The BSN, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing, is an undergraduate degree that prepares students for rewarding careers in the medical field as nurses. The BSN involves coursework in the sciences and hands-on training in hospitals and clinics.
The Top 10 Online BSN Programs of 2013
Start by clicking on any school to get information on each of the top programs.
- Walden University
- Western Governors University (RN to BSN)
- Grand Canyon University (RN to BSN)
- Capella University (RN to BSN)
- Colorado Technical University (RN to BSN)
- University of Phoenix (RN to BSN)
- Marian University (Accelerated BSN)
- Olivet Nazarene University (Accelerated BSN)
- Roseman University (Accelerated BSN)
- Utica College (Accelerated BSN)
How does the BSN differ from the CNA?
The CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant, is certification that qualifies people to work as home health aides or assistants to nurses in healthcare settings. CNA training covers the very basics of patient care and nursing. Many BSNs have been CNAs before or during a BSN program. While a BSN program is, on average, four years long, a CNA program can be as little as a couple of days long. BSN programs are much more comprehensive and prepare graduates for nursing careers with greater responsibility, upward mobility and earning potential than CNA programs.
What does a BSN program entail?
A BSN program involves a number of years of study at a college, university, or medical institution. BSN programs are built around a number of courses in biology, psychology, nutrition, anatomy, physiology and chemistry. In addition, the vast majority of BSN programs require general education courses, which may include English, math, culture, writing and public speaking. The last year or two of a BSN program is more hands-on; students get practice in working with actual patients through clinical rounds at local hospitals or healthcare settings.
Are BSN programs tough?
Because of the significant role that nurses play in healthcare, BSN programs are challenging. After graduation, BSN students will literally have lives in their hands, so it makes sense that a BSN program should be thorough. BSN students are expect to understand science, demonstrate knowledge of practical nursing skills and maintain a good overall grade point average, or GPA. However, BSN programs are not designed for students to fail, and thousands of students graduate from BSN programs every year.
What does it take to get into a BSN program?
The admissions committees of BSN programs take into consideration many factors when making admissions decisions. Often, prospective students are evaluated for their high school or college overall grades, science and math grades specifically, previous experience in healthcare, standardized test scores and reasons for pursuing the BSN. A competitive applicant will likely have a good overall GPA of above a 3.0, As and Bs in most science classes and some experience in healthcare. Prospective students can gain experience by volunteering at hospitals, working in administrative roles in healthcare settings and shadowing nurses.
What kind of jobs can I get with a BSN?
A BSN prepares graduates for a wide range of nursing careers. Most BSN will have or obtain the Registered Nurse, or RN, licensure shortly after graduation. BSNs can work in nearly any kind of healthcare setting, including hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices, emergency rooms, urgent treatment centers and private homes. There are often many opportunities for BSNs to specialize in working with a specific type of patient; BSNs can work in general medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, oncology and many other areas. Some BSN graduates will pursue fields outside of traditional nursing, which many include research, administration or teaching.
For someone who is already an RN, what benefits does the BSN provide?
Completing a BSN program better prepares nurses for work in the field. Most employers pay BSNs more than RNs, and obtaining a BSN can allow RNs to further specialize in a certain area of medicine, have more job opportunities and be able to work towards a Nurse Practitioner licensure.
How long will it take me to finish the BSN? Can I go part-time? Are evening, weekend or online classes available?
Many different schools offer BSN programs, and each runs the program a bit differently. Traditionally, a full BSN program is four years; however, shorter BSN programs exist for current RNs or students seeking a second bachelorís degree. Some BSN programs can be completed partially or completely in the evenings/weekends or online.
How much hands-on experience will I get in a BSN program?
BSN programs provide a great deal of hands-on experience to fully prepare nurses for work after graduation. As a student progresses through a BSN program, the amount of practical experience increases. At first, some BSN classes may involve laboratory work in the sciences. Then, BSN students will gain hands-on practice in the basics of nursing, including starting an IV, taking blood pressure and monitoring vital signs. In the final year of school, BSNs perform internships or clinics at area hospitals or physician offices. During this time, BSN students will be able to observe nurses, assist with typical nursing responsibilities, monitor patients, prepare case reports and be evaluated by experience nurses.