Earning your bachelor’s degree can open up exciting new possibilities in your life. It’s currently estimated that around 30% of the population holds a bachelor’s degree. This means those who have taken the time to expand their education in this way stand out in the crowd when it comes time to get a job.
If you have an innate desire to help others and show compassion to those facing health issues, a career in nursing could provide the satisfaction you’ve been looking for. Just a few other personal traits that may make you a good fit include:
- You’re willing to work hard.
- You have good interpersonal and communication skills.
- You’re decisive.
- You’re a natural multi-tasker.
- You can exhibit grace under pressure.
- You can stand for long periods of time.
Does this describe you? Are you ready to take the reins on your future and embark on a career path you enjoy? Keep reading to learn how you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing and land your dream job.
Tuition and Additional Costs
Let’s get to the big question first: how much is a degree in nursing going to cost? One of the biggest reasons such a low percentage of Americans hold a bachelor’s degree is because they feel they cannot afford to enter a program.
The truth is, there are different options to consider that allow even those on a low income to pursue higher goals. After all, you’re looking for a career in which you can advance, right? The investment in your degree will allow you to do just that and get you out of your current dead-end job.
To give you an idea of what to expect in terms of cost, let’s break it down:
- Degree program typically takes 3-4 years to complete.
- Depending on the school you choose, you can expect to pay anywhere between $25,000-$120,000.
- On average, students pursuing their BSN pay between $35,000-$60,000.
With that being said, consider what your investment gives you. A nurse can earn a salary well over $100,000 per year given adequate experience. The average nurse earns around $70,000 per year. When compared with the salary you’re making now, the difference is probably worth the initial investment.
Keep in mind, the longer you spend in the healthcare industry, the more experience you gain. The great news about a career in nursing is that your services only grow more valuable with time.
So, you’ve decided to invest in your Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Now, what can you expect once you get into the classroom setting? A BSN program is designed to adequately prepare you to succeed on the job. Your curriculum will be split up into prerequisites, or foundational classes needed to grasp future concepts and nursing classes. This will be largely dictated by your state’s board of nursing. You can typically expect the following:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Nursing Foundations
- Nursing Care of Adults
- Behavioral Health
- Maternal and Child Care Nursing
Each degree program has its own specific requirements, but these guidelines are pretty common across the board. If any of these topics sound tough, the great news is that, as part of the college experience, you’ll learn to master the unknown and handle things you aren’t comfortable with. Just a few great tips to overcome difficult subjects include:
- Set aside a time and place dedicated to your studies.
- Take advantage of your instructors’ office hours to get additional help when necessary.
- Pay attention to how you learn so you can pinpoint what your preferred learning style is.
- Don’t be afraid to take a break.
Don’t worry. You won’t be required to spend all your learning time in a stuffy classroom. As part of any BSN degree program, you will be required to fulfill clinical hours. This is time spent in real-world scenarios under the guidance of experienced instructors.
Each state has its own requirements for how many clinical hours you need to satisfy your degree program. Until these requirements are met, you will be unable to take the NCLEX-RN exam. A few tips that can prove helpful as you start putting in your clinical hours include:
- Learn everyone’s names early-on.
- Participate in pre and post-conferences.
- Don’t be shy to communicate and ask questions of your instructors.
- Actively identify an area of strength and an area of weakness each day.
- Never complete a task alone if you’re uncertain of your ability.
Remember, clinical hours shouldn’t be looked at as just another hoop you have to jump through to get your degree. It’s an integral part of the program that will provide you invaluable experience that will serve you well when you land your first job in the field.
NCLEX-RN Exam and RN Licensure
The course of your studies all build up to the big day when you take the
NCLEX-RN Exam. This national exam must be passed before you can become registered in your state, so it’s a big deal.
Pass rates for the exam vary, but the school in which you enroll makes a big difference. As you seek out the right school for you, it’s important to ask what their pass rate is. When the pass rate is higher, this means the school is likely doing more within their program to prepare students for success.
Once you have passed the test, it’s just a matter of time before your RN license arrives in the mail. With this in hand, you’re ready to start looking for your first nursing job!
Jobs to Expect
Your hard work has paid off, and your license has arrived in the mail. Now what? This is just the start of your journey. It’s now time to put everything you’ve learned to work.
The great news is that there are so many opportunities for BSN holders in the medical field. Just some of the areas in which you will be eligible to apply with your new degree include:
- Emergency care
- Intensive care
- Labor and delivery
- Neonatal intensive care
- Operating room
- Physician’s office
- Outpatient care
- Skilled nursing
- Long term acute care
As you can see, this list is a long one, and these are just some examples. Although an initial investment of time and money is required to earn your BSN, the rewards for successful completion are ones you will enjoy for many years to come.