Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a four year degree program that teaches students the necessary skills and knowledge to care for the sick and injured. The program revolves around four main components; health promotion, disease prevention, risk reduction and health restoration. The course consists of subjects in General Education (English, Mathematics, Filipino) and Professional Nursing (Theoretical Foundations in Nursing, Nursing Care Management).
As a student you will be trained to use the most important concept in the program which is the Nursing Process (Assessment, Diagnosis, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation). The program will also prepare you to be able to accurately perform health assessment, important nursing interventions, perioperative care, emergency and disaster response and medical documentation. You will learn how to deal with patients having special needs such as those who are suffering from mental illnesses (Bipolar Disorder, Multiple Identity Disorder) , developmental disorders (Autism), degenerative disorders (Parkinsons Disease), physical disabilities (comatose patient) and those who need palliative care (terminally ill/dying patients).
The teaching methods used are classroom discussions, return demonstrations (an educational technique in which a student demonstrates what they have just been taught infront of a clinical instructor) and clinical exposures in different healthcare settings.
Is Nursing a Profession?
Nursing is a profession.
A graduate of BS in Nursing who passed the board examination is called a Registered Nurse (RN). A Nurses job includes the assessment of patient health problems, developing and implementing nursing care plans, and maintaining medical records. They also administer nursing care to the ill, injured, convalescent, or disabled patients. In addition, they may also advise patients on health maintenance and disease prevention or provide case management.
What are the admission requirements for BSN?
Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
- Must be a high school graduate.
- Must have a college entrance examination of above average or depending on the specified rating set by the school.
- Must pass the interview conducted by the college admission officer.
- Some schools require a high school QPA of 85% and above with no grade less than 80% in all subjects.
- There are schools who require students to have an 85% or higher average rating in the National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT).
- Admission for Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) passers mainly depends on the school's discretion since some colleges and universities only offer selected courses.
What skills and attitude are required to succeed in this course?
The following are the most important ones:
- Service Orientation – being happy with helping and serving other people
- Social Perceptiveness - being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do
- Being cool headed – being calm and relaxed under pressure
- Communication skills – the ability to effectively relay information both orally and in written form
- Collaborative skills – the ability to coordinate with different health professionals in the care of patients
- Judgement and Decision making skills – being able to decide and prioritize problems according to importance and urgency
- Critical Thinking Skills – Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
- Mathematical skills – on a basic level. The ability to compute and use different computational methods to solve medication dosage, consumption etc.
How difficult is this course?
BSN is quite a difficult course. It needs accuracy at all times, there is no room for mistakes during clinical duty because the patients life is at stake. A right mindset is also needed most especially during clinical exposures because the situation in the hospital is very unpredictable.
How long does it take to complete the Nursing program in the Philippines?
The BSN program takes 4 years to complete. The program may also be completed in less than 4 years for schools who follow a trimesteral curriculum.
In the year 2008, CHED
(the official governing body of higher education institutions) released a memorandum order transforming the BS in Nursing program into a five year course. However, the order was later revoked because school owners and nursing deans stood in opposition. Instead, CHED released an Enhanced Bachelor of Science in Nursing Curriculum. As of the moment CHED has not released any mandate on the implementation of the new curriculum. Review for the board examination may take 3 to 6 months, depending whether you pass your first try.
Related Learning Experience (RLE)
During Related Learning Experience (also known as clinical duty/clinical exposure) student nurses are distributed in different hospital settings and community clinics. Supervised by an experienced clinical instructor, you will perform nursing interventions on his assigned patient.
The total number of RLE hours in Nursing is 2,346 hours.
- Hospital Nursing – field of nursing situated in a medical facility known as a hospital
- Community Health Nursing – a field of nursing that is a blend of primary health care and nursing practice with public health nursing
- School Nursing – scope of practice includes taking care of employees and students' health in schools
- Psychiatric Nursing – a specialized field of nursing that cares for patients with mental illness or mental distress, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, depression or dementia
- Private Duty Nursing – a field of nursing that involves one on one patient care; usually done in the clients home, or an institution such as a nursing home or home for the elderly
- Clinic Nursing – a specialization of nursing where nurses are responsible in managing patients, schedule, and setting up referrals
The Board Exam
A graduate of BS in Nursing needs to take the Nurses Licensure Examination (NLE)
before he/she can practice the profession. The Board of Nursing
(BON) facilitates the exam under the supervision of the Professional Regulations Commission
(PRC). It is scheduled twice a year in the months of June to July and December.
There are five sets of subjects included in the exam and each subject is composed of 100 questions. Fundamentals in Nursing, Community Health Nursing, Medical Surgical Nursing, Maternal and Child Health and Psychiatric Nursing are the five main subjects included in the exam.
To pass the examination you should obtain a general weighted average of 75% with no rating below 60% in all the subjects.
The result of the board examination is released after 2 to 3 months.
You can view the passing rates for the Nurses Licensure Examination (NLE) here
Career Opportunities for BSN graduates
Jobs for Registered Nurses (Board Passers)
- Staff Nurse – employed in both public and private hospitals, staff nurses provide professional nursing care in accordance with physicians' orders; they are assigned in different areas with primary duties of administering medications, performing nursing interventions, transcribing doctors orders, health education and medical documentation.
You can be assigned as a staff nurse in the following areas:
- Intensive Care Unit
- Pediatric Ward
- Oncology Department (treatment unit for cancer patients)
- Delivery Room/Obstetric and Gynecology Unit
- Operating Room/Surgical Unit
- Out Patient Department
- Dialysis Department (treatment unit for patients with kidney failure)
- Medical Ward
- Opthalmology Department (treatment unit for patients with eye disorder)
- Emergency Department
- Diagnostics Unit
- Community Health Nurse – employed by the government and are deployed in different localities; they perform visits to home bound patients
- Hospice Nurse – provide end-of-life care at a hospice facility or the patients home
- Geriatric Nurse – registered nurses who specialize in caring for elderly individuals; they can work in clinics, hospitals or the home of the elderly individual who needs care or assistance
- Clinical Nurse Specialist – licensed registered nurse who has either a master's or doctorate degree in a specialized area of nursing; they can work as nurse researchers, nurse anesthesist, nurse midwives, nurse consultants, senior nurse supervisors etc.
- Private Nurse – a registered nurse who takes care of one patient in a home setting
- School nurse – employed in a school with the primary task of monitoring students health conditions
- Nurse Educator – an RN who teaches nursings at a university or college
- Nurse Practitioner – a registered nurse educated to a masters degree level and authorized to function autonomously and collaboratively in an advanced and extended clinical role
Jobs for non board passers
- Nurse Assistants/Nursing Aides – help patients get in and out of bed, bathe them, help them get dressed, and wash and brush their hair; they serve meals and help patients with eating
- Midwife – works in a rural health unit (RHU) and provides basic education and interventions to pregnant women; they assist Doctors and Nurses during childbirth
- Nurse Receptionist – answers hospital phone calls and schedules appointments for patients with specific Physicians
- Medical Representative – sells and markets health care products and supplies, frequently pharmaceutical drugs
Jobs not related to the BSN program
- Call center agent – answers phone calls and inquiries of clients and provides customer support, usually to people from other countries
- Administrative Staff – personnel responsible for the organization and management of office duties and tasks; positions that include office secretary, personal assistant and office clerk
- Freelancer working online – doing online jobs for clients abroad, such as data entry, article writing, SEO, customer support , administrative support etc., which mainly depends on your skills
Career Opportunities AbroadThe demand for Filipino Nurses abroad is quite low at present (2013). According to one report, Filipino Nurses will have difficulty entering into particular countries such as the United States and Arab nations until 2020 (See source 1 and source 2).
Although there are other countries who accept Filipino Nurses, the method by which you can enter these countries is through student visa. You have to raise a show money ranging from 500,000php to 1.5 million (See source).
Different countries also require you to take their own licensure examination. National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) , Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) and International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are a few examples. In addition, they also require 2 to 3 years of hospital experience and several trainings and seminars (Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) before you can work as a Nurse.
Salary LevelsIn the Philippines, Registered Nurses with entry level to mid level positions receive a monthly salary ranging from P5,000 to P9,000 per month (See source).
Those who have more advanced positions such as Nurse Supervisors and those working in specialized fields receive salaries ranging from P10,000 to P14,000 per month. (See source).
Abroad: The salary of Nurses in the United States ranges from $40,000 to $95,000 per year (See source).