What Is A BSN Degree? Definition And Career Opportunities
Updated 11 October 2022
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A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree provides you with the knowledge and skills to build your medical career as a nurse. A nurse's role is vital to the healthcare system and helps aid quality patient care at all stages of treatment. Learning about the different career opportunities as a nurse may help you understand your suitability for the role. In this article, we discuss what a BSN degree is, list its advantages and explore the various career openings it provides.
What Is A BSN Degree?
A BSN degree is a four-year academic degree that provides theoretical and practical skills for nursing practices and policies. It aids your educational advancement in medicine and may help you gain better opportunities. The rigorous coursework provides a foundation in patient-centred care, clinical judgement and physical assessment. It is also a foundation course if you wish to pursue an advanced degree in nursing. The degree qualifies you for several entry-level jobs in nursing that can help you build a career and progress to roles such as nurse manager, charge nurse or nurse leader.
Related: What Does A Staff Nurse Do? (Skills And Responsibilities)
Advantages Of Pursuing A BSN
Gaining a BSN may help you build a career in medicine. It has several advantages, including:
Increased earning potential
A BSN is a higher educational qualification that helps you increase your earning potential given the skills and knowledge it imparts. It showcases your experience and expertise in nursing compared to a registered nurse (RN). Similarly, presenting your RN licence with your bachelor's degree may give you a better chance of a higher salary.
Related: List Of 16 Advantages Of Being A Nurse (And What They Do)
Better job opportunities
A flourishing nursing career requires extensive education, and a BSN may help you. Medical facilities work to improve the care they provide their patients, so they look for educated nurses to join their teams. You are more likely to receive better opportunities owing to the extensive foundational skills the course imparts. The degree also allows you to choose a job in a specific speciality such as cancer, paediatric or cardiac care. A bachelor's degree together with a RN licence may improve your chances of securing a better job.
Advanced skill set
Obtaining a BSN helps you expand your knowledge and skill set. It provides the necessary nursing and advanced medical techniques for patient care. The course teaches theoretical and practical skills vital to handling stressful circumstances. It usually covers subjects such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry, microbiology, pharmacology and fundamentals of nursing practice.
A BSN allows you to later specialise in medical fields such as oncology, psychiatry or gynaecology. It provides you with the necessary foundational skills to pursue a master's degree in nursing. These advanced degrees give more experience in practical cases, health assessments and patient care. The experience helps you to advance your nursing career.
Different Educational Qualifications For Nursing
Training to become a nurse requires hours of rigorous learning and training. There are different educational levels that you may choose. Each level helps you receive specific job opportunities. Higher qualifications improve your chances of securing a more highly paid job and advancing your career in medicine. Here are some of the different educational qualifications:
Degree programmes: These programmes, like BSNs, are typically four-year courses that provide rigorous training and in-depth knowledge about different nursing practices. These courses are available to undergraduates and may also include specific postgraduate degree programmes.
Diploma or certificate programmes: Diploma programmes in nursing are available to undergraduate and postgraduate candidates. They are typically between six months to a year in duration, but they may be up to four years long, depending on the specialisation.
13 Career Opportunities After A BSN Degree
A BSN provides you with several job opportunities to build your career. These include:
1. Family nurse practitioner
A family nurse practitioner also requires a RN licence to provide nursing care to patients of all ages. They focus on holistic family health and provide services such as disease prevention, counselling and the treatment of complex health conditions. They formulate treatment plans for acute and chronic diseases and evaluate patients' lifestyles.
Related: What Are Skills For A Nurse Practitioner? (With Examples)
2. Oncology nurse
Oncology nurses care for cancer patients and educate their families on the course of the treatment. They administer medication, aid pain relief, monitor patient progress and change dressings. They also provide supportive care to patients and their families to alleviate the stress and trauma associated with cancer.
Related: 32 Oncology Nurse Interview Questions (Plus Sample Answers)
3. Clinical nurse
Clinical nurses work in hospitals and clinics while being a part of the administration team. They perform health assessments, administer medication and supervise nursing staff. As part of their administrative role, clinical nurses facilitate training for nursing students and develop nursing policies for the healthcare facility.
4. Obstetrics and gynaecology (OB/GYN) nurse
Obstetrics and gynaecology (OB/GYN) nurses work with female patients and newborn babies diagnosed with an illness. They educate their patients about prenatal care, birth control and the prevention of diseases affecting childbirth. They assist doctors during childbirth and work with other clinical staff to treat newborns and their mothers. OB/GYN nurses speak to patients to obtain their medical history and also coordinate with physicians.
Related: Labour And Delivery Nurse Skills: Definition And Examples
5. Nurse consultant
A nurse consultant may work in different environments, including hospitals, clinics, law firms or health insurance companies. They evaluate, analyse and organise medical records while providing their opinions on cases. They may act as an expert witness during trials in the event of medical negligence or malpractice. In some instances, they advise lawyers on healthcare cases or nursing practices.
6. Pain management nurse
Pain management nurses care for patients with acute or chronic pain. They assess the pain and work with doctors to create a treatment plan involving therapeutic methods and medication. They may work in outpatient pain or physical therapy and provide care in palliative programs.
7. Surgical nurse
A surgical nurse, also known as a theatre or scrub nurse, is part of a surgeon's team. They provide patient care before, during and after surgical procedures. A surgical nurse takes care of preparing the patient for surgery, assisting surgeons and anaesthetists and marking incision sites during surgery. They may also prepare the operating room and administer patient medication post surgery.
8. Nursing administrators
Nursing administrators are part of the administration staff at a healthcare facility. They supervise other nurses and team members. A nursing administrator is responsible for creating important policies and procedures for the medical staff to ensure discipline and adherence to performance standards. They may also help the administrative staff with budgeting, performance evaluations and conducting staff meetings.
9. Travel nurse
Travel nurses visit patients and assist at healthcare facilities. They inspect wounds, change dressings, monitor patient recovery and compile reports. They report to doctors and other healthcare professionals in their treatment of patients. Travel nurses assist at hospitals and clinics when short-staffed.
Related: How To Write A Home Health Nurse Resume (With Template)
10. Paediatric nurse practitioner
Paediatric nurses work with children from birth to their late teens. They diagnose illness, prescribe medication and perform annual checkups whenever necessary. The paediatric nurse practitioner is responsible for communicating with the child's guardian to address their concerns and the treatment options.
11. Cardiac nurse
Cardiac nurses work with cardiologists and help manage acute and chronic heart-related issues in patients. They perform health assessments, monitor medication and report the patient's progress to the concerned doctor. Cardiac nurses may assist in medical procedures such as bypass and angioplasty.
12. Geriatric nurse
Geriatric nurses cater to the physical and mental needs of older patients. They help treat ailments and illnesses in older patients, including Alzheimer's or cancer. A geriatric nurse aims to improve the quality of life of older patients and tries to make them active and independent.
13. Nurse manager
A nurse manager is a part of the administrative staff at a hospital. They work to ensure a safe work environment and patient and employee satisfaction. The nurse manager in a hospital helps maintain quality standards and aligns nursing goals with the hospital's strategic goals.
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