Although the Delaware Board of Nursing has recognized an associate degree as the standard route to initial RN licensure, in response to our nation’s changing healthcare needs, the Institute of Medicine has made a call to action for the healthcare industry to encourage more nursing studetns to prusue bachelor’s-level education. Specifically, the Institute of Medicine recommends that the proportion of bachelor-prepared RNs reach 80 percent by 2020.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reported that as of 2013, there were 2,189 students enrolled in Delaware’s three BSN nursing programs, were are located in Dover and Newark. During the same year, 625 nursing students graduated from BSN programs or higher, highlighting the fact that today’s nursing candidates are working towards being prepared to assume RN roles in such areas as management and teaching.
Pre-Licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing Programs in Delaware
Because there are so few accredited BSN programs in Delaware, online programs may be a smart alternative to standard, campus-based programs. Distance education through online BSN programs also often provides nursing students in Delaware with more flexible schedules and the ability to work and study at times that are suitable to them.
Admission and Curriculum Requirements for BSN Programs in Delaware
Whether campus-based or online, BSN programs integrate nursing theory and concepts with knowledge attained from basic courses in scientific literacy, global society, and communicating in the world.
After the completion of a general education curriculum, students are immersed in the nursing process, which allows them to think critically in the areas of health promotion, health maintenance, and health restoration. A BSN curriculum highlights patient-centered health, with an emphasis on a number of areas of healthcare, including individual, family, and the community.
Admission into a BSN program generally requires first successfully completing all general education requirements with a minimum GPA. Once prerequisites have been met, students must then apply to the nursing program, often providing the school with personal and professional letters of reference, an application, and/or an essay.
General education requirements typically include:
- College writing
- Introduction to psychology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Mathematical concepts and operations
- Psychology of human development
After satisfying general course requirements in the first two years of study, students apply to the school of nursing for the remainder of the BSN program to begin taking core nursing courses that nclude:
- Professional nursing
- Foundations of nursing
- Health maintenance and restoration
- Client assessment for health promotion
- Research in nursing
- Community health nursing
- Leadership and management
- Mental health nursing
- Maternal/child nursing
Clinical Requirements for BSN Programs in Delaware
The Delaware Board of Nursing requires at least 400 hours of clinical practice for RN programs. Clinical practice, which is completed in conjunction with the nursing core courses, allows students to gain valuable practical experience that compliments their classroom study.
Clinical rotations in BSN programs (whether campus-based or online) are completed throug a variety of healthcare settings, including acute care, community care, pediatric care, mental health care, and adult care facilities.
Just a few of the hospitals in Delaware where BSN students may complete their clinical experiences include:
- Kent General Hospital, Dover
- Beebe Medical Center, Lewes
- Wilmington Hospital, Wilmington
- Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford
- Milford Memorial Hospital, Milford
- Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill, Smyrna
Applying for an Initial RN Licensure and Pursuing Residency Programs
Graduates of accredited BSN degrees are eligible for initial RN licensure in Delaware. To apply for an RN license, candidates must complete the following steps:
- Complete, sign, and notarize the Application for Licensure as a Registered or Practical Nurse by Examination form
- Complete the Authorization for Release of Information form to be fingerprinted and to request a criminal background check
- Arrange for the school of nursing to send an official transcript showing the degree received to the Board office
Once the application and related forms have been sent to the Board, applicants must then register to take the NCLEX-RN, a national examination designed to assess the knowledge, skills, and competency of entry-level nurses in the U.S. Candidates must register with Pearson Vue, the administrator of the NCLEX-RN.
Once the Board has reviewed the candidate’s application and determined they are eligible to take the examination, Pearson Vue will send an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter, which then gives the candidate the green light to schedule the examination. Pearson Vue has testing centers throughout the U.S. In Delaware, testing centers are located in Newark and Dover, as well as nearby Salisbury, Maryland, and Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Once candidates have successfully passed the NCLEX-RN and the background investigation, a Delaware RN license is issued.
RN Residency Programs in Delaware
Nurse residency programs are becoming increasingly commonplace as healthcare facilities realize the importance of a highly qualified and competent nursing staff that is prepared to deal with the challenges associated with today’s healthcare system. Nurse residency programs are generally reserved for new graduates who have earned their RN license.
Just a few of the nurse residency programs in Delaware include:
- Dover Behavioral Health System, Dover
- Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Seaford
- Bayhealth, Dover
- Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington