Classes and Courses Required for a BSN Degree

A BSN, which stands for Bachelor of Science in Nursing, is a 4-year degree for students who usually don't have any prior nursing experience. Registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) wanting to earn a bachelor's degree may enroll in an RN-to-BSN degree completion program or an LPN-to-BSN degree completion program, respectively.

Essential Information

Students enrolled in BSN programs can expect to complete extensive classroom work, as well as plenty of hands-on, clinical practice. Courses focus on helping students develop the medical knowledge necessary to help patients in a variety of health settings. Graduates of BSN programs are required to obtain a valid nursing license prior to employment.

Here is a list of concepts commonly explored in BSN degree courses:

  • Patient relationships
  • Health assessment
  • Reproductive health
  • Pharmacology
  • Mental health

List of Common Courses

Professional Nursing Skills Course

With coursework that examines a broad overview of the history and current state of the profession, this class is taken early in a BSN program. Common types of nursing interventions are discussed along with professional ethics and legal considerations regarding patient care. Students discuss the role of nursing in illness prevention and management and general health maintenance.

Adult Nursing Care Course

Students in BSN programs take this class to learn nursing interventions to care for adults suffering injury or illness. Classroom lectures and demonstrations show proper nursing procedures for addressing acute and chronic conditions in settings from hospitals to long-term care facilities. Students also learn how to provide nursing care before, during and after surgical procedures. This is usually a required class that is taken early in a nursing program. A clinical component is also usually required.

Surgical Nursing Course

This required class builds on pre-, intra- and post-operative skills introduced in the adult nursing care class with emphasis on providing team-based health care. Students attend lectures, labs and clinical sessions that allow them to develop intensive care skills for acute patients and their families in fast-paced, demanding settings.

Nursing Intervention for Women and Families Course

This class, usually taken mid-way through the BSN program, focuses on family-centered care. Students practice providing supportive health intervention care to women, children and families through classroom lectures, labs and clinical work. They concentrate on health interventions that support the treatment and prevention of illness, as well as general wellness, for women and children.

Leadership and Management Skills for Nurses Course

Students gain an understanding of the theory and practical application of leadership and management concepts like organizational behavior and delegation. This lecture-based class focuses on how nurses can demonstrate leadership within the workplace and among populations served, what legal requirements they need to be aware of before delegating responsibilities and how to motivate and support colleagues and clients. Most programs require that students take this class.

Community Nursing Course

This required class focuses on disease and illness prevention and management, directly or indirectly, in individuals, families, groups and communities that are at risk. Provision of care, public health and policy considerations, budgeting, epidemiology and biostatistics are discussed. Students are introduced to the concepts of program planning, development, implementation, measurement and evaluation.

Nursing Across Cultures Course

In this class, students develop skills for providing sensitive nursing care while understanding and respecting others' cultural, social or religious attitudes toward health and wellness. Some BSN programs may require this class. It's typically taken toward the end of the degree program.


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