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Arkansas State University

Types of Courses Offered in an RN to BSN Program

A registered nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program provides a pathway for diploma and associate degree nurses who wish to strengthen their clinical reasoning and analytical skills to advance their careers. These programs are growing in importance since many professional practice settings now require or prefer the baccalaureate degree for specific nursing roles.

An Overview of an Online RN to BSN program

Nurses in an RN to BSN program complete a set of core BSN courses covering a range of topics including cultural competence, clinical pathophysiology, evidence-based practice, nursing management, health statistics and basic pharmacology. These courses differentiate a BSN from an associate degree in nursing (ADN) in several regards. BSN coursework includes a capstone course that applies comprehensive program knowledge to problem-solving through identification, analysis, synthesis, plan implementation and evaluation. The application of evidence-based practice through research — for example, evaluating evidence and basing decisions on research findings — is a feature of baccalaureate-level coursework. In addition, real-world application of conceptual practices takes place through direct and indirect care practice exercises in BSN courses.

Direct Care Practice

Online RN to BSN programs also include direct care and indirect care experiences. Direct care encompasses patient services at the point of care that involve working with other healthcare providers to meet health-related goals. Direct care also includes ideas such as collaborating with other nurses to implement new procedures and evidence-based nursing practice. In an online RN to BSN program, students gain direct care practice through clinical rotations.

Indirect Care Practice

Indirect care refers to the application of knowledge to health decisions on patients’ behalf. Examples of indirect care experience include learning how to teach safe and effective uses of technology to other healthcare providers, writing policies with stakeholders to improve a facility’s quality of care, and working with community leaders to develop a disaster or emergency preparedness plan. Indirect care practice leverages a nurse’s soft skills and healthcare knowledge to inform others how to help future patients.

Most online RN to BSN programs offer a range of courses based on recommendations from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). These curricula bolster an RN’s existing knowledge with evidence-based practice, research skills, in-depth science and advanced social skills, which, combined with direct and indirect practice experience, give BSN nurses the edge in quality of care.

Learn more about the Arkansas State University online RN to BSN program.


AACN: Expectations for Practice Experiences in the RN to Baccalaureate Curriculum

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