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A Guide to the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Nursing


Nursing Baccalaureate Education

You know about the benefits of earning your BSN degree — having a BSN better prepares you for higher education, opens up more future employment opportunities, and will make you better at your job. The Institute of Medicine’s Future of Nursing report demonstrated that nurses with at least a baccalaureate degree are more confident in their work.

At Ameritech College of Healthcare, our online RN-BSN degree completion program takes just three semesters and will equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a variety of clinical and management positions. We pride ourselves on being a nurse-led environment that teaches a curriculum founded in “The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice.” Created by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, this is the educational foundation for all professional nurses-in-training and the core of our instruction.

Here are the nine Essentials, which describe what every RN should embody upon graduation day:

1. Liberal education for Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice

A well-rounded liberal education (one that studies art, science, culture, and society) leads to a responsible, mindful citizen of the world. It’s beneficial in a variety of fields and disciplines, but the meshing of liberal studies with healthcare builds versatile, empathetic nurses. Of course nurses need life sciences, but they benefit and flourish in an education that also includes the arts and humanities. Our BSN students graduate as better writers, thinkers, and leaders due to their liberal education.

2. Basic Organizational and Systems Leadership for Quality Care and Patient Safety

Leadership skills improve patient safety, because they improve nurses’ decision-making, communication, and ability to work alongside patients for the good of their health and the strength of the hospital as a whole. Nurses who are leaders will be able to improve the quality of processes and systems, making healthcare more efficient and effective. The healthcare system is changing every day, and it will be in large part up to nurses, who work directly with patients, to keep pushing for refinement.

Related Resource: What the Future of Nursing Report Says about the BSN

3. Scholarship for Evidence-Based Practice

“Professional nursing practice is grounded in the translation of current evidence into one’s practice.” This means all nurses act on evidence, both observed and learned. Our BSN degree completion program gives nurses the experience and tools to stay up-to-date on current research and best practices.

4. Information Management and Application of Patient Care Technology

You can’t afford to be a Luddite in nursing; you will be surrounded by technology for as long as you are working in medicine. Mastery of technological processes and information systems is absolutely necessary. Our BSN program ensures graduates know how to use the programs, machines, and computers in current nursing practice—and how to learn and integrate new technology as it arises.

5. Healthcare Policy, Finance, and Regulatory Environments

Healthcare is a complicated system, often directed by policy, funding, and regulations. These change often, so nurses with a BSN must learn how these policies affect the organization of the healthcare industry, especially their nursing practice. They also have to learn how to stay current on healthcare legislation, guidelines, and protocol so they can adapt whenever necessary.

6. Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration for Improving Patient Health Outcomes

In almost any clinical setting, nurses work together, and usually with an array of other healthcare providers. The ability to collaborate with each other, physicians, and aids and to participate in ongoing education encourages learning and thus better patient care. When good communication is happening in the workplace, both patients and providers benefit.

7. Clinical Prevention and Population Health

Health concerns change over the lifespan of a patient, but because they vary with every family and community too. Health awareness and disease prevention (both at the individual and population level) are critical to improving population health. Nurses are both caretakers and educators, and their knowledge of genetic predictive factors, health histories, and individual values is key to creating behavioral change techniques and keeping the general public safe and informed.

8. Professionalism and Professional Values

“Professionalism and the inherent values of altruism, autonomy, human dignity, integrity, and social justice are fundamental to the discipline of nursing.” This is a tall order, but nurses, especially those with a baccalaureate education, should be capable of demonstrating such professionalism and respectability even in the most stressful situations.

9. Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice

Upon receiving your BSN, you should be prepared to practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and greater populations. You should graduate a generalist, implementing holistic, patient-centered care for any and every patient. “The baccalaureate graduate understands and respects the variations of care, the increased complexity, and the increased use of healthcare resources inherent in caring for patients.”

Related Resource: 8 Benefits of a Holistic Nursing Education

If you have an associate degree in nursing but want to further your education, either for job security or more managerial opportunities, or just to be a better nurse, Ameritech College of Healthcare’s online RN-BSN degree completion program will prepare you to be the best you can be. When you graduate, you’ll be a living, breathing testament to the nine Essentials.

*Promotion is for new RN-BSN enrollments only. Terms and conditions may apply. Please speak with an admissions representative to determine eligibility.