What is a BSN?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 May 2020
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The BSN, or Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing, is a college level course of study designed to further the education of registered nurses. In order to be accepted into the program, nurses normally must meet all the admissions criteria, including preparatory degrees and a valid nursing license. While the exact requirements vary depending on location and the individual college, there are a few basics that tend to be necessary in order to obtain the degree from any accredited institution offering the program.

Before admission into the four-year degree program, applicants are normally expected to have successfully completed some type of prior formal education. In some countries, this involves holding an associate's degree in nursing or a qualified course of study. There are colleges that will admit an applicant if he or she has successfully completed some type of approved nursing diploma program. It is rare for an applicant receive admission without some type of educational credentials.

Along with the educational background, the BSN applicant normally must hold a current and valid nursing license. In most jurisdictions, the requirement is that the license be for a registered nurse, rather than a licensed practical nurse. It should be issued by the jurisdiction where the nurse is based and must be classified as unrestricted. This is true even with distance learning programs.

Once admission has taken place, many programs require that the student maintain a minimum grade point average in order to remain enrolled. This is true for the general education courses as well as the coursework focused strictly on various aspects of nursing. When a student fails to maintain this minimum grade point average, the institution may choose to place him or her on academic probation. If the grades do not improve, there is a good chance the student will be dismissed from the program.

At its core, pursuing a BSN allows a registered nurse to acquire formal educational recognition that will allow him or her to broaden his or her scope of practice. This can mean a wider range of employment opportunities in the healthcare industry. The registered nurse that successfully completes this type of degree program is also likely to be eligible for higher salaries.

Since the exact requirements for obtaining this degree vary from one jurisdiction to another, it is important that the registered nurse investigate local criteria that must be met for acceptance into the program. Assuming the nurse is currently employed with a hospital or other healthcare facility, there is also the potential for receiving financial aid to assist with the cost of pursuing the degree.

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Post 3

Actually, a BSN is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Also, at least in the US, it is not necessary to already be licensed as a Registered Nurse to enroll in a BSN program.

Post 2

@thecloser - It depends if a BSN is necessary. You have to decide what you want to do with your career. If you want to eventually teach or be a nurse practitioner (where you prescribe medication), you need your Masters in Nursing, which requires a BSN first.

There is also talk in hospitals about requiring a bachelor's degree, so look at your local hospitals and see what the education requirements are for jobs.

If you have the resources, the added education can certainly help.

Post 1

Is a BSN always necessary? I was thinking of getting one, but between the course wait lists and the expense, I'm on the fence.

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