female nurse in blue scrubs next to blue graphics with text overlay a guide to the essentials of baccalaureate education for nursing

A Guide to the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Nursing

Staff Writer
Reviewed by Dr. Clancey Sollis
Oct 26, 2023

There are many benefits to earning a bachelors in nursing, also known as a BSN degree. Having a BSN is a great way to kickstart higher degrees like a Masters in Nursing or a Nurse Practitioner degree, opens up more future employment opportunities, and even comes with an increased salary. But what do the courses in nursing look like for a BSN degree?

“The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice.” was created by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), These essentials are the educational foundation for all professional nurses-in-training and the core of our instruction.

Designed to prepare students to become a registered nurse, the AACN BSN Essentials prepares students with the skills and knowledge they need throughout their nursing education. Joyce University’s online BSN, aBSN, and RN-BSN degree completion programs feature courses in nursing that are founded in the AACN BSN Essentials to help you succeed in various clinical and management positions.

1. Liberal Education for Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice

The first essential for nursing students involves getting a BSN degree that combines liberal studies with sciences to build versatile empathetic nurses. Baccalaureate education for nursing must combine multiple fields including the arts, science, culture, and society. When liberal studies are incorporated into courses to become a nurse, students learn critical thinking, communication, and interprofessional problem-solving skills. Students in our BSN program graduate as better writers, thinkers, and leaders due to the addition of liberal education in their nursing classes.

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

To be a baccalaureate-prepared nurse, it is essential to learn how to lead within the ever-changing field of healthcare. Leadership skills increase client safety by improving nurses’ decision-making, communication, and ability to work alongside clients. These skills benefit not only the clients but the strength of the facility and healthcare as a whole. BSN programs teach nurses to be leaders who will be able to improve the quality of processes and systems for more efficient and effective care.

3. Scholarship for Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-based practice is one of the essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing that teaches students to act on evidence, both observed and learned. A bachelor’s degree in nursing will provide you with the experience and tools to stay up-to-date on current research and best practices. Those who have completed a baccalaureate education in nursing will be able to integrate evidence to inform and make clinical judgments.

4. Information Management and Application of Patient Care Technology

Baccalaureate nursing licensure program curriculums should focus on technology that aids in client care as an essential of nursing practice. The field of medicine is constantly updating its health information systems, technology integrations, and mobile applications including telehealth and remote monitoring. Students receiving a BSN degree will learn how to adapt and integrate new technology and use the hardware and software that are essential to client management.

5. Healthcare Policy, Finance, and Regulatory Environments

Baccalaureate education for nursing includes learning about public health policy, Medicare, Medicaid, healthcare legislation and finance, regulatory agencies, and more. Best nursing courses not only teach students how policies affect the healthcare industry but also how to stay current on legislation, guidelines, and protocols. Whether you decide to attend an online BSN program or an in-person one, it is important for graduating nurses to understand how regulating agencies set boundaries for the profession you are about to enter and how these rules change from state to state.

6. Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration for Improving Patient Health Outcomes

Nurses work in a collaborative environment with other nurses, physicians, and technicians making it imperative to prioritize effective communication to provide client-centered care. Baccalaureate education for nursing focuses on interpersonal and intrapersonal communication to ensure that nurses will be able to produce professional working relationships and advocate for safe client care.

7. Clinical Prevention and Population Health

Disease and injury prevention and health awareness are necessary to improve public health. Aspects of prevention and awareness are included in baccalaureate education for nursing to teach those in bachelor of nursing programs knowledge of genetic predictors, histories, and values to create behavioral changes that keep the general public safe and informed at both the individual and population levels. After graduating with a registered nursing degree, students will be able to assess the health of individuals, use evidence-based practice to guide health counseling, and collaborate with the client and other healthcare workers to create plans of care.

8. Professionalism and Professional Values

Professional nursing includes and the inherent values of altruism, autonomy, human dignity, integrity, and social justice and are essential to nurses using ethics to guide their personal practice. Of all the nursing core competencies, having professional values that enable you to demonstrate and follow the code of conduct, even in the most stressful of situations , are foundational to your competency as a nursing professional. These values can be demonstrated in a number of ways including maintaining professional boundaries, exercising cultural sensitivity, advocating for client rights, and collaborating interprofessionally.

9. Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice

Upon receiving your BSN , you should be prepared to practice with individuals, families, groups, communities, and greater populations. This means integrating the baccalaureate education for nursing essentials into client-centered care that reflects ethical values. Bachelor’s in nursing graduates will be prepared for a higher level of nursing practice, as they leverage their clinical reasoning skills to provide a better level of care.

If you have an associate degree in nursing (ASN) furthering your education will increase your , managerial opportunities and skills. Joyce University’s online nursing school program will equip you with the skills needed to pursue leadership roles. Whether you’re interested in changing careers to the dynamic field of nursing by earning an accelerated bachelors of science in nursing degree (BSN), or expanding upon your education with our 1-year RN to BSN program, these nine baccalaureate education for nursing essentials will prepare you for success in the field of professional nursing.

FAQ About Baccalaureate Education for Nursing

What is a baccalaureate degree in nursing?

A baccalaureate degree in nursing or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) is traditionally a four year college or university program that combines professional nursing education with liberal arts courses and hands-on simulation, lab, and clinical experience. Joyce’s BSN programs are designed to prepare students to become an RN in two to three years, depending on prior education.

Why do you need a baccalaureate degree in nursing?

Nurses who pursue a BSN have access to higher pay, improved benefits, and more leadership opportunities than ADN/ASN-prepared nurses. If that isn’t enough to convince you, some hospital nurse education requirements include having a baccalaureate degree in nursing, and state legislatures, such as New York, are passing laws to require RNs to have a BSN within 10 years of licensure. Studies by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing have shown that the impact of a baccalaureate education in nursing results in lower patient mortality rates and higher proficiency at diagnoses. Read more about Why You Should Get a Bachelor’s in Nursing.

Is a baccalaureate in nursing worth it?

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, RNs with advanced education such as a BSN degree had a significant impact on the competencies and knowledge of nurses citing their critical thinking, leadership, and case management skills and their adaptability to a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. Having online colleges for nursing and online BSN programs makes obtaining a baccalaureate in nursing more obtainable and flexible for working students. Following graduation, nurses with a BSN degree can apply to higher-paying nursing jobs and could see a bump in their salary. A bachelors degree in nursing will prepare you with the skills, knowledge, and professional development that is highly sought after in the healthcare field with the added bonus of potential for increased pay.

What are the nine essentials of baccalaureate nursing?

The nine nursing essentials outlined by the AACN include:

  • Liberal education for baccalaureate generalist nursing practice
  • Basic organizational and systems leadership for quality care and patient safety
  • Scholarship for evidence based practice
  • Information management and application of patient care technology
  • Healthcare policy, finance, and regulatory environments
  • Interprofessional communication and collaboration for improving patient health outcomes
  • Clinical prevention and population health
  • Professionalism and professional values
  • Baccalaureate generalist nursing practice

The AACN baccalaureate essentials will prepare you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in various clinical and management positions and are taught by BSN nursing programs, like Joyce University’s 3-year BSN, accelerated BSN, and RN-BSN programs.

What is the purpose of the AACN Essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice?

The purpose is to provide curriculum design and structure for RN nursing programs. The educational framework outlined in the BSN essentials includes nursing competencies, integration of theory and clinical practice, and hands-on learning experiences.

What are the personal values in nursing?

Nursing is a rewarding and in-demand career in a stable industry that teaches you transferable skills. Not only are you making a difference by helping others, but you also gain a wide variety of skills such as critical thinking, organization, and clinical judgment. In addition to the practical skills you’ll develop in nursing school, you’ll also learn important soft skills like teamwork, interprofessional collaboration, patient advocacy, and cultural humility.

How can I become a nurse?

If you’re passionate about helping others, and you aspire to become a nurse, you’ll need to take a few crucial steps to enter the healthcare field. First, determine the nursing route that suits your goals. Next, explore accredited institutions in your area, such as schools near you for nursing, and consider reputable online RN programs. These programs can provide you with an excellent foundation on your journey to becoming an RN. Additionally, look for colleges offering BSN and MSN programs as they often provide some of the best nursing programs to further advance your nursing career. Once you’ve made your choice, work towards obtaining your Registered Nurse (RN) license, which is a vital step on the path to realizing your dream of working in healthcare. Finally, secure a nursing position that aligns with your experience and aspirations.

Ready to take the next step? Learn how we can help you reach your career goals. Get more information about our BSN program and financial assistance by requesting more info online or calling (801) 890-4704.


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