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Bachelors of Science in Nursing in Nebraska

In recognition of the fact that BSN-educated RNs are shown preference in the hiring process, an increasing number of Nebraska’s nursing students have been enrolling in pre-licensure BSN programs in recent years. According to a report released by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), in 2004 just 2,407 students were enrolled in BSN programs or higher in Nebraska. By 2013, this had jumped to 3,509 nursing students. That same year over 1,100 Nebraska nursing students graduated from BSN programs and joined the workforce.

The Nebraska Action Coalition – an alliance of agencies working towards the goal of having 80 percent of Nebraska’s nurses educated at the bachelor’s level or higher within the next five years – was awarded a $150,000 grant in 2012 to help facilitate access to BSN programs. Thanks to the efforts of this coalition, prospective BSN candidates in Nebraska will find more options when it comes to enrolling in nursing schools.

Nebraska’s BSN program graduates have a pass rate for the NCLEX-RN that is more than a full percentage point above the national average for BSN graduates. The BSN pass rate is also more than six percentage points above what Associate’s Degree of Nursing (ADN) pre-licensure program graduates experience in Nebraska.

Once students have passed the NCLEX-RN they can apply for an RN license through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

BSN Pre-Licensure Degree Programs in Nebraska

Nebraska is currently home to seven nursing schools that offer a BSN degree to either incoming freshmen, transfer students, or both. Students are not required to have a nursing license prior to entry. Two of these schools have multiple campus locations, making the BSN degree available in the cities of:

  • Lincoln – multiple schools
  • Fremont
  • Omaha – multiple schools
  • Hastings
  • Kearney
  • Scottsbluff
  • Norfolk

There are two main components to a four-year 120-semester-credit pre-license BSN degree program in Nebraska:

  • Freshmen and sophomore general courses and nursing prerequisites – 60 credits
  • Junior and senior core nursing courses – 60 credits

Freshmen students can complete their program at one college or university, and most schools of nursing require an additional application that can be completed during a student’s sophomore year. Transfer students who have completed their general courses and nursing prerequisites at another school, including accredited online programs, can usually apply to one of Nebraska’s schools of nursing to start in directly on their core nursing courses. Transfer students will also need to gain admittance to the general college or university where the school of nursing is located.

BSN Nursing Prerequisites in Nebraska

Nursing prerequisites must usually be completed before students will be admitted into a school of nursing. These can often be completed at community colleges or through online programs. BSN prerequisites include:

  • Anatomy and physiology I and II
  • Fundamentals of psychology and sociology
  • Health science chemistry
  • Health assessments and the foundations of nursing
  • Microbiology
  • Nutrition
  • Statistics
  • Developmental psychology

Nebraska’s Nursing Program Entry Requirements

Once students have completed their nursing prerequisites and general courses they will be ready to apply for admission to a school of nursing. In addition to the general entry requirements of the university or college, nursing programs can have their own more stringent admission requirements, such as:

  • Minimum SAT or ACT test scores
  • Minimum cumulative GPA
  • Minimum GPA for nursing prerequisites
  • Letters of reference
  • Written essay

Core BSN Courses and Clinical

Having gained admission to a school of nursing, students will be able to start taking their core BSN nursing courses. These will include coverage of topics such as:

  • Nursing for mothers and infants
  • Pharmacology
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Medical surgical nursing
  • Nursing management and leadership
  • Community-based nursing
  • Patient-centered care
  • Healthcare issues, policies, and economics

Many of these courses will have a clinical component to them. Clinicals can take place at any health care facility that has a clinical agreement with a school of nursing. Some nursing schools have clinical agreements with over 100 facilities spread across Nebraska. With so many possible health care facilities for the clinical portion, online students may be able to work at a conveniently located institution. Clinicals take place at facilities like:

  • Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha
  • Bergan Mercy Medical Center in Omaha
  • Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln
  • Methodist Hospital in Omaha
  • Bryan Health
  • Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney
  • Alegent Creighton Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha
  • Annie Jeffrey Memorial County Health Center in Osceola

Taking the NCLEX-RN and Entering the Workforce as a BSN-Educated RN

Candidates who complete a BSN program in Nebraska are more likely to pass the NCLEX-RN than those who have lesser academic achievements. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, in cooperation with the Nebraska Board of Nursing, released a newsletter showing that BSN graduates who were taking this exam for the first time scored favorably overall:

  • 89 percent of BSN graduates passed the NCLEX-RN in Nebraska
  • 82.2 percent of ADN graduates passed the NCLEX-RN in Nebraska

Once students have met the education requirements they can register for the NCLEX-RN through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). This agency also offers several resources for students who are preparing for the exam:

With an RN license plus a BSN degree nurses will find they have more employment options, especially in leadership positions. Some examples include:

  • Nurse case manager
  • Nurse specialist
  • Triage nurse
  • Skilled care nurse
  • Adjunct medical-surgical nursing instructor
  • Clinical infusion nurse
  • NCLEX-RN instructor
  • Some health care providers in Nebraska are now requiring all new nurses to have at least a BSN

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