University of California Santa Barbara

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Nursing - Introduction

Nursing - Introduction

Nursing as a professional discipline is concerned with human responses to actual and potential health problems. Current research in nursing is focused on human responses to acute and chronic health problems, health promotion, health maintenance, and nursing interventions.

There are several levels of educational choices for nurses, including the Licensed Vocational Nurse (L.V.N.), the Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.), and the Registered Nurse (R.N., often obtained through a bachelor’s degree). In addition, nurses can earn advanced degrees in their field, such as the Master’s of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) and/or a doctoral degree in nursing.

If you hope to obtain a B.S.N, you may follow one of two routes: complete the pre-nursing requirements in preparation for transferring to a bachelor’s program in Nursing at another school, or complete a bachelor’s degree at UCSB and apply to an accelerated B.S.N. program. Accelerated B.S.N. programs allow students to earn the degree in 12-18 months, and are designed for students who have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline.

Graduate preparation is widely becoming accepted as a basic requirement for advanced certification in nursing. If you want to obtain a master’s degree in nursing, you should apply to Direct-Entry M.S.N. programs. These programs admit students who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than Nursing.

In the nursing field, it is possible to specialize in a particular clinical area—especially at the graduate level. An M.S.N., for example, might choose to specialize in nurse anesthesia, community health nursing, gerontological nursing, medical-surgical nursing, psychiatric mental health nursing, or nurse midwifery. Alternatively, a nurse could specialize according to age group (e.g. child health nursing or nursing of the adult) or according to functional area (e.g. teaching or administration). Programs that prepare generalists are also available.

Helpful Information

Transferring to a B.S.N. Program

If you are planning on transferring to a school that offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.), you must contact that school as soon as possible to ensure that you will complete all of the prerequisites needed for transfer.

Some nursing programs require courses that are not offered at UCSB. In order to fulfill these requirements, many students enroll at community colleges.