RN to BSN course requirements

BSN Course Requirements: What’s Needed to Graduate?

Today, one of the most impactful steps you can take in your nursing career is advancing your education. While an associate degree is sufficient to become a registered nurse, a Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) can advance your quality of care, improve your job prospects, and prepare you to handle more complexities within the healthcare field. According to the Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “A more educated nursing workforce would be better equipped to meet the demands of an evolving health care system, and this need could be met by increasing the percentage of nurses with a BSN.”

All trained nurses, no matter their education level, are capable of providing high-quality patient care. However, nurses with a BSN degree have gone through deeper courses of study and, in turn, have gained more competencies within the field. BSN courses tend to cover a wide range of advanced topics, including clinical leadership, nursing research, healthcare policy, and more.

If you are interested in pursuing a BSN degree, you may be wondering which courses will be most valuable to your career, and also which are required to launch a career in nursing. Of course, it’s important to recognize that BSN course requirements do vary by school. Depending on the institution you choose, the requirements to enter—and graduate—the BSN program will differ.

With that in mind, there are some commonalities. There are areas of study you must check off before walking away with a bachelor’s degree. There are BSN courses you will want to take if they are available to you. Finally, there are courses you’ll need to take before even pursuing a BSN program.

Let’s break it all down.

What classes are required to apply to a BSN program?

The prerequisite courses you need will depend on the type of BSN program you’re entering. If you are enrolling in a direct-entry, four-year BSN program, you will likely need to check off some general education courses in the basic sciences and liberal arts. These courses may include:

  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Chemistry
  • Nutrition
  • English Composition

Now, if you are already a registered nurse, you are likely going to apply to an RN-to-BSN program. This means you will not have to complete years more of nursing school; you can pick up where you left off. You may need to have some basic nursing courses fulfilled before entering the program – but, more than likely, you already do! To enter an RN-to-BSN program like Goodwin’s, you will be required to have completed courses such as:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • English Composition
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Microbiology
  • Lower-division nursing courses, such as:
    • Nursing Skills Development
    • Adults and the Wellness Continuum
    • Health Assessment

One of the greatest aspects of an RN-to-BSN program is that you can often transfer previously-earned course credits. At Goodwin, for example, up to 35 nursing credits may be awarded through the Connecticut Articulation Agreement, upon passing the course, NUR 300 (Foundations of Professional Nursing). This allows students to complete their BSN degree in a matter of months, not years.

What courses are required in order to complete a BSN degree?

In order to graduate with a BSN degree, there are certain subjects you must know in-and-out. Of course, these specific course requirements will also depend on the type of BSN program you pursue. Direct-entry BSN programs will require you to complete both foundational and advanced nursing coursework before graduation. Meanwhile, RN-to-BSN degree programs require only the more advanced subject matter, as students already know the basics of the field.

While the graduation and course requirements for BSN programs will vary, you can expect most curriculums to touch on the following topics:

Foundational BSN Courses:

  • Microbiology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Emergency Care
  • Nursing Skills Development
  • Adult, Pediatric, and Geriatric Nursing

Advanced BSN Courses:

  • Public Health Nursing
  • Nursing Research
  • Nursing Theory
  • Healthcare Policy
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Nursing Leadership
  • Health Assessment
  • Women’s and Reproductive Health
  • Professional Nursing
  • Evidence-based Practice

Which BSN courses are most valuable to aspiring nurses?

The final question remains, which BSN courses are most valuable to your career? Which classes, required or elective, will you not want to miss while in BSN school? While this answer will depend largely on your passion areas, here are some of our students’ favorite BSN courses:

  • Pharmacology for Nurses (NUR 375)

This course helps students develop their knowledge and skills within pharmacology, pharmacotherapeutics, medical calculations, and prescription safety – all of which are essential know-how for professional nursing practice.

  • Mental Health Nursing (NUR 320)

While nurses treat sick and injured patients every day, they also encounter many patients struggling with psychiatric and mental health conditions. A mental health nursing course helps RNs better understand and respond to mental health issues, as they relate to patient symptoms and care.

  • Clinical Nursing Leadership (NUR 363)

Nurses are often the change-agents and leaders in the healthcare system. This course teaches nurses how to hone their leadership skills, oversee their supporting medical team, become an advocate for their patients, and effectively manage multiple cases.

To learn more about our top BSN classes, click here.

Goodwin University offers an array of valuable BSN courses for aspiring registered nurses. Our RN-to-BSN program is designed for already-licensed RNs who are interested in advancing their roles in the field. Our accelerated BSN program is designed for students who are just starting out in nursing, but have a bachelor’s degree in another major. To learn about either program, please don’t hesitate to visit us online here, or call 800-889-3282 for details.