What do you learn in an RN-to-BSN Program?

So you have your Associate Degree in Nursing. What next? Maybe you’re feeling content as a registered nurse, or maybe you want to strive for something better. Either way, hopefully this information will help you be a little more informed about what Nightingale’s RN-to-BSN Program has to offer.


The program is designed to build upon the things you learned in your associates to give you a broader, more well-rounded sense of nursing. Not only will you go deeper into concepts you have learned previously, like disease prevention and health promotion, the RN-to-BSN Program at Nightingale will teach you things you haven’t delved into quite yet, like psychiatrics and gerontology.


Dr. Kay Haw, an instructor in our BSN program, said “Some areas that warrant further detail presented in a BSN program are theoretical foundations, critical ethical and legal issues related to the nursing profession and healthcare organizations, research practices and processes, evidence-based practice, governance, project management, population health and leadership.”


As a nurse, continuous education is part of the profession because the health care field is constantly evolving with new and improved means of patient care. Advanced degrees and specialized certifications are sometimes necessary to get you to the nursing level you want to be at and, not to mention, make you more attractive to your current and future employers.


So let’s talk about what will you learn in an RN-to-BSN program.


General Education Courses

Part of Nightingale’s RN-to-BSN Program includes general education courses: English, math, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and others. Nightingale accepts transfer credit from other schools if the classes fit the criteria. During the admissions process, you will submit your official transcripts from all prior colleges, and the registrar will do an evaluation to determine transfer credit. If you have already completed the GE credits beforehand, you could complete the program in as few as 8 months.


Specialized Nursing

Have you wondered what you should specialize in? In the BSN program, you can dive into different programs to see what you like. You will foray into gerontology, critical care, psychiatrics, disease management, and many other fields. This gives you the opportunity to experience different fields within nursing to help determine what specialty fits your interests and unique talents. In addition, a deeper understanding of each of these fields will better prepare nurses to manage complex patients with multiple needs.


There are many things explored more in detail in a BSN program that provide an increased knowledge base and foundation into health care. There are also many areas that are introduced to instill critical thinking at a whole new level,” said Dr. Haw.


Critical Thinking and Decision Making

Like Dr. Haw said, critical thinking is up to a whole new level in the BSN. Are you an on-the-fly decision maker who can triage people in an ER with a blink of an eye? Probably not. This skill takes a great deal of practice! With courses in critical thinking and decision making, learners will be taught to use, as the Nightingale College BSN course description page reads, “ethical, political, legal, cultural, spiritual, clinical, and other considerations as part of the decision-making process.”

Want to take a deeper look into the RN-to-BSN nursing core classes to really know what you will have the opportunity to learn?
Click here. 
Ethics and Policy

We know policy sounds boring, but a foundational knowledge of ethics and policy can keep you from losing your job, and help you make decisions. Nurses who are BSN-prepared are often selected for leadership positions, and as a leader, being keen on ethics and adherence to hospital policies are a must. As a nurse, you already know the importance of understanding ethics and policy. To help get you to that next level, a deeper understanding is crucial and that is what a BSN program helps you do.



We can’t say it any better than the course description does: “Research in nursing is important to promote, maintain, and restore health, and to ensure quality and safety in nursing practice.” These courses promote scholarship in nursing by showing learners how scientific nursing knowledge is gained. As a leader in health care in your community, no one knows the community’s health concerns more than you. The RN-to-BSN Program is there to act as a stepping stone and supporter to help you determine what health issues are prevalent while providing you the resources and education to take action.


Community Health

Many of the courses focus on nursing from a community health perspective instead of from a patient-to-patient perspective. Nurses in Nightingale College’s BSN Program will be trained to think about health care as it affects societies and vulnerable populations, and understand the unique circumstances in a multicultural society. As part of Nightingale’s BSN program you will complete a community health project to improve the health in your community.


Capstone Leadership Project

Nightingale’s RN-to-BSN Program is unique and is designed to help you stand out from your nurse colleagues as a leader. The Capstone Leadership Project is a program-long course that you start in your first semester and wrap up in your last. However, it is not like other capstone projects in nursing schools; Nightingale’s is employer focused. We want to position you as a problem solver, a leader, and critical thinker. The project is not to be taken lightly as it requires you to engage with your employer to uncover solutions to problems that hinder patient care.

Curious about the Capstone Leadership Project?
Learn more by clicking here.

In a field with ever-changing technologies, it is important to be current on health systems and equipment. Information management and patient care systems evolve constantly, so it is important to know how to navigate this new space. An updated knowledge of computer science and technology will help you stay current in the workplace, and, as our slogan states, be “Better with a BSN.”


Are you ready to become better with a BSN? We are ready to help you! Take the first step in securing your nursing future by visiting www.nightingale.edu/bsn.

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