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BSN to Doctoral Degree Programs
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29th Apr, 2009 | Source : American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)

Inside Scoop on Baccalaureate to Doctoral Programs in Nursing

The changing demands of the nation's complex healthcare environment require that nurses serving in advanced roles possess the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise possible. Research from Drs. Linda Aiken, Christopher Friese, Carole Estabrooks, and others have established a clear link between increased levels of nursing education and better patient outcomes.

For nursing students looking to assume leadership positions, a doctorate is the most appropriate credential. Today’s students can choose from doctoral programs focused on either research (PhD) or practice (Doctor of Nursing Practice or DNP). With a growing interest among students in fast-track Baccalaureate to Doctoral degrees, here are a few points to consider:

  • Baccalaureate to Doctoral programs provide an efficient pathway to careers as nurse educators, researchers and leaders for the best and brightest nursing students.

  • According to data compiled by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the first Baccalaureate to Doctoral degree program was offered in 1995 by the University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio.

  • The number of Baccalaureate to Doctoral programs has grown steadily over the last 13 years from 1 program in 1995, to 8 programs in 1999, to 72 programs today. Eleven additional programs are being planned at schools nationwide.

  • Typically, top baccalaureate or BSN students are identified prior to graduation and encouraged to pursue this rigorous program which acculturates them to research and academic careers.

  • Strong clinical experiences are embedded throughout the entire 4-5 year program. These experiences build on the strong foundation students receive in their BSN programs.

  • These programs are available to both BSN nurses in practice and as well as new graduates. The programs are rigorous and full-time study is strongly recommended

  • Baccalaureate to Doctoral programs are bringing younger faculty into nursing which is helping to address the nurse educator shortage and the rapid aging of the nursing professoriate.

  • Students considering a BSN to Doctoral program are encouraged to look for institutions and faculty expertise that matches their academic and research interest areas.

  • A complete list of BSN to Doctoral Degree programs is available online at



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