Both theoretical and practical in nature, a bachelor’s in nursing prepares you to work in a variety of clinical settings as a registered nurse (RN). Registered nurses operate medical machinery, administer treatment and medications, record patients’ medical histories, and educate patients about various medical conditions, among other tasks. Graduates of nursing programs at the bachelor’s level are prepared to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Learn more about bachelor’s degree programs in nursing to discover what it takes to forge a rewarding career as a nurse.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Prerequisites
The admissions requirements for nursing programs are typically a high school diploma, GED or associate’s degree in nursing, a minimum GPA, and the completion of several prerequisite courses, such as the following:
- Anatomy & physiology
Some nursing schools may require bachelor’s degree applicants to have some work or volunteer experience in the healthcare field under their belts. RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs are available for those who have already earned their associate’s degree in nursing, and accelerated bachelor’s degree programs in nursing are available to those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field. Both of these degree types are sometimes offered in an online format to cater to the busy schedules of adult learners. Online programs generally allow you to complete your coursework online and fulfill clinical requirements at a healthcare facility near your home.
Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Program: What to Expect
It generally takes four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Important qualities for nurses to have are compassion, organizational skills, patience, communication skills, and critical thinking skills. In nursing bachelor’s degree programs, students take courses in:
- Anatomy & physiology
- Microbiology & immunology
- Developmental issues in nursing
- Nursing management
- Technology of nursing
- Alterations in health
- Health assessment
- Social/behavioral sciences
Bachelor’s programs typically provide nursing students with supervised clinical experience in hospitals and other healthcare settings, such as extended or long-term care facilities, home health agencies, and walk-in clinics. After completing a bachelor’s degree program, students must pass the NCLEX-RN exam and obtain a state license. All states and territories of the US require candidates to pass the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure as an RN.
Your Career as an RN
Licensed graduates of bachelor’s programs qualify for entry-level positions as staff nurses. They may also qualify for administrative, consulting, teaching, and research positions in the nursing field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses earned a median annual wage of $65,470 in 2012. The bottom 10% earned 45,040, while the top 10% earned $94,720. Top paying industries for RNs include wholesale electronic markets, transit and ground transportation, the federal government, and colleges and universities.
The job outlook for registered nurses is excellent. Employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26% from 2010 to 2020, faster than average for all occupations. Organizations that employ nurses include hospitals, insurance companies, schools, pharmaceutical companies, and managed care organizations. Because patients at hospitals and extended care facilities require round-the-clock care, nurses in these settings are typically required to work in rotating shifts.
Registered nurses that have a bachelor’s degree generally have better job prospects than those without one. A bachelor’s degree in nursing may also serve as a foundation for master’s and doctoral degree programs in the nursing field for those who wish to advance their nursing careers with further education. Start working towards your bachelor’s in nursing today to take advantage of the excellent job opportunities offered within the nursing field.