Wilson College Online Blog

What to Expect from an RN to BSN Curriculum?

Written by: Wilson College   •  Dec 20, 2022
A nursing student works on a laptop.

Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the United States, with more than 4 million registered nurses (RNs) according to a 2020 survey by the Journal of Nursing Regulation. With a high level of job security, strong entry-level salaries, and ample job opportunities, nursing is a popular career choice for good reason. By completing an RN to BSN curriculum, students can earn good pay, attract the interest of employers, and become qualified to compete for leadership positions.

What Is an RN to BSN Degree?

In an RN to BSN degree program, students who are already licensed RNs can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). These programs are designed to help practicing RNs expand their knowledge of patient care and achieve targeted goals.

Broaden and Master Concepts

RNs are already proficient in a number of critical areas of health; however, a bachelor’s program examines these areas in greater depth. Key subjects covered in an RN to BSN program include:

  • Research
  • Critical thinking
  • Public health
  • Patient care technology
  • Safety
  • Health promotion
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Information technology

With the additional time spent earning a BSN degree, RN students have a greater opportunity to master crucial skills that can significantly impact patient care.

Prepare for Leadership

Holding a BSN makes career advancement more attainable for many nurses. Students in an RN to BSN program build a well-rounded academic foundation with a focus on leadership skills. Students become better qualified to serve as managers and leaders at healthcare facilities because they acquire a more thorough understanding of effective communication, collaboration, health policies, and regulations.

RN to BSN Degree Program Curriculum

The RN to BSN curriculum in a degree program differs based on the school and how many transferable credits a student may have already earned. However, most programs require students to complete a series of general education courses as well as classes focused on professional nursing subjects.

Leadership and Ethics

Most RN to BSN programs include at least one course that allows students to develop essential leadership skills. Students examine critical issues such as health policy, finance, legislation, and regulations. They also learn how to demonstrate professional values, communicate and collaborate with colleagues, and make decisions by applying an ethical framework.

Healthcare Informatics

Students learn about healthcare data and technologies, and their applications in patient care. Healthcare informatics also involves the use and management of healthcare documentation and patient records. Students learn the importance of maintaining confidentiality and privacy regarding sensitive patient data.

Research in Healthcare

Research is given much greater emphasis in an RN to BSN curriculum than in an associate degree or RN program alone. Students learn how to gather, analyze, and apply data during the process of healthcare research.

Benefits of Earning an RN to BSN Degree

Nursing can be a rewarding and fulfilling field from both a personal and professional standpoint. Earning an RN to BSN degree can boost the advantages of nursing as a career.

Higher Pay

The entry-level salary for a BSN degree holder is likely to be quite similar to an RN, however, over time the potential earnings for a BSN are notably higher. The median salary for a nurse who has a BSN is $89,000 a year, compared to $70,100 for an RN, according to 2022 data from the compensation website Payscale.

Job Growth

The demand for nurses has remained steady, and experts predict the need for skilled patient care professionals will continue indefinitely. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that RN jobs will grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031, which is slightly faster than the growth for all occupations. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a nursing shortage may persist and worsen over the next several years, ensuring the number of available positions for RN to BSN graduates is likely to remain high.

Employment Opportunities

Completing an RN to BSN program can open doors to a larger pool of prospective employers who are seeking highly skilled nurses. A 2021 survey by the AACN found that 77.4% of employers strongly prefer BSN program graduates. In addition, data from the same survey shows that 94% of BSN graduates have been placed in jobs within six months of graduation.

Skill Development

Often, students who complete an RN to BSN program can better serve patients. Multiple studies have shown that nurses with bachelor’s degrees are more prepared than those with associate degrees or diplomas. For instance, a 2019 paper published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found hospitals that employed more BSN-degreed nurses had better outcomes for patients who had experienced cardiac arrest.

Career Advancement

Nurses who aspire to take on leadership positions at healthcare facilities can also benefit from completing an RN to BSN program. Some hospitals require nurses to have a BSN to qualify for career advancement, such as promotion to nurse unit management positions.

Image of Julie Beck, professor of nursing at Wilson College

Julie Beck, professor of nursing at Wilson College.

Discover How an RN to BSN Degree Can Advance Your Career

Wilson College Professor of Nursing Julie Beck, D.Ed., says the perfect time to return to school and pursue a BSN degree is now. According to Beck, “Wilson College Online’s bachelor’s degree gives nurses more flexibility in their profession, from working at the bedside to pursuing opportunities in management, teaching, and administration.”

She adds that furthering your nursing education brings breadth and depth to your current practice. “And a BSN makes you more marketable in the workplace, especially at magnet hospitals.” An RN to BSN curriculum offers opportunities for registered nurses to enhance their skills, increase their qualifications, and improve patient outcomes. By covering core nursing techniques and principles in greater detail, a BSN program can help ensure nurses are well prepared to serve their patients and advance their careers.

The RN to BSN program at Wilson College Online allows students to achieve goals in a flexible online environment. Begin by exploring how to earn your RN to BSN degree at Wilson College Online.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “Employment of New Nurse Graduates and Employer Preferences for Baccalaureate-Prepared Nurses” American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “Nursing Shortage” Journal of Nursing Regulation, “The 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey”

Health Affairs, “A Worrisome Drop in the Number of Young Nurses”

National Institute of Health, “In Hospitals with More Nurses Who Have Baccalaureate Degrees, Better Outcomes for Patients After Cardiac Arrest”

Payscale, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses

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