As the healthcare field advances, and as patient care evolves, more and more registered nurses are going back to school for their Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) degree. It’s no wonder why. Not only is a BSN degree valued by many employers today – with 80 percent of employers preferring new hires with a BSN – it also has a variety of benefits: think, increased job opportunities, greater salary potential, and a higher quality of patient care.
If you are a seasoned RN considering a bachelor’s degree, you likely have many questions. For one, what can you expect to gain from a BSN curriculum? And do BSN programs offer classes that can meet the busy nurse’s needs?
The RN-to-BSN Curriculum
Generally speaking, RN-to-BSN programs are designed for the working nurse – RNs who have gone to nursing school, who have completed their nursing license, and who have worked (or are currently working) in the healthcare field. How, exactly?
Let’s look at Goodwin College’s RN-to-BSN program structure as an example. Unlike your typical four-year bachelor’s program, our BSN curriculum can be completed part-time in just 16 months. This means you do not have to commit the time or the finances to a long-winded bachelor’s degree program. In addition, the RN-to-BSN curriculum is offered entirely online, meaning you can take your classes on your own schedule, from wherever you are at the time.
The Core RN-to-BSN Courses
So, what can you take away from an RN-to-BSN degree program? Which courses make it worth it for the already working nurse? Below, Goodwin highlights some of the core courses that RNs must complete as part of the BSN degree curriculum.
- Foundations of Professional Nursing (NUR 300): For those nurses looking to advance into the role of a Health Promoter, Advocate, or advanced Care Provider, this course will be your footing. This foundational class introduces BSN students to the Nursing Theoretical Framework at the college, as well as the Quality and Safety Education (QSEN) expected of baccalaureate nurses.
- Health Assessment (NUR 310): This advanced nursing course is designed to build on a professional nurse’s theoretical knowledge, as well as advance his/her skills in administering physical exams and comprehensive patient assessments across the lifespan. Students in this course have the opportunity to perform a focused (supervised) examination.
- Introduction to Nursing Research (NUR 351): Research is a core part of the evolving healthcare field, and as a nurse, you are committed to lifelong learning and discovery. That said, research skills are essential. This course reviews quaitiative and quantitative research methods, teaching students how to think critically and integrate findings (such as evidence-based methods, clinical research, and conceptual frameworks) into their nursing practice.
- Public and Community Health Nursing (NUR 361): Nurses are more than just nurses – they are members of a greater healthcare community and advocates for a diversity of patient demographics. In this BSN course, students learn the importance of their partnership with the public health system, and further protecting, promoting, and restoring quality health (and healthcare) within a variety of communities and populations. This course requires 45 hours of hands-on, clinical practice.
- Clinical Nursing Leadership (NUR 363): Leadership opportunities are a key reason why RNs go back to school for their bachelor’s degree. With a BSN, you can begin to qualify for advanced positions in healthcare and nursing departments. And this course will be key in getting you there. Clinical Nursing Leadership helps establish RNs as change agents in the clinical setting – exploring management and leadership, and teaching students how to facilitate change and positively impact care settings as well as patient outcomes.
- Introduction to Healthcare Policy and Advocacy (NUR 459): As noted above, nurses are advocates for their patients. In many ways, they are also advocates for the political, economic, and social policies that go into the nursing field. This course explores activism and empowerment in nursing, providing BSN students with an understanding of how they (as well as government and policy-making organizations) can influence the greater healthcare system.
- Professional Nursing Leadership Seminar (NUR 460): The final stretch of Goodwin’s RN-to-BSN curriculum is this course – giving students the opportunity to build their leadership skills and experience even further.Students analyze their ethical and professional role development, build their experiences with research and theory in nursing, and ultimately share their commitment to the nursing field through continuous learning.
While this covers the basics of the RN-to-BSN curriculum, it is not the full extent. Students have the option to choose several different elective courses, from Pharmacotherapeutics to Families and Wellness. At Goodwin, your RN-to-BSN classes (and class schedule) can be uniquely designed to meet your needs, as an adult learner.
For more information about the RN-to-BSN curriculum at Goodwin College – offered online or in a hybrid format – please do not hesitate to reach out. Call 800-889-3282 or visit us online to learn more.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.