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What is a Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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The baccalaureate degree in nursing, also called a BSN, is the most rigorous training method for achieving the status of registered nurse. While it’s commonly thought that registered nurses receive a bachelor’s degree in science, this is not always the case. A registered nurse (RN) can be trained through a private nursing school or through a community or junior college.

In common with all four-year degrees, the baccalaureate degree in nursing does not focus exclusively on the classes that will earn the candidate RN status. Instead, students must usually take 60 units of general education requirements while also fulfilling 60-64 units of education in the field of nursing. Because of the advanced education this nurse will get, he or she may be more likely to earn supervisory positions at larger hospitals, and also may receive slightly more pay.

Not all students opt for a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Since nurses are in such high demand, the ability to get educated more quickly through a nursing school or a community college are frequently desirable goals. Some students may already hold a bachelor in science degree along with nursing education, which is usually given equal status in terms of pay and ability to earn promotions. When a student does not go the route of a BSN, he or she receives a bachelor’s in registered nursing called a BRN.

The RN status, however it is achieved, allows the nurse to perform equal tasks in the workplace. These may include holding greater responsibility for patient care, supervising the work of licensed vocational nurses (LVNs), giving medications or administering injections, working in surgery settings, and starting or administering intravenous (IV) drips and medication. Any RN can also choose to specialize in certain areas of care like intensive care for children, obstetrics, cardiology or geriatrics.

Some nurses choose to pursue a baccalaureate degree in nursing since it is a stepping stone to receiving a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or a PhD. With a traditional four-year college degree, a nurse may want additional training or the option of teaching in a nursing school. Also, those nurses who would like to become nurse practitioners need a bachelor’s degree first. Obviously, having the BSN provides more opportunities to the nurse who wants to continue his or her education, though there are some Master’s Degree programs that offer BA to MSN degrees, specifically designed to train a person with a college degree and no nursing experience to become a nurse practitioner.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By oasis11 — On Aug 25, 2010

Cupcake15- Many hospitals offer to even pay for the nursing student’s tuition in exchange for the student to work for the hospital upon graduation.

Baptist Health Systems Hospital in Miami, Fl offers such a program. This is a great program that provides financial assistance to the students as well as a great job when they graduate.

It also helps the hospital too because it is hiring students upon graduation and molding them to their liking.

Also, I heard that there is even an accelerated nursing program for those students that already hold a bachelor’s degree. The program can often be completed in 15 to 24 months.

Those graduating from a college nursing program need to then take the national licensing exam, or the NCLEX in order to receive the required nursing license.

By cupcake15 — On Aug 25, 2010

Due to the shortage of nurses nationwide, there are numerous registered nursing programs available.

Both the nursing associate degree and a Bachelor of Science nursing degree require clinical practice in a hospital setting. There are many registered nursing programs that offer an RN on line program, for those too busy to go to the classroom.

However, not all courses can be taken online as there is the clinical internship that is required.

There are also those that seek an LPN degree, This nursing associate degree takes about two years of training and can be taken at a community college or at a private school.

While their salary is competitive, it is not as high as the RN’s salary. The average RN’s salary is $58,000.

When seeking a degree of any kind it is best to make sure that the school is accredited. An accredited school can offer you the training that you need in order to pass your licensing exam which is required to become a nurse.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Practical Adult Insights contributor...
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