RN-to-BSN curriculum

by Eileainn Eileainn (New) New Nurse

What exactly does the RN-to-BSN curriculum cover? Does it go any deeper into disease and pharm? From what I could see at various websites it doesn't seem to.



48 Posts

I am doing an RN to BSN bridge program right now. so far, I am in the second semester of it and we've covered health care systems, nursing leadership, nursing informatics, nursing in politics and how nurses can affect change.. right now I am taking a course called disaster nursing where it is all about emergency preparedness. It is a lot of nursing theories and leadership type stuff. You write a lot of papers that's for sure. 


llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

While it varies from program to program ... most programs assume that your original RN program covered the physiology and individual patient care topics sufficiently for you to become a competent, practicing RN.   So they don't include much of that in the RN-BSN curricula.  Remember, they are not trying to prepare their students to be competent bedside nurses -- you should already be prepared for that.   They are also not trying to make you into an advanced practice nurse.   

The BSN is an "entry-level" degree and they are just trying to give you the broader education to better prepare you some of the more advanced functions of some of the more sophisticated jobs at the staff nurse level and slightly above.   Such roles include:   preceptor, charge nurse, staff educator, unit manager, discharge planner, patient educator, program coordinator, community health nurse, policy writer, research team member, evidence-based practice project team member or leader, etc.   Such roles are available to nurses without a Master's Degree, but not all ADN and diploma programs provide a lot of coursework focusing on the broader knowledge base that is helpful for such functions.

I teach online nursing courses in which half of my students are enrolled in an RN-BSN program (already practicing RNs) and the other half are pre-licensure students who already have Bachelor's Degrees in other fields enrolled in a "nursing as a second degree" program.   Both groups need some of the same content (community health, health policy, leadership, research and evidence-based practice, patient education, etc.) -- so there is some overlap in the courses they need and they take those classes together.   But their needs are not totally the same as the pre-licensure students need the clinical piece that the others got in their original RN program. 

Rita June Jarvis Isaac

Rita June Jarvis Isaac

Specializes in Education. Has 32 years experience. 22 Posts

At my college, the BSN upgrade program was developed to assist the diploma or ADN certified nurse to reach the BSN status. The course entailed what we call core courses and a few specialized nursing courses like Nursing Science which is a course about theorists and the application to nursing practice, education, and management. Nursing informatics was also provided to introduce technology use in nursing and healthcare. There are a number of other courses like leadership and entrepreneurship, however, a major course introduced was Health Assessment as this was not formally taught in the other programs. I think we are a long way off, having a BSN as the entry-level to nursing.