Made up of a consortium of professional education and nursing organizations, the Nevada Action Coalition is currently working to ensure that 80 percent of the state’s nursing workforce has at least a BSN within the next five years. This is in response to the state’s projected health care needs and out of recognition that having more BSNs on a workforce reduces serious issues like patient mortality and hospital re-admission rates.
According to a report released by the Executive Director of the Nevada State Board of Nursing, in 2012 just over 50 percent of Nevada’s nurses had a BSN or higher, with 33 percent of those having a BSN as their highest education. Nurses who held an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) as their highest education made up 26 percent of the entire nursing workforce.
Besides improving a candidate’s competitive employment qualifications, earning a BSN can open up additional career opportunities. It will also help to better prepare RN candidates to pass the NCLEX-RN Exam.
BSN graduates pass the NCLEX-RN at a higher average rate – by a full 10 percentage points last year – than students who only have an ADN. According to the schools that reported their rates of passage in 2014, nearly 95 percent of BSN graduates passed the exam compared with less than 85 percent of ADN graduates. Once passed, prospective nurses can apply for their RN license with the Nevada State Board of Nursing.
Earning a BSN in Nevada as a Path to Initial RN Licensure
Nevada is currently home to seven colleges and universities that have BSN programs designed for initial RN licensure. Campuses are located in the cities of:
- Las Vegas – 2 schools
- Henderson – 3 schools
These four-year programs are for students who do not already have an RN license. Typically students will start by enrolling in a college or university where they will complete their nursing prerequisites and general undergraduate course requirements in the first two years. Then students will apply to a nursing school or department of nursing where they will complete two years of upper-division core nursing courses to complete the BSN degree.
Most schools of nursing also accept transfer students who complete their general undergraduate courses and nursing prerequisites at other accredited schools, such as online universities or community colleges. Altogether, the entire BSN degree is comprised of at least 120 semester credits – 60 credits of nursing prerequisites and general courses, and 60 credits of upper-division core nursing courses.
Nevada’s BSN Prerequisites and Admission Requirements
The prerequisites that prepare students for core BSN nursing courses are similar throughout Nevada’s colleges and universities. Prerequisites can include:
- College mathematics
- English language and communication
- Human anatomy and physiology I and II
- Human developmental psychology
- Medical terminology
- Lifespan development
While each individual school of nursing has its own specific requirements, there are many common traits among all programs:
- Admission to the sponsoring university or college
- Minimum cumulative and nursing prerequisite GPA
- Letters of recommendation
- Clinical requirements, such as:
- Vaccinations and TB test
- Criminal background check
- CPR and first aid certification
- Health and liability insurance
Core BSN Nursing Courses
Once admitted, students can start studying their core nursing courses. These will take around two years to complete and total around 60 semester credits.
- Nursing research and evidence-based practices
- Mental health and psychiatric nursing
- Nursing for mothers and infants
- Nursing and foundations of care
- Nursing for adults
- Nursing leadership and management
Core nursing courses are also completed in a clinical setting. Clinical locations can be at any health care facility in Nevada so long as it has an agreement with a student’s school of nursing. Online students can therefore potentially find approved clinical locations nearby or even in other states. Examples of clinical locations in Nevada can include:
- Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno
- Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno
- Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare in Carson City
- Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas
- Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas
- Kindred Hospital Las Vegas – Sahara
- Mountain View Hospital in Las Vegas
Nevada Nurse Licensing and the NCLEX-RN
Upon graduation from their BSN program students can apply for an RN license by filling out the Licensure by Exam Application with the Nevada State Board of Nursing. A complete application will include:
- Completed fingerprint cards
- Official academic transcript sent by the student’s education institution directly to the Nevada State Board of Nursing
- Completed RN license application
- Completed application to test for the NCLEX-RN
- RN application licensing fee and NCLEX-RN application fee
The Licensure by Exam Application also serves as a student’s application for the NCLEX-RN. This test is required to earn an RN license. Students can register for the exam through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) once they have received eligibility to test. The exam is administered by the testing company Pearson VUE, and students may wish to consult the NCLEX-RN Examination Test Plan or the NCLEX Examination Candidate Bulletin to prepare for the exam.
BSN graduates in Nevada are well prepared to take the NCLEX-RN. Of the BSN schools that reported their passage rates in 2014, the average rate of students who passed in Nevada was 94.91 percent.
Transitioning from Clinicals to Full-Time Employment
Having earned their full RN license and BSN degree, Nevada’s new nurses will be hitting the job market with two excellent qualifications. Making a good impression during one’s clinical education can be one of the best employment references. Many nurses find job opportunities at the locations where they completed their clinical, especially if these are some of Nevada’s larger hospitals.
Today’s demand for nurses coupled with future projections compel many clinical providers to offer residency programs for new nurses to help them transition to employment – also known as Transition to Practice Programs (TPPs). Some of Nevada’s health care providers will offer new clinical students employment contracts that include two or three year promissory agreements. If a student agrees then the sponsoring health care agency will guide the future nurse through the transition from clinical student to full RN.
Besides essential nursing positions, BSN nurses can also apply to more advanced jobs in Nevada such as:
- Nursing school teaching faculty
- Nursing director
- NCLEX-RN instructor
- Nurse quality reviewer
- Stroke coordinator
- Nursing staff development coordinator
- Director of case management
- Director of surgical nursing services