What is a Second Degree BSN?
First off you should take a look at our bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) guide to learn more about the over all degree. A BSN is one of the degrees you can earn in order to become a registered nurse (RN). BSN programs prepare you through classwork and clinical experiences to sit for the NCLEX exam and work as an RN. The second degree BSN program is specifically designed for people who already have a bachelors degree in another field. These programs may also be referred to Direct Entry or Accelerated BSN programs. Typically, a Second Degree BSN program will take about 2 years. It may take longer if you choose to enroll part-time. By earning your BSN you will be regarded as a highly employable nurse.
Why Should I Do a Second Degree BSN?
If you already have bachelors and are hoping to make a career change into nursing doing one of these programs may be just the path for you. You won't have to waste time taking core courses such as history and English. Instead you can just jump right in and focus on the nursing specific courses. Another advantage of getting your BSN is that if you decide to further your career even more later and earn your PhD or become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), you will have the required degree to apply..
Entrance Requirements for Second Degree BSN Programs
Each university will vary somewhat in their application requirements. in general you can expect them to align with George Washington University's requirements:
- You must have a bachelors degree in another field. You will be required to submit proof of completion such as your transcripts. You should also have graduated with a GPA of at least 3.0.
- Additionally, there are certain pre-requisite courses you will have to take. These may be:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- As a part of your application you will have to submit letters of recommendation.
- Make sure you submit an up to date resume to highlight your experience.
- Most programs will require you to write at least 1 essay or a personal statement.
- Submitting the application will likely involve a fee. This can vary from school to school.
- Some programs require prospective students to interview as well.
Online Second Degree BSN Programs
Many schools now have at least partially online options for completing your BSN. These programs can enable you to continue working and meet other life goals while you pursue your education. These programs use technology to deliver classes online and allow you to complete assignments and class discussions from the comfort of your own home. They will also work with you to help you get obtain clinical experiences near your home or in a location convenient for you.
What Will I Study While Earning My Second Degree BSN Program?
Earning your BSN whether in a traditional or accelerate format requries that you complete certain courses. These courses are necessary to be eligible to take the NCLEX exam to become an RN. The benefit is that since this is your second degree, you will not have to repeat core courses that are not nursing related. George Washington University's program offers a good example of what a typical second degree BSN curriculum will look like:
- Health Policy, Quality, and Political Process
- Ethics in Nursing
- Evidence-Based-Practice for Healthcare Researchers
- Pediatric Nursing Theory and Clinical
- Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning II: Advanced Adult Medical-Surgical
- Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning I: Adult and Aging Acute and Chronic Illness
- Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning IV: Maternity and Women's Health Care
- Nursing Practice and Clinical Reasoning III: Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
- Health Assessment Theory and Clinical
- Nursing Leadership
- Transition into the Nursing Profession
- Children and Families
The required clinical hours to become an RN are determined by your state board of nursing (BON). In general you can expect to complete about 500 hours of supervised clinical practice during your 2 year education. During this time you will be able to gain confidence in your nursing skills by providing direct care to patients in a supervised setting. This will allow you to practice in a safe manner. That way when you go out into the nursing world you will have the confidence that you can provide safe care and you will also know your limitations as you continue to learn. In your clinical setting you will be supervised by an experienced nurse.
How Much Will it Cost?
It always comes down to money. Luckily for you there are a ton of ways to pay for your nursing education. It is also worth noting that the price of doing a second degree BSN will depend on the school you attend. Private schools will almost always cost more than public ones and both offer comparative quality educations. There are also various programs listed below that can help you pay for your nursing education. Here are price examples from a public and private school:
The Nurse Corps Loan Forgiveness program and Public Service Loan Forgiveness are two examples of programs that will pay for your education if you commit to working in medically underserved areas. This can help take the financial pressure out of pursuing a second bachelors degree. Some other repayment options are listed here:
- Individual Hospital Repayment Programs
- Perkins Loan Cancellation
- Military Programs
Our handy state guides are designed to help you find scholarships offered in your state as well!
How Much Do Nurses With a BSN Earn?
Having your BSN will give you a lot of flexibility in the type of salary you can earn. This, along with being an overall fulfilling career will makes nursing a desirable path. Your salary will change depend on where you work. Urban locations will pay more, but your cost of living will also likely be higher. Community health centers may not pay as much as private ones, but you will also be more likely to be eligible for the loan forgiveness programs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows RNs earning a median of $66,640 annually. You can earn the most in California, Hawaii, Alaska, Massachusetts, and Oregon at a salary between $80,000 to $96,000.
What are Some Specialty Areas I Could Work in with a BSN?
You will be able to work in almost any type of practice setting. Some locations may require a bit of experience first, but with your BSN you be fully prepared to gain that experience. Some areas where you may find yourself working are:
- Emergency Department: As a part of a larger team you will help triage and provide care to people with medical emergencies.
- Labor and Delivery: Helping care for laboring women and participating in the birth of their children can be incredibly rewarding.
- Oncology: Oncology nurse care for patients with cancer before, during, and after their treatment.
- Medical Surgical Floor: As a med-surg nurse you will care for patients with acute conditions or after they have had surgery.
- Operating Room: As a part of the OR team you ensure patient safety and provide care for them while they are being operated on.
- Trauma Nurse: You will play a vital role caring for acutely ill or severely injured patients. Often you will work with an emergency department team.
- Telemetry Nurse: As a telemetry nurse you will be monitoring patients whose conditions could change quickly. this role is important for ensuring they receive care quickly.
- Traveling Nurse: You will travel around the country providing care for patients in your specialty during short period of time such as 12 weeks. You will often go where you are needed most.
- School Nurse: You will provide nursing care for students by administering medications and vaccines, providing first aid, and educating them on health concepts.
4 Steps To Register for the NCLEX
Be sure to talk to your school about the requirements for signing up for the NCLEX. They can help you with timing and steps. The process can take some time, so don't wait until the last minute. Here are some important steps you need to take to register for the big day:
- Check out your state's BON website to sign up so that you are eligible to take the NCLEX. The NCBSN website has information you need on your state's BON.
- Your NCLEX eligibility requirements can be found through your BON.
- After this you should register for the test through Pearson VUE. Don't forget to find your program code when doing this! If you're not sure where to find it, contact your school.
- The last step is to use our NCLEX tips and practice exams to study!