Baccalaureate Essentials Matrix for RN-BSN Course


There are several reasons why a nurse who holds an associate degree in nursing chooses not to further their education to obtain a baccalaureate degree; cost of tuition, time for school while working full time, or not fully understanding the importance of achieving a BSN. While the first two points are valid, unfortunately the majority of time there are those who simply do not take into consideration the significance of earning a higher education within their field of practice (Schwarz, &Leibold, 2015). By reviewing the qualifications and the importance of each course required at the baccalaureate level it becomes clear to understand the implications and impact this has on the nursing practice.

Keywords:  baccalaureate, education, practice, prepared, essential.

Baccalaureate Essentials

When someone begins to speculate about the idea of returning to further their education within the nursing practice, understanding the importance of it and the requirements help motivate and retain students (Masters, 2015). Research continues to support the higher education in relation to overall positive patient outcomes and safety (Master, 2015).

Baccalaureate Essentials Matrix for RN-BSN Course

The following table uses each of the nine baccalaureate essentials required by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, comparing with what courses meet those required essentials at Winston Salem State University. The rationale, for each course listed is provided on how that particular course will support the nurse in being able to meet each of the essential requirements from the AACN. Lastly, a sample of an assignment that could assistthe nurse and could give a better understanding of each baccalaureate essential.

Table 1. Baccalaureate Essentials Matrix of RN-BSN Courses.

Baccalaureate Essentials standards WSSU RN-BSN courses Rationale for how each course meets the associated Baccalaureate Essential CourseRelated Activities
1.Liberal Education for Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice

For a nurse to obtain a liberal education builds a solid fountain for their nursing education and clinical experience. This type of basis creates a well-rounded nurse to not only be confident in nursing skills but also culturally, in the ways one would interact with patients.

General Psychology


Social Diversity

Two classes that each of us have taken, that each member feel most beneficial for our career path would be General Psychology and Social Diversity. General Psychology assisted us greatly in learning the different stages of development over the lifespan, which has helped us better take care of our patients on an individual basis. Concerning individualism among patients, Social Diversity has taught us the different aspects of cultural practices and preferences a patient may have or prefer. Retention rates for education have shown an increase by requiring general education courses that is specific toward a specialized degree (Gregory, Krupp, & Williams, 2016). A comparison chart of cultural and religious practices within our regions that one could encounter working as a nurse, ensuring holistic care of each individual.
2. Basic Organizational and Systems Leadership for

Quality Care and Patient Safety


Within the baccalaureate program a nurse would learn to apply management concepts and maintaining overall accountability for patient care. This could also involve improvement and application of healthcare policies.

NUR 4304 – Leadership & Management of Care


NUR 3312 – Health Assessment

Leadership & Management of Care will help the nurse to establish qualities that a leader should be aware of such as; organizational systems, team coordination, and communication skills.

Health Assessment will assist the nurse identifying changes in alterations across all stages of development.

Identify at least 3 different types of healthcare organizations that focus on patient safety and quality of care (ex. Joint Commission). What are their objectives as an organization directly related to patient safety?
3. Scholarship for Evidence Based Practice


By becoming educated on evidence-based practice, a nurse is demonstrating how to use the research process and proper ways to implement changes in order to improve safety and patient outcomes. This education would also allow the nurse to know suitable ways to verify information for credibility.

NUR 3303 – Nursing Research


NUR 3312 – Health Assessment

 By taking Nursing Research, a nurse will be able to apply evidence-based research to nursing practice, thus improving patient outcomes.


Health Assessment, by integrating clinical judgment the nurse is better able to advocate for patients through the research process, ensuring patient safety and dignity through clinical trials.

 Identify at least two major patient safety issues relevant in any hospital setting and find an evidence-based research journal on ways to improve patient safety on that issue. Do you feel what is presented in the journal is being applied in patient care today?
4. Information Management and Application of Patient

Care Technology


Through information management a nurse would be able to utilize technology within the healthcare system. While convenient this also allows for a high risk of HIPPA exposure, the nurse should demonstrate responsibility within her scope using the information given.

NUR 3303 – Nursing Research


NUR 4103 Adult Nursing II

Nursing Research supports the nurse within the scope of research through data management and record keeping, for comparison and implementing established evidence-based changes.


By learning of Adult Nursing and the complex patient populations within any given community, the use of technology is crucial in playing a key role in patient safety and workload through interdisciplinary teams.

Write a one-page paper in what ways have technology improved patient outcomes, find one evidence-based journal supporting this impact to direct patient care.
5. Healthcare Policy, Finance, and Regulatory Environments


The nurse should have a basic foundation of regulatory bodies that affect the nursing practice. State, federal and global developments within healthcare all play key components of policies, resources, and finances.

NUR 4304 – Leadership & Management of Care


NUR 3305 – Financial Management in Nursing

 One could not deny the importance of healthcare policies and finances within a leadership role, taking Leadership & Management of Care would better help any nurse understand these concepts and able to apply them within the work setting.


Another key component within healthcare is finance, taking Financial Management in Nursing would help better understand the resources available and how to maintain a unit on a budget.

Identify at least one federal and state regulation that guide our nursing profession. Write a one-page paper on why these regulations were put into place.
6. Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration for

Improving Patient Health Outcomes


A nurse must demonstrate the ability to communicate within the interdisciplinary team, in order to provide safe and effective care of each patient. However, it is also the responsibility of the nurse to be an advocate of all patients at any given time.

NUR 3305 – Financial Management in Nursing


NUR 3307 – Global Health Nursing

Upon completion of Financial Management in Nursing the nurse should be able to advocate more realistically for patients on a case management or the financial side of care; getting approval for placements or equipment a patient may need upon discharge.


In view of Global Health Nursing, upon completion a nurse would be more prepared to communicate within the interprofessional team to be able to provide holistic care from admission to discharge.

 Create a table categorizing the different interdisciplinary teams within a hospital and/or community setting. Column 1: profession

Column 2: purpose

Column 3: who they would need to interact with

Column 4: ways miscommunication could cause patient harm.

7. Clinical Prevention and Population Health


The nurse should demonstrate ways to properly assess multiple factors across the lifespan within any given community, population, or family. It is vital that the nurse display professional characteristics, regardless of the patient assigned.

NUR 3318 –Pathophysiology


NUR 4502 – Community Health Nursing

After completion of Pathophysiology a nurse would be better equipped to recognize potential health problems or risks, once identified the nurse can put interventions in place to prevent further patient illness.


Community Health Nursing would help assist the nurse in caring for patients across the lifespan, unbiased of patient assigned.

Research at least 3 factors that would prevent people within the community from seeking medical care. Write a one-page paper discussing ways this could be improved. Use a peer reviewed journal as a reference.
8. Professionalism and Professional Values


A graduate of the baccalaureate program should exhibit professional principles of legalism, morality, and always demonstrate ethical behavior. Caring for the most vulnerable populations and recognizing the impact of patient privacy, resources available, and possible environmental setbacks certain individuals may have.

NUR 4203 – Care of the Older Adult


NUR 2312- Dynamics of Professional Nursing

Taking Care of the Older Adult would promote the nurse to care for the most venerable patients, advocating for their rights and safety while at times they cannot do this for themselves.


By taking Dynamics of Professional Nursing, the nurse is better prepared to recognize areas of improvement in order to maintain a professional and respectful environment for all patients involved.

Within a one-page paper identify at least 3 ways that the lack of professionalism within any care setting could poorly impact patient outcomes. Use a peer reviewed journal as a reference.
9. Baccalaureate Generalist Nursing Practice


The nurse should establish a holistic approach to patient care, reflecting developmental stages from across the lifespan. The nurse also monitors patients during any given treatment to ensure the care being provided is efficient, while also managing the intervention to least invasive as possible.

NUR 3318 – Pathophysiology


NUR 4502 -Community Health Nursing

Pathophysiology assist the nurse to better understand each developmental stage across the life span of a patient and to approach their care with that in consideration.


Community Health Nursing prepares the nurse for the general patient population that one may encounter, how to, not only be efficient, but doing so with fewer resources than what it available in the acute care setting.

Create a comparison chart on the differences and similarities of hospice and palliative care. Cite at least 2 sources for each.


The Importance of Baccalaureate Prepared Nursing Workforce

Studies have shown, time and time again, the importance of a nurse obtaining a higher education within the nursing profession by acquiring a baccalaureate degree. In nearly all capacities of care a nurse with a baccalaureate is proven to bring overall better patient outcomes than those with just an associate degree (Schwarz, & Leibold, 2015). Research has revealed the significance of RNs holding a BSN or higher, insomuch that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has strongly recommended that those nurses that hold an associate degree seek to achieve a baccalaureate level by 2020 (Schwarz, & Leibold, 2015). Currently, only 50% of nurses in America hold a BSN or higher but with the recommendations of the IOM that number is hopeful to increase up to 80% by the end of 2020 (Schwarz, & Leibold, 2015).

One driving factor that should play a key role in a nurse obtaining their BSN would be the evidence that has shown a positive impact of patient outcomes with a nurse who holds a BSN or higher degree. Hospitals that hold a higher BSN ratio of nurses, not only, have an overall lower mortality rate but also has uncovered the element of superior safety statistics and a far more excellent level of care is provided (Schwarz, & Leibold, 2015). In comparison to their associate degree counterpart, nurses who hold a BSN or higher have also a much lower rate of medication errors (Schwarz, & Leibold, 2015).

While patient outcomes, safety, and overall quality of care are the most significant factors for one obtaining their BSN, but also there is a more personal gain one can achieve from this higher degree. Nurses who hold advanced degrees are required for the progression and further development of the nursing profession. These highly educated nurses are vital to maintaining and further expanding nursing research, implementing policies, autonomy within the nursing profession, and encourage professional development among themselves and others (schwarz, & Leibold, 2015). Similarly, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing has revealed that 76.6% of employers have come to prefer having a BSN nurse on hire over the lesser educated counterpart (Schwarz, &Leibold, 2015).

Reflection and Implications for Practice

After completing this project, it has allowed our group to better understand the purpose and overall outcomes expected by completing each of the courses we have coming up in attaining our baccalaureate degree. By using the Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice as a guide, along with our WSSU course descriptions, it has permitted our group to recognize the process and standards set up by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Also, completing this project allowed us to understand the effort that is put forth into creating possible assignments that adhere to meeting course objectives, while making sure we meet each essential condition through the AACN. From the prospective of nurses who hold their ADN, this project has assisted our group to clearly view why employers within the healthcare industry would prefer hiring nurses to currently hold or plan on acquiring their baccalaureate degree in nursing.

During this project the group has discussed ways that the objectives and requirements of mandated courses would impact our future practice. While there are those that consider acquiring a baccalaureate degree in nursing would further increase their life stressors, the benefits by far outweigh the cost of time and effort (Lekan, Ward, & Elliott, 2018). By furthering one’s education and working through having to prioritize and reorganize things in life that are of most importance helps a nurse build resilience. The skills developed through advanced education consist of individual competency, a higher level of standard, determination, a higher tolerance of undesirable outcomes, and a progressive acceptance of changes within the nursing practice (Lekan, Ward, & Elliott, 2018). Overall, the key objectives to be gained from higher education better prepares the ADN nurse to develop into a more professional and competent nurse that is able to provide safe and effective care through the ever-changing evidence-basedstandards of care.



The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice. (2008). American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Retrieved from Kits/BaccEssToolkit.pdf


Gregory, D., Krupp, J., & Williams, M. (2016). General Education Course Enrollment Patterns in a Community College Baccalaureate RN-To-BSN Program. Higher Education Politics & Economics, 1(1), 8–18. doi: 10.32674/hepe.v1i1.23


Schwarz, L. M., & Leibold, N. (2015). Perceived facilitators and barriers to baccalaureate degree completion among registered nurses with an associate’s degree. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 45(4), 171-80. doi: (peer-reviewed)


Masters, K. (2015). Implementation of a generic baccalaureate concurrent enrollment program: Increasing the percentage of nurses prepared at the baccalaureate level. Nursing Education Perspectives, 36(3), 192-193. Retrieved from



Lekan, D. A., Ward, T. D., & Elliott, A. A. (2018). Resilience in baccalaureate nursing students: An exploration. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services, 56(7), 46-55. doi:





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