Brown and Orange Grid Fashion New Arrival Instagram Post (1366 × 768 px) (4).jpg

BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

Career Overview

How Long Does Becoming a BSN Take

1 YEAR

Average salary: BSN

$70,532/Year

PART ONE

BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)

A bachelor’s degree provides a host of competitive advantages for Registered Nurses. Increased salaries and professional opportunities are some of the key boons to earning your BSN. Learn everything you need to know about earning your bachelor’s degree with the resources below.

PART TWO

How to Get Your BSN?

To become a registered nurse, at minimum you need either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). The latter only takes two years to complete and is significantly cheaper as well. Despite this, hospitals often push for their registered nurses to acquire their BSN, no matter what. What gives the bachelor’s degree such an advantage? What is the best way for an aspiring nursing student to acquire one? All this and more will be explained by the following guide. 

 

What is a BSN?

 

The BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a four year program. Two years are dedicated to prerequisite courses, while the final two years are spent on nursing classes and hands-on clinical practice. Although each BSN program has its own unique qualities, accredited programs follow the framework provided by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). This ensures that all students are equipped with the necessary knowledge and core competencies needed to carry out their tasks. On top of basic prerequisite coursework and general education, there are subjects specific to nursing practice such as: 

 

  • Assessment of Health and Illness

  • Anatomy, or Structure of the Human Body

  • Health Promotion and Risk Reduction

  • Community Health Nursing

  • Leadership and Management

  • Nursing Care I and II

  • Pharmacology

  • Pathophysiology

  • Health Maintenance and Restoration

  • Mental Health

  • Reproductive Health

  • Statistics

  • Psychology

  • Research in Nursing

 

Additionally, BSN students are expected to complete a significant number of clinical training hours. Most programs require students to complete three hours of clinical rotations for each hour spent in the classroom. This work is typically carried out in facilities partnered with the schools. This provides students with the hands-on experience needed to provide professional-level care. 

 

Students under RN-BSN programs or Accelerated BSN programs have to either complete these same courses or prove their familiarity with the material, on top of the clinical rotation requirements. 

 

What are the advantages of a BSN, over an ADN?

 

Compared to ADN nurses, BSN nurses have a significantly broader range of salary and career opportunities available to them, such as: 

 

  • Significantly higher salaries: According to the AACN, the median annual salary for a BSN nurse sits at $70,532, compared to the ADN nurse’s annual income of $57,088. The pay gap grows even wider with experience: among RNs with 20 years of experience, BSN graduates earned $86,948 while ADNs were stuck at $72,575.

  • Better training: Compared to ADNs, Nurses with BSNs receive better training and more thorough education. As a result, BSNs have objectively better patient outcomes, lower mortality rates and lower failure-to-rescue rates. 

  • Greater career flexibility: ADNs simply do not have the opportunities that BSNs have. With a bachelor’s degree, nurses can specialize in fields like pediatrics, oncology and critical care. They can even take up more leadership roles.

  • More employment opportunities: According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, For example, magnet hospitals tend to only accept BSN nurses and above. This is because their “magnet’ status depends on the education level of their nurses.

  • Easier career advancement: BSN nurses have a greater chance of furthering their careers. 

    • These nurses are more commonly in consideration for supervisory or managerial positions. 

    • A BSN is also the minimum educational requirement for traditional Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs. This opens the door for careers like Nurse Practitioner (NPs), Nurse Educator and more. 

  • Greater benefits: Because BSN nurses are in hot demand, employees provide a healthy amount of benefits to attract them. Examples include vacation pay, sick leave, tuition reimbursement and more.

BSN Program Requirements 

Most BSN programs have the following prerequisites: 

 

  • High school diploma or GED, along with your transcripts. Most schools have a minimum GPA requirement. 

  • ACT or SAT scores. Many programs have minimum scores that you have to meet.

  • Interviews

  • Letters of recommendation 

  • Work experience 

 

Note that even if you meet the minimum requirements, applying for your BSN is an incredibly competitive process. Taking extra steps such as volunteer work or additional classes in related subjects like biology will give you an edge over other applicants. 

 

Even after you are accepted, the requirements do not stop there. Many nursing programs will require you to hit a minimum GPA for your first two years of general education and prerequisite courses, before you can proceed to the final two years. You may also need to complete internal program requirements such as: 

 

  • Favorable faculty recommendation, along with a letter of recommendation

  • Achieving junior standing within the university or college 

  • The Test of Academic Skills (TEAS) 

  • Interviews with nursing program faculty 

 

Considerations Before BSN Enrollment

 

On multiple levels, pursuing BSN is a huge investment. You should only commit to this path if you are 100% sure that you are absolutely ready. Before you put pen to paper, here are a couple of things to ponder on:

 

  • Time commitment: By committing four years to your education, you are investing in your future as a registered nurse. You are honing your skills and knowledge to provide the best possible patient care.

  • Competitiveness: When you apply to a nursing program, you are competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants for a small number of slots. Making it in will require a huge level of dedication and hard work, but all your effort will be worth it once you pass. 

  • Expensive tuition: The cost of nursing education is high, at the bachelor’s level. More likely than not, you might have to make use of financial aid programs such as grants, scholarships and loans. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. Thanks to the advanced degree, graduates can often find attractive positions and salary offers that let them earn back the difference in tuition. 

 

BSN Program Types

If you are committed to the unique challenges of nurse education, you can finally start looking for the right program to enroll in. Currently there are a number of different BSN tracks available to students. What works best for you will depend on both your situation and whether or not you have already started working towards your nursing degree. 

 

  • BSN Program: By far, the most common route. This traditional four year program offers two years of general education and prerequisite courses, followed by two years of nursing classes and clinical rotations. If you have not graduated from another post-graduate program, this is the best option available. 

  • RN-to-BSN Program: This program allows registered nurses with associate's degrees to further their education and careers. Since they already have extensive clinical experience, much of the required coursework is replaced by tests. Since most students are employed, these programs tend to offer online options that let students continue work while they study. 

  • Accelerated BSN Program: Uniquely, this program is offered to students who have a bachelor’s degree in a non nursing field, In the span of 11 to 18 months, students go through coursework that exclusively focuses on nursing and nursing theory. Just like the RN-to-BSN program, these classes have online options for their working students. The workload is intense and the pace is merciless, but it allows students to pivot towards healthcare in a timely manner. 

 

Online BSN Programs

 

Ideally, a BSN program is completed full-time in 4 years. However, this is not feasible for most working professionals. Online BSN programs uniquely provide students with the flexibility to study while earning a living. No matter where you are or where you live, you will be able to get your education as long as you have an internet connection. Provided that the program is accredited, it will still prepare you for the NCLEX-RN like any traditional classes. In addition, they take less time than normal BSN programs and are less expensive as well.

 

Remember that you still need to be discerning when it comes to selecting the right online program. Consider a program’s reputation, cost and how they line up with your individual needs. For example, if a program is not in your immediate area it would be an issue if it requires that you attend certain classes in-person. 

 

Enrollment Steps

 

  • Do your research: You want to make sure that you are choosing the best program for you. Look into programs that interest you and consider their location, reputation, competitiveness and cost. At least make sure that they are accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

  • Write a shortlist: As soon as you have identified a handful of good schools, make a checklist of their application requirements and deadlines. 

  • Earning your high school diploma or GED: Collect all relevant transcripts and proof of graduation for submission. If you are still studying, know that higher GPAs and involvement in school activities and volunteer programs will make you a significantly more attractive candidate. 

  • Apply to your accredited BSN programs of choice.

  • Apply for financial aid, if necessary.

 

Go out there! 

 

Pursuing your BSN is a massive personal and professional commitment. You have to make sure that your choice lines up with your long term career goals: What salary do you want to earn? What settings do you want to work in? What work fulfills you?

 

Nursing is a challenging, and intensely competitive space but it provides you the opportunity to truly make a difference in people’s lives. Having a BSN provides you with far greater flexibility, knowledge and training compared to people without one. As the job market grows more competitive, it might be the edge that you need to truly stand out. 

 

If all that sounds appealing to you, then that commitment is ultimately worth it. 

PART THREE

RN to BSN Guide

With many hospitals only accepting BSN nurses and the rise of online classes, many registered nurses are going back to school to acquire their bachelor’s. With so many programy types, it can be hard to choose the right one for you. This guide is here to help make that next leap as smooth and seamless. 


What is an RN to BSN degree?

Registered nurses can achieve certification with just an associate’s degree or a diploma. To advance their studies while continuing to work, these nurses can opt to pursue their RN to BSN degrees through a bridge program. Depending on your program, and whether you study full-time or part time, these programs can last anywhere from 12 months to 5 years. For reference, finishing your BSN program right after high school takes 4 years. 

 

What are the benefits? 


Some of you may be asking yourself: Why work towards a bachelor’s degree, when my associate’s degree has served me well? What you may not know is that your BSN comes with a host of professional benefits. For one, BSN nurses are better prepared for hospital settings compared to ADN nurses. On top of the added studies and experience, BSN nurses are prepared by classes like informatics, ethics and nursing research. BSN nurses also have lower patient mortality, lower failure-to-rescue rates, and more developed diagnosis, research and evaluation skills, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)

 

A BSN does not automatically “equate to a pay raise, but BSN nurses have far more longterm career opportunities: 

 

  • Clinical Ladder: A BSN is required to climb the clinical ladder. Healthcare systems typically use this system to reward nurses for their participation in hospital base committees and education. As you advance the clinical ladder, your salary increases. 

  • Administrative roles: Unlike ADN nurses, BSN nurses can work towards leadership and management roles within healthcare in the future. 

  • Non-clinical roles: Having a bachelor’s degree also allows you to move into jobs outside the hospital like teaching, informatics, policy review and management. 

  • Magnet hospitals: The AACN designates the best hospitals in the country as “magnet” hospitals. Since one of the criteria is the educational level of nurses, these facilities give priority to nurses with advanced degrees like BSN. The same can be said for academic healthcare organizations, and a number of other hospitals.

  • Moving closer to your masters: Having your BSN makes it easier to enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing program (MSN), in case you want to work towards an Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) role. 

 

Kinds of RN-to-BSN programs

 

Aspiring students can choose between three types of program: bridge, traditional, online. Before applying, you need to consider the content and the kind of learning you can expect from each variant. 

 

  • RN-BSN Bridge Program 

    • These programs are designed for RNs with diplomas or ADNs who need to further their education. With the flexibility afforded by online learning, this program is ideal for nurses with professional and familial obligations.

    • Consult your human resources department about reimbursement before you enroll. If your hospital has direct ties to certain programs, you have a direct point of contact, a more streamlined application process and the possibility of higher tuition reimbursement. 

  • Online RN-BSN programs

    • If you have family to look after or are completely preoccupied with work obligations, you might have no opportunities for full time studies. Luckily for you, there are Online RN-BSN programs that allow you to study at your own pace and when your schedule permits it. Since they are completed online, you can even complete programs from across the country (although you still need to go to the university for in-person skill assessments.) In addition, tuition fees are significantly lower because of no campus costs.

    • Because of the online element, you should be confident that you can commit to assigned tasks without weekly classes. As long as you can stay focused, this is an extremely viable alternative. 

Finding Accredited and Credentialed Programs

PART FOUR

Whether you are studying online or traditionally, you need to make sure that your program has proper accreditation. If you graduate from a non-accredited program, you will not be accepted for the NCLEX program. All that time and money spent on education would be for naught. 

 

Accreditation is proof that your program meets certain standards and criteria. This is a sign of quality, and proof that your curriculum is up to date with current nursing trends and advances. 

 

There are two main accreditation bodies for nursing programs: 

 

  • The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

  • The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)


 

RN-to-BSN Requirements 

 

Pre-enrollment requirements may vary from school to school. That being said, there are a handful that you can generally expect: 

 

  • RN LIcense in good standing. This means no disciplinary action without explanation and follow-up. If this is not the case, you can reach out to the program and discuss whether or not this will affect your application. 

  • An associate’s degree in nursing

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA along with required undergraduate courses. If you have an associate’s degree, it is likely that you have already completed these. 

  • Up-to-date criminal background checks.

  • Working a minimum of 30 hours per week or completion of an equivalency test. This requirement is easily fulfilled if you work as a registered nurse during the program but there are other ways to satisfy this. 

  • Completion of the following prerequisite courses: 

    • Microbiology

    • Statistics

    • Nutrition

    • Anatomy and Physiology

    • Intro to Sociology

    • Chemistry

    • Abnormal Psychology

  • Depending on your program of study, you may need to complete a handful of the following: 

    • Child abuse clearance

    • Vaccinations

    • Letters of Recommendation

    • Physical Examination

    • Drug Test

 

RN-to-BSN curriculum and clinical hours

 

Since you already took them in your ADN classes, the RN-to-BSN curriculum will not include basic core nursing courses. Though may vary depending on the program and the classes taken on your ADN, but you can expect 10 high level nursing courses that take approximately 30 credit hours. These courses include (but are not limited to):

 

  • Capstone Course

  • Community Health

  • Informatics in Nursing

  • Nursing Management and Leadership

  • Innovations in Healthcare

  • Nursing Ethics

 

Program Costs

 

Tuition prices for RN-BSN programs can vary greatly, depending on the program. Prices for RN-BSN bridge online programs can even depend on prior courses taken and how many of them are transferable. Some ADN programs even require students to take additional classes for the sake of earning their BSN at a later date. Regardless, program costs are calculated based on a flat rate per credit hour.

 

Do I need an RN-BSN? 

 

There are a number of outstanding registered nurses who just have their ADN or diploma. However, they should consider obtaining their BSN eventually. Healthcare organizations are already heavily recommending BSNs for all nurses, at minimum. Slowly but surely, it will soon become a minimum requirement for all RNs. By obtaining your bachelor’s, you can futureproof your credentials while enjoying a number of professional benefits that are not available to other RNs. BSN nurses are also proven to perform better overall than their ADN and diploma counterparts. As long as you stay on top of your requirements, furthering your education will be a worthwhile and seamless process. 

PART FIVE

How Your Employing Hospital Can Cover for your RN-BSN costs.

There are two truths to the world of nursing: Nursing education is extremely expensive and good nurses are a priceless commodity. If you are studying while working, there is a good chance that you are eligible for some tuition reimbursement from your employing facility. Many hospitals are happy to help cover the costs of their nurses’ bachelor degrees, while some even go as far as covering their master’s costs. If you are a working nurse with an interest in pursuing your education, just follow this step by step guide. 

 

Step 1: Visit Human Resources

 

Before anything, you have to consult your human resources department. Many hospitals have a standard tuition reimbursement program with their own eligibility requirements. Your HR office will help you figure out whether or not you are eligible and assist you in filling out your applications. Either stop on by or set an appointment in advance. 

 

Since different hospitals provide different forms of tuition assistance, you want to make heavy inquiries before putting pen to paper. That way, you can thoroughly plan out how you will pay for your degree. Some questions to consider include: 

 

  • Does the hospital pay for your entire tuition upfront, or is there a percentage policy? Some hospitals only reimburse a portion of the tuition. 

  • Is there a minimum time you have to complete your degree, before you can qualify?

  • Is there a credit cap or dollar limit to hospital contributions? 

  • What happens when you fail a class and you have to repeat it?

  • Does the hospital work with your school, or does it pay you directly to pay for the degree? 

  • Will the facility also cover other educational expenses, like books? 

  • Should you pay back your tuition assistance if you drop out?

 

Step 2:  Figure Out Eligibility

 

With the assistance of HR, you can find out whether or not you fall in line with your hospital’s eligibility requirements for tuition assistance. This can vary based on facility, but tuition policy usually includes: 

 

  • Minimum Employment: For part-time employees, there is possibly a minimum hours or pay requirement for eligibility. Even if you are a PRN employee who meets the hourly requirement, it is possible you may not be eligible unless you have a contracted position for the minimum hours. 

  • Required Employment term: Before you qualify for tuition assistance, you may need to work a certain amount of time at your facility, like one year. 

  • Employment Commitment: If you accept tuition assistance, you may need to commit to a term of employment with your hospital. For example, you may have to stay at a certain nursing position for two years, after receiving your degree. 

 

Step 3: Complete All The Necessary Requirements

 

Once you are officially under your hospital’s financial assistance, make sure to fulfill all the necessary requirements while you study. If your hospital requires that you submit your grades, proof of tuition or updates about degree progress, be sure to send them at the earliest opportunity. Keep a copy of all your payment statements, agreements and paperwork to make this whole process easier. 

 

Go out there! 

 

Tuition Reimbursement Programs are a mutually beneficial arrangement. Hospitals get to retain valued nurses, while nurses get to further their career plans. If you qualify for such programs, it is an incredible opportunity that is worth considering. As long as you read the fine print and fulfill all your requirements along the way, they let you pursue education without worrying about costs. 

PART
SIX

Paying for your BSN

Nurse education is a pricey investment. While bachelor’s degree programs are not as expensive as higher level education, it is still difficult to pay out of pocket, no matter what. Luckily for you, there are a number of financial aid programs available to aspiring students. Availability may vary, depending on your circumstances, but there are a number of options worth exploring. 

 

Employer

 

If they offer such services, your employing hospital could potentially reimburse you for your educational costs. Consult your human resources to see whether or not you are eligible for this service. 

 

Scholarship


When a student is awarded a scholarship, they are provided with financial aid that they do not need to repay. Most scholarships are merit-based, but a number of them have different criteria:

 

  • Student-specific (Gender, race, medical history, etc) 

  • Need-based

  • Career-specific

  • College-specific

  • Athletic

 

You can check with FAFSA as well as a number of online scholarship databases to see whether or not you qualify for federal scholarships provided by the government. If you avail of a private scholarship, be sure to see whether or not the sponsor is reputable. You do not want to accept a scholarship from just anybody, lest it be a scam. 

 

Finally, most scholarships have deadlines within the year for applications. You want to make sure that you send your application within this window. 

Grants

 

Similar to scholarships, grants are financial aid that you do not need to pay back (provided that you graduate nursing school). Unlike scholarships, they are primarily determined by financial need. They can be used to pay for tuition, clinical uniform, supplies, housing and books. What you receive is strictly determined by your financial situation.

 

Just like with scholarships, you can apply to FAFSA to see if you qualify for any grant programs. 

 

Student Loan

 

This is the most common form of student financial aid. Unlike scholarships or grants, you eventually have to repay your loan costs. Since these loans also incur interests, you usually end up paying more than the initial loan. Exact terms will depend on tender and a number of other factors. There are a number of loans available to you, and picking the right type for your situation is paramount. 

 

The majority of medical students use federal student loans. Since they are funded by the US Department of Education, interest rates are lower and there are no hidden fees. If you meet certain criteria, you can qualify for subsidized loans that do not do not gain interest while you are in school. Unsubsidized loans still gain interest while you study, but are still viable if you cannot qualify for subsidized loans.

 

Meanwhile, private student loans are offered by banks, credit unions, educational institutions and other independent entities. Certain educational bodies may offer Federal Perkins loans that are specifically offered to low income students. For the most part, these loans are not subsidized and their interest rates are significantly higher. Because of the potential added cost, you have to shop around with scrutiny to find the best offers. Do not look at the offers at face value: evaluate hidden costs, what happens if you cannot keep up financially with later payments and how repayments are structured.

 

Loan Repayment:

 

Different loans have different repayment structures. You can only pay back your federal loans after graduation, while private loans can be paid off while you study. If you take up your masters, your federal loan payment can be deferred even further. In most cases, however, loans have to be repaid within 10 years after graduation. 

 

There are generally two kinds of repayment plans: 

  • Standard: The loaner repays a monthly set amount. 

  • Graduated: Payments start low and increase every two years. They will not grow larger than three times the monthly payment. 

If you cannot repay your loans, most loans have repayment plans that can be deferred in times of financial hardship. Be sure to discuss whether or not a loan has this option, before you apply. 

 

Loan Forgiveness

 

If you meet certain requirements, you may qualify for loan forgiveness. This applies mostly to federal loans, although some private loans offer similar benefits. 

 

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is the most common offering. Once you have made a minimum of 120 qualifying monthly payments, the remaining balance for all your federal loans may be forgiven. Just be sure that you do not default your payments and you must be under a qualifying repayment plan while working for a qualifying employer such as:

 

  • Full Time Volunteer on AmeriCorps or Peace Corps 

  • Federal, state, local or tribal government organization

  • Non-profit organizations that are or are not tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code

 

Additionally, some individual hospitals provide loan forgiveness after a certain amount of years of service. Typically, these are smaller community hospitals in rural areas. 

 

Go out there! 

 

While some plans have certain requirements, there are always options available to you. It can be tricky to repay your nurse education, but it is not impossible. As long as you pick the right plan for you, while staying on top of any requirements or costs, you should be good as gold! Committed and driven BSN students do not deserve to be hindered by financial barriers. People like you improve the lives of others, and make the healthcare industry that much better. 

 

How To Become A Nurse If You Already Have A Degree


Accelerated BSN (ABSN) Programs are for bachelor’s degree holders in non-nursing fields. These programs allow students to save on time by taking condensed, nursing-specific courses that allow them to graduate faster. As a result, these programs can last 12 to 19 months, depending on program structure and intensity, though some last as long as two years. Also, keep in mind that the advertised program length does not include time spent on completing prerequisite courses. 

 

Seeing as the nursing industry is one of the most exciting, fastest-growing healthcare jobs, it is no surprise that so many are making the transfer. For bachelor’s degree holders that are considering making the move, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about these accelerated programs. 

 

ABSN Requirements

 

  • Prerequisite courses: Most accelerated programs require a handful of core prerequisite courses. Examples include common subjects such as statistics, microbiology and occasionally anatomy and physiology. If it has been some time since you finished those classes, check whether or not the school requires these classes to be taken within a certain amount of years before enrollment. 

  • Entrance exam: Just like with most programs, you have to pass an entrance test before you are admitted. These exams tend to cover subjects required for nursing school such as English and Science. Since many of them come in standardized formats such as TEASE, ATI or HESI, you can find out what your exam uses and find an appropriate reviewer online. 

  • GPA: Most, if not all, ABSN programs require that you submit your previous transcripts. Typically, the minimum GPA requirements sit at the 3.0 to 3.5 range. 

 

Online ABSN programs 

 

Though most are on-site, there are plenty of online ABSN classes out there. For students who need more flexibility due to their familial or professional obligations this is the perfect option. Online classes also allow you to study in your school of choice, even if it is not in your local area. Do keep in mind that you still need to appear on-site for in-person clinicals and occasional campus meetings. 

 

Similar to in-person classes, these programs tend to take around 11-18 months to complete. Because online ABSN is slowly becoming the preferred model, enrollment requirements and competitiveness may be even more strenuous than usual. 

 

Tips for Getting into ABSN programs 

 

With a large number of applicants and minimum slots, applying for your ABSN is a highly competitive process. In such a setting, you will need all the advantages you can get:

  • Ensure that your GPA meets the minimum standard, at the bare minimum. The higher, the better. 

  • If they want recorded personal statements, write a compelling case for why you want to get a second degree in nursing and what it would mean for you. 

  • Depending on demand and region, some programs could have hundreds of applicants and as little as 50 seats per cohort. Broaden your horizons and apply to multiple schools. 

 

ABSN Coursework

 

Accelerated BSN students undergo intensive nursing classes without repeating bachelor-level coursework that they have already completed. As a result, there are less liberal arts classes, and more relevant courses like Anatomy, Chemistry, Microbiology and Physiology. Some programs have specially-crafted classes that cover as much material as possible within a short time frame. Other programs utilize traditional semesters and BSN classes with either a heavier course load or a different semester-to-semester structure. 

 

In addition, students also get hands-on clinical instruction in laboratories and real healthcare facilities like hospitals and nursing homes. All these classes eventually prepare you for the certification exam for RNs, otherwise known as the NCLEX-RN. Once you pass this and submit your state-specific requirements, you can officially start work as a registered nurse! 

 

While your exact curriculum may vary, more likely than not it will look something like this: 

 

  • Semester 1: Pathophysiology, Nursing Research, Foundations of Clinical Nursing, Nursing Lab

  • Semester 2: Clinicals, Mental Health, Pharmacology, Medical/Surgical Nursing, Geriatric Health 

  • Semester 3: Clinicals, Family Health, Community Health 

  • Semester 4: Ethics, Advanced Clinicals, Nursing Leadership 

 

Due to the immersive nature of ABSN programs, many students opt to study full time instead of working while studying. If you want to complete your classes as soon as possible while minimizing disruption to your employment, you can move through the program year-round (including spring and summer semesters.) 

 

MSN vs ABSN

 

Alternatively, students with bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing fields can enroll into Accelerated Masters of Science In Nursing (MSN) programs. Whether or not this is advisable depends on your long term career goals and situation. 

 

On one hand, MSN programs are more expensive and almost twice as long as ABSN courses. On the other hand, an MSN provides multiple unique career opportunities. Unlike a BSN, a Master’s provides you with the flexibility to move beyond direct patient care and into broad-based employment such as managerial or leadership positions. An MSN also allows you to pursue even further education, since you can apply to either a doctorate or an advanced nursing specialty degree, right after. 

 

If you have more time to complete your degree and you intend to take on advanced nursing roles in the future, going with an accelerated MSN will save you money in the long run. Otherwise, the ABSN is the way to go.

 

Paying for your ABSN 

 

Even if they are quicker than associate’s degree programs, ABSN courses do not come cheap. Tuitions can range from $40,000 to $80,000, with some programs reaching as high as $100,000. If you cannot afford to pay out of pocket, most students can avail of legitimate financial aid such as scholarships, federal loans and grants. If you already work in the healthcare industry, your employer could possibly reimburse your tuition costs. 

 

Though the price is steep, you should be able to cover some of them with your starting salary. As of March 2022, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics places the median RN salary at $75,330. While the actual pay is significantly lower for entry level nurses, with time and experience you will be able to work your way up. 

 

Getting Through The ABSN

 

Getting accepted into your accelerated program of choice is just the beginning. For the unprepared, the sheer workload and pace may seem overwhelming. With the help of the following tips, anyone can manage the unique demands of an ABSN. 

 

  • Build a support network: This is especially important if you have children. Having people you can rely on, when the schedule seems overwhelming can mean the world. 

  • Take care of yourself: Sometimes you need to step away from work and gather yourself. This could mean a long nap, gaming session or even a couple deep breaths. Forcing yourself to study for extended periods of time with no breaks is both inefficient and the fastest way to burn yourself out. 

  • Keep everything in perspective: No person is meant to work and study at that pace forever. Whenever you feel yourself getting swept up, it pays to remind yourself that this will not last forever. You are only studying faster to get your degree faster. 

  • Form connections with your peers: Like any other job, nursing is a collaborative effort. Building relationships in school prepares you for the communication and socialization required in a healthcare setting. Even if you are on an online program, making that extra effort to reach out is worth it. 

  • Brief your loved ones before you start: You know what you signed up for when you applied for an ABSN, but your partner or family members might not.  Before your program starts, take the time to have an open conversation regarding the changes that will occur as a result. In challenging situations, communication with those closest to you is paramount.

 

Is the ABSN Worth It? 

 

Accelerated programs are both a significant time and financial investment. By comparison, an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) program is cheaper, does not require as much of a full-time investor, and is roughly the same length (2 years.) Despite all this, there are many reasons reason that ABSN programs have risen in prominence:

 

  • For one, many employers prefer nurses with a BSN even when it is not an explicit requirement. 

  • BSN nurses also have higher earning potential compared to ADNs and are thoroughly trained for the rigors of the profession. 

  • Finally, BSN nurses are more prepared to move forward with their education and pursue Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) specializations such as nurse practitioner or nurse anesthetist. 


 

A bachelor’s degree in nursing does not guarantee a higher starting salary, but it does provide a myriad of professional opportunities that would not be afforded to you otherwise. If you have the time and the resources to commit, there are a few better ways to get your nursing career started.