With so many Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs out there, how do you decide which one is the right one for you? I remember when I was searching for a BSN program that I was sifting through page after page of nursing school information. Prerequisite courses. GPA requirements. Program length. How do you find the right nursing program without becoming a computer junky?
First, let’s figure out which program is the right one for you. I personally chose an accelerated BSN program. The program lasted sixteen months and was intense! I chose this because by the time I decided on nursing, it took as much time to complete one nursing degree as it would’ve to complete my degree and do an accelerated BSN program too! Definitely glad I made that decision.
The four most common options for BSN programs are the freshman admission BSN, the transfer admission BSN, the RN to BSN, and the second degree accelerated BSN programs. Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.
Freshman admission BSN: Students apply to this program while they are in high school. There is a set plan of study that must be completed with certain minimum grades (usually B- or higher) and cumulative GPA in order for the students to matriculate into the nursing program. Most freshman admission BSN programs are four years in total.
Transfer admission BSN: These BSN programs encompass only the nursing core classes. Students apply to these programs after they have completed prerequisite courses and admission tests. The most common admission test is the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam. This program is most commonly four semesters long and two years in length.
RN to BSN: Students choosing this program must have their RN license. These programs are offered almost solely online. There is usually a clinical component that can be completed at a hospital of your choice. The program lengths vary based on how many general education courses the RN has completed. Most programs can be completed in as little as 12-24 months.
Second Degree Accelerated BSN: This type of program is the one that I receive the most questions about. Most accelerated programs last anywhere from 12-18 months during which you take 14-18 credits each semester. All programs require that you have a previous bachelor’s degree and that you have taken the required prerequisite courses. Most recommend that you don’t have a job or any other commitments while getting your BSN. During each semester I had both didactic and clinical courses in the hospital. My last semester was the most time intensive. I had a 225 hour practicum with one nurse as well as my psychiatric clinical rotation.
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This is a great option for a variety of students. Many of the people in my BSN program were pursuing their second career. Others were in my situation of deciding a little bit late that nursing was what they wanted.
What do you do if there are no accelerated BSN programs close by for you? Although this is not the ideal situation, one option is to complete an ADN program to get your RN. After completing this program, you can pursue an RN to BSN program online. The other option is to apply as a transfer student to a local university.
Regardless of what path you take to get your BSN, the outcome will be well worth it! Good luck with your search for the right nursing program for you!