Prerequisite Courses for a Bachelor Science in Nursing (Bsn)

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Nursing is the most rewarding career for persons who plan to support the welfare of underserved populations and improve their living conditions (Curtis, Vries, & Sheerin, 2011). Many healthcare professionals work in complex settings and environments. They also have to support patients with different health conditions. Students planning to provide medical or nursing care should therefore be ready to complete various prerequisite courses. This fact explains why Registered Nurses (RNs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) should possess a wide range of competencies. Such skills can only be developed if the targeted learners have the relevant foundational knowledge. Nursing students who want to become NPs or Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) should therefore complete specific prerequisite courses before pursing their career goals. The targeted program for this essay is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Learners who want to start the path towards becoming knowledgeable caregivers must complete a number of prerequisite credits. This fundamental requirement forms the foundation for the learner’s nursing competencies and skills (Parsons & Cornett, 2011). Many states have strict regulations to guide and regulate the length and credit hours for such prerequisite courses. Every learner planning to complete the BSN program can fulfill these requirements in various medical institutions and schools. This discussion therefore describes the prerequisite courses needed before pursuing a degree in nursing. The paper will also give a detailed rationale to support the identified prerequisite courses.

Prerequisite Courses

The BSN program is designed to guide students who want to become professional providers of competent health care to more patients with diverse needs. The degree program opens new doors thus making it possible for the learners to have better career opportunities (Bastable, 2014). Many nursing schools hire experts to guide and provide quality instructions to every nursing student. The academic path makes it possible for the targeted students to investigate new concepts and areas. The learners also “acquire new opportunities that can enhance their professional and personal growth” (Giddens, 2013, p. 57). The BSN program has been observed to prepare more learners for effective nursing practice in different health settings.

Many academic institutions require students to complete pre-requisite courses or subjects before being enrolled for the BSN program. The other critical issue is that the pre-requisite courses must be completed from accredited universities or nursing colleges (Moyer & Wittmann-Price, 2008. These courses equip the targeted learner with most desirable skills before starting the journey towards becoming a provider of quality health services (Curtis et al., 2011). The description below identifies the major prerequisite courses required for the BSN program.

The first prerequisite course is General Chemistry. The individual should complete 4 or 5 hours for this course. One of the credits should focus on laboratory practices. Anatomy and Physiology is also critical for students who want to enroll for the BSN program. Microbiology should “be completed with several laboratory experiments” (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015, p. 76). The learner should complete 3 hours of General Sociology. Courses such as General Psychology, US History, Lifespan Development, Cultural Anthropology, English Composition I, College Algebra, English Composition II, Philosophy, Introduction to Statistics, and Speech/Oral Communications require three hours each (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). The other requirement is for the learner to select two more pre-requisite courses of his or her own choice. The learner is required to complete 6 hours for such elective courses. Courses that require laboratory practices include Human Anatomy & Physiology, General Chemistry, and General Microbiology (Giddens, 2013).

The table presents below gives a detailed summary of the major prerequisite courses required for the BSN program. The table shows conclusively that the learners should complete 58 (or more) credit hours (Tappen, 2011). This fulfillment makes the journey for students who are ready to become competent providers of timely and adequate medical care to more patients with diverse health needs.

Prerequisite Course Credit Hours
Chemistry & Laboratory 4 hours
Microbiology & Laboratory 4 Hours
Anatomy & Physiology/Laboratory 4 hours
Anatomy & Physiology/Laboratory 4 hours
General Sociology 3 hours
United States’ History 3 hours
General Psychology 3 hours
Development Psychology/Lifespan Development 3 hours
Cultural Anthropology/Human Civilization 3 hours
English Composition I 3 hours
English Composition II 3 hours
Philosophy 3 hours
College Algebra 3 hours
Intro to Statistics 3 hours
Nutrition 3 hours
Oral Communications/Speech 3 hours
Electives 6 hours
General Education (GE) Credits 58hours

Table 1: Prerequisite courses required for the BSN program


The above table shows clearly that many institutions offering the BSN program expect every enrolled learner to have completed these general education (GE) courses. These pre-requisite courses equip potential learners with adequate skills thus preparing them for the journey ahead (Parsons & Cornett, 2011). A proper knowledge of these core units will ensure the learners are capable of making timely decisions. As well, the learners will find it easier to acquire the relevant competencies associated with the BSN degree program. Such learners will find the learning process friendly and eventually realize their educational and career goals. Although these prerequisites vary significantly from one nursing school to another, the outstanding fact is that they equip learners will adequate skills for pursuing the BSN program.

To begin with, the individual should complete English Composition I and II. The learners should be able to pass an English fluency test (Schnall et al., 2012). These prerequisite courses will ensure the learning process is smooth for the students. Properly-developed writing and reading skills will make it possible for the learners to complete their academic reports. Successful completion of the English Composition courses will improve the writing and creativity skills of the students. The process will eventually make it possible for the learners to succeed throughout the BSN program.

The individuals should also complete a philosophy course. Tappen (2011) argues that “nursing is a philosophical career that requires every practitioner to be aware of his or her ultimate goals” (p. 47). This prerequisite course is supported by many professionals because it makes it possible for nurses to have their personal career philosophies. This general education course equips more learners with fundamental thoughts on critical issues such as moral values and ethical practices. The other significant course is College Algebra (Brown, 2012). This prerequisite makes it easier for learners to address a wide range of problems using an algebraic approach. Introduction to Statistics is another relevant course that makes it possible for learners to solve various mathematical problems. The skills gained from these courses prepare the BSN students for their future research studies.

Nursing is a remarkable practice whereby caregivers focus on the best approaches towards improving the health outcomes of many patients and communities. A strong basis on nutrition will ensure the nurses offer positive feedbacks to their patients. They can also guide them to take balanced diets in order to record desirable healthcare outcomes (Bastable, 2014). This fact explains why Nutrition is a useful GE prerequisite course required by learners who want to enroll for the BSN program. Speech or Oral Communications is another general education course considered by many nursing institutions. Professional nurses should engage in meaningful conversations with both their health leaders (HLs) and patients (Schnall et al., 2012). They should also be on the frontline to address the major problems affecting their clients. That being the case, the nurse practitioners (NPs) should possess relevant communication skills. This fact explains why the Speech prerequisite course is very important.

Cultural Anthropology is another useful course for people who want to pursue a degree in nursing. This course informs the learners about the major issues surrounding the history of humankind and civilization (Reinhard & Hassmiller, 2014). Human beings live in complex societies characterized by different issues and dilemmas. This course is relevant because it helps more learners understand how human societies operate as complex systems. Societies also change constantly due to human immigration. An individual who understands the major issues dictating the nature of different human societies will be fully prepared to offer quality health services to more patients (Patterson & Krouse, 2015). Students of nursing who have completed this course will find it easier to pursue better virtues and values that can eventually make them competent providers of judicious patient care.

Lifespan Development is a GE course focusing on the major stages of human growth. The prerequisite course helps more individuals analyze the major psychological and physiological issues associated with every stage of human development. This knowledge can eventually help individuals who are working in different healthcare settings (Patterson & Krouse, 2015). This course is critical for BSN students because it will ensure the learners offer adequate healthcare services to people of different ages.

Human beings are psychological creatures capable of using their brains to make rational decisions. Individuals with some background in human psychology will find it easier to address the psychological issues affecting different patients. Experts argue that nursing should be able to fulfill both the psychological and physiological needs of the targeted individuals (Kleinpell et al., 2014). This fact explains why General Psychology remains one of the prerequisite courses for persons who want to pursue the BSN degree program. Such individuals will be able to address a wide range of physiological health issues affecting many underserved populations and patients (Kleinpell et al., 2014).

The other important course focuses on the history of the United States. Anthropologists and sociologists believe strongly that the history of a specific population can play a positive role towards identifying the best practices that have the potential to address the problems affecting it (Moyer & Wittmann-Price, 2008). Combined with General Sociology, the course equips more individuals with new skills that can support their career paths as healthcare workers. One thing about these courses is that they focus on the fundamental issues that define the American society. It is agreeable the America population is one of the most diverse in the world (Kleinpell et al., 2014). That being the case, individuals providing medical services should be aware of this diversity and embrace the best actions that can make a difference for every population. Before pursuing the BSN degree, interested learners should have a clear knowledge of the history of the United States. This knowledge will make it easier for them to analyze various issues during their BSN academic path.

Another important prerequisite course is Anatomy and Physiology. It would be impossible for an individual who does not have any background in human anatomy to pursue the BSN degree program. The course equips more individuals with the required knowledge about the major issues associated with the human body and physiology. Nurses should be aware of the anatomy and physiology of the human body (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2003). This knowledge is relevant for practitioners who want to provide evidence-based and culturally-competent healthcare to their clients.

Chemistry is the other relevant course for persons who want to enroll for the BSN program. This is the case because the course makes it easier for the students to understand the major chemical processes and issues associated with nursing practices. The prerequisite course is prepares the learners before starting their career paths. Nurses administer a wide range of chemical compounds and medicines to their patients. It is therefore necessary for such nurses to “be aware of how various drugs react in different persons” (Tappen, 2011, p. 39). A strong foundation in chemistry is essential for medical scholars who want to become skilled healthcare practitioners. This single fact explains why many nursing schools consider the course before enrolling new students for various medical courses (Porter-O’Grady & Malloch, 2003).

The other widely recognized prerequisite course is Microbiology. Before practicing as NPs, nursing students should have “a good knowledge of microbiology in order to be aware of various aspects of people’s health” (Brown, 2012, p. 56). A proper knowledge of different microbiological processes can make it possible for the learners to understand how infections occur. They will be aware of different methods for controlling infections. Nurses provide medicines to their patients in order to prevent or treat various conditions. The practitioners should therefore be aware of how various microorganisms operate inside and outside the human body. The knowledge will ensure positive treatments methods are put in place in every nursing environment. The approach will subsequently help more nurses address most of the health problems affecting humanity.


This analysis shows clearly that each of the above prerequisite courses is useful for every nursing program. The prerequisite courses serve various purposes in the field of healthcare practice (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2015). The BSN program is tailored to ensure the learners are able to provide evidence-based nursing care to more patients with diverse needs. Before completing the program, the learners should possess various competencies that can guide them throughout the academic process. This argument explains why a course such as philosophy helps the individuals formulate various frameworks that can support their academic goals and objectives.

Most of the units taught throughout the BSN program are complex in nature. The teachers of such units expect the learners to have the required knowledge in each of the above prerequisite courses. For instance, a student of nursing will focus on various methods of providing evidence-based care to patients with diverse needs (Grace, 2009). In order to achieve this goal, the practitioners should be aware of the sociological attributes of the targeted population. At the same time, the healthcare workers will be required to have a clear understanding of issues such as diversity. This fact explains why individuals planning to pursue the BSN program should complete certain prerequisite courses such as Cultural Anthropology and General Sociology.

Being a science and art, nursing embraces a wide range of ideas in an attempt to maximize the health outcomes of many patients. The course therefore requires different learners to have a strong background in various subjects such as microbiology, chemistry, and physiology. The learners will also be required to conduct various research works and use statistical tools to present their data findings (Goldsteen & Goldsteen, 2013). It is therefore agreeable that individuals planning to become NPs should complete each of the above prerequisite courses. By so doing, the individuals will find it easier to complete their studies and eventually realize their career goals. With this knowledge, the BSN students will formulate the best philosophies and missions for their careers. This foundation will support their career paths and eventually complete various units successfully.

Individuals planning to apply for the BSN program should have completed 58 prerequisite credits. As well, a grade of C plus (C+) or higher will be required in each of the above-mentioned courses. The other important thing is that RNs might not be required to complete these courses. This is the case because RNs working in different nursing areas should have completed the programs much earlier. The reason why students should complete these courses is because they equip them with desirable concepts that can support their career goals (Giddens, 2013). Nurses who have a strong background in such courses will find it easier to offer competent healthcare services and eventually transform the lives of their clients.


Students should accumulate 58 prerequisite credits for the above courses before enrolling for the BSN degree program. These prerequisite courses equip learners with desirable competencies for effective nursing practice. Individuals who have fulfilled these requirements will find it easier to identify the best educational goals and eventually develop a powerful nursing philosophy (Billings & Halstead, 2012). They will also be aware of the sociological, anthropological, psychological, and biochemical issues defining their nursing practices. Although these requirements might be cumbersome for many persons planning to become nurses, many analysts have argued that the courses create the best foundation thereby making it possible for nurses to address the health problems affecting their clients (Reinhard & Hassmiller, 2014). With this background, individuals who complete their BSN programs successful will become champions for effective patient care. This academic requirement has continued to play a positive role towards ensuring that quality health services are available to many underserved populations.


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ChalkyPapers. "Prerequisite Courses for a Bachelor Science in Nursing (Bsn)." July 16, 2022.