grants, and loan programs your potential nursing school has. Because the financial aspect can be a bit overwhelming, connect with a financial aid advisor for guidance, and to make sure you are completing the required paperwork.
Complete Nursing School Requirements

The next step on the journey to obtaining your BSN is to matriculate into nursing school, take the required courses, and dive into clinical education. This part of your education will take about three years.

While many nurses will tell you that nursing school requires hard work and dedication, most also describes the school as a meaningful and even fun time. You will meet new friends and find yourself growing as a person, discovering your strengths, and learning new skills with each course and clinical day.

Take Full Advantage of Your Clinical Experience

Clinicals are important for several reasons. This is the time when you learn bedside manner by interacting with patients, work alongside nursing student peers, and practice new skills. Not only will you form bonds with nursing mentors and clinical preceptors, but clinical experience is where you will get to apply what you learn from textbooks and nursing lectures. 

Going through the motions, so to speak, and putting nursing techniques to practice are great ways to commit textbook information to memory. These experiences will shape the kind of nurse you become and prepare you to take the licensing examination.
Apply to Become a Licensed Nurse and Take the NCLEX-RN Exam 

After you have made it to the end of nursing school, the final step to becoming a licensed nurse is to take the NCLEX-RN exam. This is a comprehensive test that measures your readiness to become a full-fledged nurse. 

You’ll want to devote several weeks to studying hard for the exam and, because it covers so much material, should try to take it as soon as possible after completing nursing school. There are many studying and test-taking strategies, as well as phone apps, to help you prepare to tackle this significant milestone.

Completing nursing school is an achievement to be celebrated, one that will positively shape the rest of your life.  

This is a guest blog entry.

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