It is an exciting time to become a nurse. As a registered nurse, you’ll have the opportunity to choose where you work and in what direction you want your career to go. Nurses have always played a critical role in healthcare, working on the frontlines to bring relief to the sick, counsel patients and their families, and provide a word of comfort in difficult times. Today, their roles involve much more than bedside care. Nurses are educating patients to improve recovery and reduce readmissions, managing and redesigning healthcare, improving processes, and working closely with patients to monitor their conditions. Bedside care has expanded to care coordination where nurses care for the whole patient rather than treat a specific condition.
The bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) helps students acquire a wealth of knowledge and skills and develop a unique perspective in patient care. The program emphasize promotes the development of critical thinking and clinical judgment to enable graduates to design patient care plans and take on leadership roles. Employers are confident in BSN graduates, which is evident in the rise in demand for BSN-prepared nurses. Unlike the associate’s degree, the BSN program includes separate nursing modules on community nursing, pediatrics, health assessment, nursing theory, nursing research, psychosocial nursing, nurse management and leadership, and ethics. The educational preparation of these graduates gives them the competency to take on an expanded role in care.
While enrollment in the associate’s degree program exceeds the bachelor’s enrollment, there has been a steady increase in the number of applicants to the BSN program. The growing trend can be attributed to the 2010 report published by the Institute of Medicine, entitled, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change and Advancing Health.” The report urges nurses to seek higher levels of education in every aspect of the profession. One recommendation in the report is to have 80 percent of nurses with a baccalaureate degree by 2020 to improve leadership skills and encourage the utilization of research to improve patient outcomes.
The industry does not seek to discredit the contributions of nurses who practice with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. They have and continue to make a significant impact on the patients’ lives and society as a whole. However, the need for a holistic approach to nursing is becoming even more pronounced in light of the demands on the health care system. Nurses are still on the frontlines of care, but they are also playing a critical role as advocates and innovators. They are using their advanced training to make crucial interventions as they manage patients’ physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and medical needs. They advocate for patients to facilitate optimal health, develop individualized plans for each patient, and teach patients to manage their own health.
Following is a list of the various types of BSN programs available in Louisiana.
LPN to BSN: The LPN to BSN track provides an opportunity for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) to obtain a BSN degree. LPNs who can demonstrate completion of an accredited National League for Nursing (NLN) program and hold a valid license to practice will be awarded credit for their existing knowledge. The college or university may administer an exam to validate the applicant’s education and capabilities of fulfilling the requirements of the BSN program.
RN to BSN: The RN-BSN program prepares registered nurses to assume leadership roles and deliver evidence-based care in clinical settings. As more nurses recognize the value of baccalaureate education and its impact on their knowledge and technical skills, enrollment in this type of transition program is expected to increase. With the transfer of credits (up to 96), the RN student can save time and money by making the most of their ADN study. The program employs flexible online delivery of the course content to give nurses the freedom to work and study.
Traditional BSN: The traditional BSN program is attracting more students as demand for nurses prepared at the bachelor’s level increases. Recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and American Association of Colleges of Nursing are just a few of the influencing factors that garner support for the BSN and boost enrollment in BSN program. The program admits adults who may not have experience in health care and prepares them to take a leading role in patient care. Graduates must take the NCLEX to obtain a license to practice as a registered nurse.
Fast-track BSN: The specially designed fast-track BSN lets non-nurse college graduates obtain a degree in nursing. The program requires a full-time commitment and may be completed in 12 to 18 months. Students will need to complete the prerequisite courses before entering the rigorous program. The curriculum will cover 40 to 55 credits of nursing courses that will commence in the first semester. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX to receive a license to practice as a registered nurse.
Traditional BSN Programs
The traditional BSN program is targeted to adults who are seeking their first degree in nursing. It provides entry-level nursing education that builds on a scientific background, nursing courses, and clinical experiences at local health care facilities. The program may be completed in three years starting from the sophomore year.
The curriculum covers both the knowledge and skills students need for professional practice. Nurses today must have strong decision-making skills, clinical judgment, leadership, and the ability to practice outside the traditional hospital setting. More and more, medical services are being delivered in community settings, patients’ homes, and other non-traditional settings. The BSN prepares students to meet the challenges of providing care in these areas. It emphasizes real-world learning and keeping on top of the latest advances and innovations in practice. Students also have opportunities to lead teams, engage in community service, and collaborate with other students and health care professionals.
Admission to the BSN program is competitive. Applicants are selected for admittance based on a specific set of criteria that may include:
- A completed application and fee
- Two letters of reference
- HESI A2 test scores
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 on prerequisite coursework
- Official transcripts of college courses, high school dual-enrollment credit, and prerequisite courses
Clinical education is a critical component of the BSN program. Training at an affiliate partner’s facility will require students to meet the health requirements, including a TB test, immunizations, CPR certification, and urine drug test. Students may also need to submit to a criminal background check.
Second Degree BSN
The second degree nursing program, also known as an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (ABSN) is designed for the adult learner who has completed an undergraduate degree and the prerequisite courses for enrollment. The full-time program may be completed in 12 to 18 months and covers approximately 55 credit hours of study and 600 to 800 hours of clinical experience. The curriculum covers all the components of the traditional BSN as it relates to core nursing courses. It emphasizes clinical leadership, community health, wellness and disease prevention, evidence-based nursing, cultural sensitivity, and the role of technology in decision-making. Under the direction of qualified faculty, students will deliver high-quality care in clinical settings.
By the end of the accelerated program, students will be prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to qualify for licensure as a registered nurse.
Interested persons must have a bachelor’s degree and have eligible transfer credits in liberal arts based on their completion of an accredited bachelor’s degree program. Applicants must also satisfy the prerequisite course requirements including but not limited to microbiology, developmental psychology, chemistry, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, and statistics.
- Completion of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.
- Completion of the prerequisite courses with a grade C or above
- An overall minimum GPA of 3.0
- Criminal background check
- Health screen including a physical exam, immunization, TB test, and urine drug screen.
How Much Do BSN Programs Cost?
It is vital that you meet with a financial aid officer at the college or university to work out the full cost of completing the BSN program and locate viable sources of aid. Consider the full cost of tuition for the duration including any potential increases in the existing rate. In many ways, flat rate tuition offers more value for money than a per credit rate, especially if you’re a full-time student. Fees and expenses can also take a chunk out of your finances, so be sure to factor in all the costs, including textbooks, nursing supplies, CPR, background check, licensure exam, and health insurance. Tuition at the University of Louisiana costs $1,184 per credit or $4,944 for 112 credits.
Here’s a list of Louisiana State Board of Nursing approved BSN programs and NCLEX-RN pass rates.
BSN Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates Louisiana
Baton Rouge, LA BSN Programs:
Southern University and A&M College
801 Harding Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA 70813
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.22%
Grambling, LA BSN Programs:
Grambling State University
403 Main Street, Grambling, LA 71245
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 33.33%
Hammond, LA BSN Programs:
Southeastern Louisiana University
400 Tennessee Avenue, SLU Box 10835, Hammond, LA 70402
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.33%
Lafayette, LA BSN Programs:
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
104 East University Circle, Lafayette, LA 70503
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.18%
Lake Charles, LA BSN Programs:
McNeese State University
4205 Ryan Street, Lake Charles, LA 70609-0415
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.20%
Monroe, LA BSN Programs:
The University of Louisiana at Monroe
700 University Avenue, Monroe, LA 71209
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 98.59%
New Orleans, LA BSN Programs:
2601 Gentilly Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70122
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 54.35%
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing
1900 Gravier Street, New Orleans, LA 70112
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.04%
Our Lady of Holy Cross College
4123 Woodland Drive, New Orleans, LA 70131-7399
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 73.05%
University of Holy Cross
4123 Woodland Dr, New Orleans, LA 70131
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.15%
Pineville, LA BSN Programs:
1140 College Drive, Pineville, Louisiana
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 69.77%
Shreveport, LA BSN Programs:
Northwestern State University
1800 Line Avenue, Shreveport, LA 71101
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.32%
Thibodaux, LA BSN Programs:
Nicholls State University
PO Box 2004, Thibodaux, LA 70310
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.57%