RN to BSN Programs: 5 Classes to Make You a Better Nurse

NursingMarch 12, 2014

Have you ever wondered what courses RN to BSN programs had to offer? You may think that as a nurse with an associate degree in nursing that there isn't anything that a BSN could add to your repertoire. The truth is that there are several courses that can help you expand your skills and abilities in more ways than you'd think. While every program has slight differences, here is a basic rundown of what you can expect in an RN to BSN program.

Community Health Nursing

All programs should have a course discussing the finer points of Community Health Nursing. This includes public health topics like improving access to care, disaster management, immunizations, working with vulnerable populations and resolving health disparities. Essentially, instead of looking at individual patients, this course turns the focus on an entire community, addressing needs on a larger scale. It is a valuable course for every nurse as they consider their individual patient as part of a larger group.

Other courses in this same vein may address global health issues and the development of health policy.

Evidence-Based Practice

This course will dust off your knowledge of research, paper writing and critical thinking. You will learn how to search databases, form effective research questions, rank research studies according to reliability, and tie it all together into a recommendation for nursing practices on the whole. Every nurse should know how to critically evaluate a piece of scientific literature and determine its implications for practice. It can improve patient outcomes greatly, even if doing the research and writing the paper is a bit of an acquired taste.

Leadership and Economics

Many RN to BSN programs feature a professional development component that can take an RN from being a staff nurse to management material. These courses review delegation techniques, budgeting and economics, effective leadership techniques, conflict resolution and management principles. These courses prepare a nurse to step into roles of responsibility and to meet the challenges that come with those roles.

Nursing Informatics and Computing

Nursing is becoming a field that is increasingly dependent on computers and technology. Nursing informatics discusses principles of electronic storage and retrieval of medical information and how it can be optimized in clinical practice. It can be a valuable course for those interested in the field and for individuals that need a bit of an introduction into the world of computers as it relates to nursing.

A Final Project

Whether it is called a capstone, thesis, or final project, the majority of RN to BSN programs will require students to take everything they have learned and demonstrate it in a final paper or presentation. This project will take the place of a class, and the student will work on it for the duration of the semester. Plan on using your newfound evidence-based practice skills!

While you only need an associate degree in nursing to become licensed to practice as a nurse, a bachelor's degree takes your level of expertise and expands it to a wider client base, prepares you to manage other RNs, and helps you determine the best evidence-based practices available. It is an invaluable addition for a nurse that is looking to progress in the profession.

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