THE IMPACT OF EDUCATION ON NURSING PRACTICE (AACN)
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs, believes that education has a significant impact on the knowledge and competencies of the nurse clinician, as it does for all health care providers. Nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees are well-prepared to meet the demands placed on today's nurse. BSN nurses are prized for their skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion, and for their ability to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. Nurse executives, federal agencies, the military, leading nursing organizations, health care foundations, magnet hospitals, and minority nurse advocacy groups all recognize the unique value that baccalaureate-prepared nurses bring to the practice setting. (Full article, pdf)
A Bachelor's in Nursing can prepare you for a broad variety of positions across all health care settings and give you more employment flexibility. Examples of such jobs include:
Operating Room RN
Relief Charge Nurse
Cardiac Care Unit Nurse
Certified Nurse Operating Room
Patient Care Manager
There are two national organizations that accredit nursing education programs: The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). While not every nursing school and nursing program is NLNAC or CCNE accredited and a quality nursing education is possible without the mark of distinction, a degree from an institution accredited by one of these organizations ensures that you will be qualified to attend another accredited school of nursing, should you be interested in an advanced degree, for example an RN-to-BSN or Master's degree. Also, some scholarships are only available to students attending accredited nursing programs.
Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public's health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.
The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) is responsible for the specialized accreditation of nursing education programs (Clinical Doctorate, Master's Degree, Baccalaureate Degree, Associate Degree, Diploma, and Practical Nursing program). The Commission has authority and accountability for carrying out the responsibilities inherent in the application of standards and criteria, accreditation processes, and the affairs, management, policy-making, and general administration of the NLNAC. The NLNAC is nationally recognized as a specialized accrediting agency for both post-secondary and higher degree programs in nursing education.
Students are responsible for confirming school and programmatic accreditation and determining whether they will be eligible for state Board of Nursing approval and certification.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing - BSN
Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs from accredited universities and colleges.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is considered a standard requirement for registered nurses (RNs) seeking broader professional responsibilities and career opportunities. If you are an RN and want to enhance your career, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is designed to help you earn the credentials you need to qualify for new opportunities in specialized nursing and nursing management. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing allows you to move from the level of technical nursing practice to the level of professional nursing practice. By earning a BSN, you can enhance your skills to better meet the demands of today's dynamic health care environment and pursue advanced professional roles.
There has been significant public and private support for BSN prepared nurses. The federal government, the military, nurse executives, health care foundations, nursing organizations, and practice settings acknowledge the unique value of baccalaureate-prepared nurses and advocate for an increase in the number of BSN nurses across clinical settings.
The AACN and the ANA have issued position statements recommending the Bachelor of Science in Nursing as the minimum required preparation to practice. Also, a recommendation was recently made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that Academic Nurse leaders across all schools of nursing should work together to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree from 50% to 80% by 2020 ("The Future of Nursing - Leading Change, Advancing Health", Institute of Medicine, 2010). More hospitals are requiring a BSN for current and future nursing staff as they seek to improve patient care and earn the coveted CCNE Magnet Recognition. States are joining in this pursuit for higher education and better preparation for nurses. New York and New Jersey legislatures initiated the "BSN in 10" bills and other States have proposed similar legislation.
This site offers nursing programs that are accredited by CCNE and/or NLNAC.
Salary and employment figures are based on a national median and may vary by location.
Online Schools offering Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Programs
Kaplan University Online
Nursing (RN to BSN)
Bachelor of Science
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree prepares members of the nursing profession who are effective in the integration of evidence as a foundation for practice. The program emphasizes professional growth and lifelong learning by building upon a foundation of the arts, sciences, and humanities. Program outcomes promote leadership in a culturally diverse and global health care system that is rapidly changing. Graduates are prepared to provide direct and indirect care for individuals, families, communities, and populations.
The RN-to-BSN program option provides registered nurses with the education to enhance their skills, better meet the complex demands of health care, and pursue employment in numerous nursing management and practice specialties. Program outcomes align with professional nursing standards and guidelines. The core courses cover in-depth physical assessment, evidence-based practice, and chronicity throughout the lifespan, interprofessional collaboration, information technology, leadership, case management, and public health nursing. Near the end of the program, you will create a professional development plan, a curriculum vitae (CV), and an ePortfolio displaying your coursework, which can be shared with future employers. Finally, the program is designed as a foundation to support registered nurses interested in pursuing graduate nursing studies.
Note: At this time, residents of Tennessee may not enroll in the online Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.
The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master's degree in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Kaplan University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791.
Grand Canyon University Online
Nursing (RN to BSN)
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN). The RN to BSN program is designed for registered nurses with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. The format and courses of the regionally accredited program are tailored to meet the needs of the adult learner RN, and to maximize strengths that the working RN possesses. A bridge course facilitates the transition of the working RN into the baccalaureate program. Courses are taught by experts in their respective fields who share knowledge and experience in areas of clinical patient care, health care management, and professional nursing practice and leadership. Opportunities are provided to apply concepts, theories, and research in the RN’s clinical practice. Both the science and art of nursing are integral components of the program and are woven throughout. The curriculum covers nurse competencies, management and leadership, health assessment, statistics, research, trends and issues, ethical decision-making, family-centered health, public health, and spirituality in health care. In addition, the student’s learning will culminate in project proposal to resolve and issue or problem in the nursing practice. Graduates of the program are prepared to become effective leaders in the nursing profession.
The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master's degree in nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice at GCU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Colorado Technical University Online
Nursing (RN to BSN)
Bachelor of Science
The RN to BSN degree completion program at Colorado Technical University is designed to prepare nurses with the knowledge and skills needed to expand their practice options for a variety of clinical and administrative leadership activities and to manage change in an increasingly complex and diverse environment. Building on a foundation of general education and core coursework, the nursing major courses range from a review of the challenges and trends in nursing care to a nursing capstone seminar that will synthesize and apply prior learning. The Colorado Technical University RN to BSN program furthers the mission of the university to teach real-world nursing that serves the needs of students, the population, and the healthcare industry and prepares highly qualified professional nurses at the bachelor’s level.
The Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at Colorado Technical University is accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education.
Wilkes University Online
Nursing (RN to BSN)
Bachelor of Science
Wilkes University’s online RN to BS program is designed specifically for practicing RNs like you, who want to upgrade from an associate’s degree (AAN or ASN) or nursing diploma to a full, accredited nursing baccalaureate degree. Our RN to BS online program is built around a 31-credit Nursing Core Curriculum. When you apply to our RN to BS program, you’ll submit unofficial transcripts from all schools you’ve attended. A Wilkes Admissions representative conducts an initial review of your transcripts and presents you with a personalized Graduation Completion Plan – a guide to your individual course progression. Most Wilkes RN to BS students are able to transfer many, if not all, General Education credit requirements from their associate’s degree or nursing diploma programs. If you have enough transfer credits, you will be able to fulfill the BS course requirements in just over two years, fully online. If you lack credits in certain areas, your Graduation Completion Plan will show which courses you can take to earn your full nursing baccalaureate degree completely online! NOTE: While you will need to have licensure as a Registered Nurse to earn this degree, RN to BS applicants who are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam can apply for provisional admission, and if admitted, can enroll in the first Nursing course. Students must provide proof of RN licensure before taking the second course in order to move forward in the RN to BS program.
The baccalaureate degree in nursing, master's degree in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and post graduate APRN certificate programs at Wilkes University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, DC 20036, 202-887-6791).
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
BSN Becoming Minimum Requirement for RNs
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing allows you to move from the level of technical nursing practice to the level of professional nursing practice. Nursing has transformed from hospital-centered inpatient care to more primary and preventative care. In addition, the growing complexity of healthcare demands that nurses enhance their educational preparation. Driving forces in the nursing profession have increasingly supported a bachelor's degree as a minimal requirement for practicing nurses.
The AACN and the ANA have issued position statements recommending the Bachelor of Science in Nursing as the minimum required preparation to practice. Also, a recommendation was recently made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) that Academic Nurse leaders across all schools of nursing should work together to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree from 50% to 80% by 2020 ("The Future of Nursing - Leading Change, Advancing Health", Institute of Medicine, 2010). More hospitals are requiring a BSN for current and future nursing staff as they seek to improve patient care and earn the coveted CCNE Magnet Recognition. States are joining in this pursuit for higher education and better preparation for nurses. New York and New Jersey legislatures initiated the "BSN in 10" bills.
Public and Private Support for BSN Prepared Nurses
The nation's Magnet hospitals, which are recognized for nursing excellence and superior patient outcomes, have moved to require all nurse managers and nurse leaders to hold a baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing by 2013.
The National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP) calls for at least two-thirds of the nurse workforce to hold baccalaureate or higher degrees in nursing. Currently, only 50.0 percent of nurses hold degrees at the baccalaureate level and above.
“BSN-in-10” proposals in New York and New Jersey was introduced by state nursing associations to require the baccalaureate degree for all registered nurses with 10 years of graduation from an entry-level RN program. Other states are considering similar proposals in the interest of ensuring a better educated workforce.
In the interest of providing the best patient care and leadership by its nurse corps officers, the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy andU.S. Air Force all require the baccalaureate degree to practice as an active duty Registered Nurse. Commissioned officers within the U.S. Public Health Service must also be baccalaureate-prepared.
The Veteran's Administration (VA), the nation's largest employer of registered nurses, has established the baccalaureate degree as the minimum preparation its nurses must have for promotion beyond the entry-level.
Minority nurse organizations, including the National Black Nurses Association, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and National Association of Hispanic Nurses, are committed to increasing the number of minority nurses with baccalaureate and higher degrees.
Based on a nationwide Harris Poll conducted in June 1999, an overwhelming percentage of the public – 76% – believes that nurses should have four years of education or more past high school to perform their duties.
The Pew Health Professions Commission in a 1998 report called for a more concentrated production of baccalaureate and higher degree nurses. This commission was an interdisciplinary group of health care leaders, legislators, academics, corporate leaders, and consumer advocates created to help policy-makers and educators produce health care professionals able to meet the changing needs of the American health care system.
The Helene Fuld Health Trust, the nation's largest private foundation devoted exclusively to student nurses and nursing education, announced in November 2001 that it would give funding preference to programs that offer BSN and higher degrees in nursing. The foundation cited “the increased complexity of and sophisticated knowledge required for health care delivery” as reasons for setting its funding priorities at the baccalaureate level.
Countries around the world are moving to create a more highly educated nursing workforce. Canada, Sweden, Portugal, Brazil, Iceland, Korea, Greece and the Philippines are just some of the countries that require a four-year undergraduate degree to practice as a registered nurse.
(Data from American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2012)
Initially, the salary boost from RN to BSN may typically be $2,000 to $5,000 per year. However, the job opportunities for nurses with a BSN are much more extensive. More employers are seeking nurses and nurse managers with a BSN. BSNs often qualify for more advanced, specialized training that can further expand their career options. An accredited BSN degree is prerequisite for a master's degree in nursing (MSN), which is a requirement for the four types of advanced practice nurses: clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners. Many nursing schools also require their teachers to have MSN degrees.
As a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree holder, you'll be a stronger candidate for jobs and promotions -- and you'll find a wide variety of nursing career paths. An RN to BSN degree is valued by many employers because it represents a well-rounded education. A bachelor's degree in nursing is essential to work as a nurse case manager or in supervisory positions in nursing, management, and hospital administration.
Earning the BSN
Many schools, such as the ones listed below, offer RN to BSN completion programs. These BSN completion programs award candidates 30+ credit hours for having an active RN license. In addition, the schools will review transcripts from previous degrees earned (from an accredited college or university) and award applicable credits toward the BSN degree. Best case scenario, candidates can complete a BSN degree in as little as 12 to 24 months. Employers are also supportive of nurses who pursue their BSN. Many accommodate class schedules or offer scholarships and tuition reimbursements.