Nursing is an honorable profession. It offers opportunities to help others and lead out in community health. Although there are several paths to becoming a registered nurse, the associate’s degree in nursing remains the most popular as candidates seek to get the credential in the fastest possible time. However, more and more prospects are enrolling in a BSN degree program to enhance their employment opportunities and facilitate future studies. Even registered nurses, who initially completed the associate’s degree, count their education as a stepping-stone. There’s a huge demand for nurses with a BSN or above, so enrolling in a baccalaureate program will lead to major career advantages.
In today’s complex healthcare environment, a nurse’s expanded role incorporates providing, managing, and coordinating patient care. The BSN degree not only opens the door to positions in administration and management but also a higher salary that comes from filling the demands of the best employers. Entry-level nursing may be rewarding, but it’s also predictable. Through advanced training in leadership, communication, and community care, BSN graduates can move into new areas of interest that will pave the way for personal satisfaction and growth. By combining their experience and credentials, many registered nurses carve their own niche and function as consultants in various aspects of health.
The BSN degree may not be the only pathway to registered nursing. However, the American Association of College of Nursing (AACN), along with other leading organizations in the industry, would like it to be the minimum educational requirement for professional nursing practice. By covering a broad spectrum of areas, the curriculum prepares graduates to work as case managers, supervisors, or leaders in community care.
Careers in upper-level management and education appeal to many nurses, especially later on in their careers. These positions typically require a master’s degree with a focus in the area of specialty. The BSN provides the key to graduate study and advanced practice nursing. There’s a nationwide shortage of nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse midwives, so advanced practice nursing gives RNs an opportunity to take their career in a different direction. The growing need for nurse educators provides a different opportunity for nurses to move into and make a difference in the lives of future generations.
Whether your motivation is professional advancement, improving patient care techniques and social welfare skills, or being a positive role model, you’ll receive greater satisfaction with a BSN degree. The changing healthcare system brought on by an aging population with more complicated conditions demands professionals who are versed in information technology and possess advanced clinical and leadership skills. Given the cost and length of the BSN program, it would be wise to compare schools and search for financial resources that would help to decrease out-of-pocket costs.
Following is a list of the various types of BSN programs available in Colorado.
LPN to BSN: An individual with a licensed practical diploma from an accredited institution, a license to practice as an LPN, and experience as a practical nurse may qualify for advanced placement in some BSN programs. The general education, science, and nursing courses may be transferable after review. LPNs can typically earn a BSN degree in 2 to 3 years depending on the former education.
RN to BSN: Registered nurses with an associate’s degree or diploma are finding that their career depends on their willingness to go back to school. Many hospitals in Colorado and across the country require nurses to have a bachelor’s degree at minimum. The shift in requirements leads to a proliferation of RN-BSN programs and a corresponding surge in enrollment in by nurses seeking to upgrade their education. Courses are available online for flexibility and convenience. Many community colleges now partner with four-year schools to facilitate the seamless transition from the ADN to BSN degree.
Traditional BSN: The traditional BSN curriculum is designed to accommodate any individual who may not have a prior education and training in healthcare. However, a background in math and science may be advantageous. The student begins with the general education and science requirements before commencing the core nursing courses, which accounts for about 50 percent of the total credit hours. The traditional BSN program takes approximately 3 to 4 years to complete the general education and nursing requirements.
Fast-track BSN: Accelerated programs allow individuals with a degree in another discipline to fast-track their way into a career in nursing. With a degree from a nationally accredited institution, the student will commence the program with core nursing courses, provided the school transfers in the general education and science courses. Students enrolled in an accelerated program can earn a BSN degree in12 to 24 months.
Graduates of the LPN-BSN, accelerated BSN, and traditional BSN programs are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN for licensure as a registered nurse.
Traditional BSN Programs
The BSN program includes a balance of general education and nursing theory and practical experiences for students to acquire the knowledge and skills to function as a practitioner of nursing.
Review the list of programs approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) below to find a program that meets your budget and goals.
Throughout the program, students will receive didactic instruction with coordinated clinical experiences in patient care in a variety of health care settings. The general education courses provide a foundation for the core nursing courses, which may follow a defined sequence.
Traditional routes usually require a full-time commitment although the pace may be adjusted to meet other responsibilities and commitments. The goal of the curriculum is to prepare graduates to administer patient-centered care, apply evidence-based practice, focus on patient safety, promote teamwork and collaboration, use patient care technologies, and be accountable for actions and decisions. Upon completion of the program, the graduate will be eligible to write the NCLEX-RN exam for registered nurse licensure.
The enrollment criteria will vary by school, but standard requirements include:
- Secure admission to the university as a degree-seeking student.
- Complete the prerequisite course.
- Obtain a passing score on the admissions test.
- Submit a copy of official transcript of education.
- Provide letters of reference from professional and academic sources.
- Possess a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above on prerequisite courses.
Once accepted into the program, you may have to complete BLS for Healthcare Providers, pass a criminal background check, and carry personal health insurance.
Second Degree BSN
The accelerated BSN program is a second-degree program targeted to individuals who want to complete the BSN in a fastest possible time. The applicant must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. With the transfer of credits, the student can complete the requirements to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 12 to 18 months. To enroll in this pathway, the student must complete the general education courses and prerequisite requirements with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above.
Enrollment requirements may include submission of official transcripts from each institution attended, competitive scores on the HESI A2 pre-admission exam, pass a personal interview, and submit a report of a certified background check. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN to practice as a registered nurse.
How Much Do BSN Programs Cost?
Once you’ve decided to enroll in a BSN program, you’ll have to take stock of your finances to determine if they will pose a potential barrier to completing your degree. There’s no denying that college costs money, so you’ll have to figure out how to pay for your education. Enrolling in a public school can help to lower the cost of your education. Fortunately, there are several excellent nursing programs at public universities in Colorado.
Before you submit your application, it is essential that you evaluate your financial need for the time you will be in school. The cost of attendance is a reflection of your expenses while you’re a student and includes living expenses, tuition, transportation and books. Nursing students also have to factor in the cost of health insurance, clinical apparel, testing fees, and lab fees. A financial aid officer at the school will use your cost of attendance to determine your financial aid package, so assess your financial needs beforehand and plan accordingly.
Financial aid incorporates all the financial resources that will help you to pay for your education. It takes into consideration sources of funding from the government, your school, family support, scholarships, grants, and private loans. Scholarships and grants should be your first stop as these are sources of funding that you won’t have to repay. Funding from family and friends may represent interest-free loans that you may have to repay at an agreed time. If you’re employed in health care, your employer may be interested in your attempt to further your education and may offer tuition reimbursement, tuition remission, or loan repayment. Some employers may cover the entire cost if you commit to working at the institution for an established period. The approximate cost of completing a BSN degree at a public university is $42,400.
Nursing is a rewarding profession that offers a competitive salary and range of options to advance your career in health. Career advancement opportunities are primarily available to nurses who complete the BSN degree and advance their education in easy, manageable steps. Registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree have the best opportunities, higher salaries, and are often placed in a position to supervise other nurses and take on administrative duties.
Before you choose a program, consider your options for schooling, making sure that you choose an accredited institution, your finances, and personal commitments. With your plan laid out, you can traverse the path to a career in nursing that will lead to numerous job opportunities, excellent pay, career advancement, and job satisfaction.
Review the list of Board-approved registered nursing programs with NCLEX-RN pass rates in Colorado and choose the one that’s right for you.
BSN Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates Colorado:
Alamosa, CO BSN Programs:
Adams State University
208 Edgemont Boulevard, Alamosa, CO 81101
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 68.42%
Aurora, CO BSN Programs:
3100 South Parker Road, Aurora, CO 80014
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 81.25%
Colorado Springs, CO BSN Programs:
University of Colorado
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.94%
University of Phoenix
2 North Cascade Avenue, Suite 100, Colorado Springs, CO 80903-1620
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 68.75%
Denver, CO BSN Programs:
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Campus Box 16 PO Box 173362, Denver, CO 80217-3362
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.02%
3333 Regis Boulevard, Denver, CO 80221-1099
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.36%
Denver School of Nursing
1401 19th Street, Denver, CO 80202
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.43%
University of Colorado Denver
1250 14th Street, Denver, CO 80217
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.59%
Grand Junction, CO BSN Programs:
Colorado Mesa University
1100 North Avenue, Grand Junction, CO 81501-3122
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.77%
Greeley, CO BSN Programs:
University of Northern Colorado
501 20 Street, Greeley, CO 80639
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.11%
Lakewood, CO BSN Programs:
Colorado Christian University
8787 West Alameda Avenue, Lakewood, CO 80226
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.66%
Pueblo, CO BSN Programs:
Colorado State University- Pueblo
2200 Bonforte Boulevard, Pueblo, CO 81001-4901
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.10%