Nightingale College RN to BSN Program graduate with Nightingale College’s President and CEO, Mikhail Shneyder. (May 6, 2016)
Congratulations on being part of the esteemed profession of nursing. Not everyone can fulfill the duties and responsibilities nurses endure on a daily basis that test not only their competencies but their emotional stability. As the top trusted profession, nursing yields many rewards and embodies selflessness and compassion, two ideal characteristics each nurse is encouraged to possess. The constantly evolving health care landscape advances each year as the diverse needs of patients grow. Nurses in particular are preferred to continuously advance their education alongside the advancements of health care, helping nurses learn the latest skills and knowledge to truly deliver quality patient care. Additionally, the importance of BSN-prepared nurses in rural communities rise even more as nurses in these settings must possess a broad array of knowledge and skills to treat communities that have a low number of accessible and local health care professionals.
To solidify a nurse’s career, higher education is needed and preferred by many employers who see the benefits of having BSN-prepared nurses on staff. Although many nurses stop after obtaining an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and passing the national licensure exam (NCLEX-RN), the developments in health care push nurses to go back to school to acquire the skills and knowledge a BSN degree program delivers. According to the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations, 80% of nurses need to be BSN prepared to improve the benefits provided to communities. Research associated with BSN-prepared nurses and patient care illustrate the decrease in the mortality and morbidity rates in facilities that have nurses with a BSN degree on staff. It does not suggest associate degree nurses are not equipped to handle patients in a variety of settings, but nurses who have been further trained and hold a BSN degree have gained advanced knowledge and skills as well as critical thinking and leadership characteristics, preparing them to practice in a variety of care settings, treat chronic illnesses, and pursue specialized nursing professions.
The higher qualifications gained through the BSN curriculum train nurses to fulfill higher leadership positions and nursing specialties. Not all BSN-prepared nurses work in administrative roles; the need for bedside BSN nurses constantly rises. Nurses with a BSN degree can practice in more settings such as critical care, outpatient services, and community clinics, which are some of the opportunities available among a numerous list of other possibilities. Many nursing specialties that are very popular require a BSN degree as the minimum requirement along with years of experience. Some nursing specialties that require a BSN degree are
- Clinical nurse leader
- Critical care nurse
- Flight nurse
- Informatics nurse
- Nurse advocate
- Nurse manager
- Occupational health nurse
- Oncology nurse
- Perioperative nurse
However, many nursing positions require advanced degrees that surpass the bachelor’s degree level for positions like nurse practitioner and nursing instructor. As a nurse, continuous education should always be a priority. Explore the full list of nursing specialties by clicking here. The nursing profession provides many avenues for nurses to take once graduated and licensed. Many current job openings for registered nurses require an ASN degree and, of course, a current, active nursing license in the specific state of employment. By 2024, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics asserts the projected employment for nurses will reach over 3.1 million nurses including both replacement hires needed to fill the gap of nurses retiring and new nurses needed to address the escalating community health needs. It can be expected that the future of employment for nurses will include a bachelor’s degree as the minimum level of education because employers and health care facilities are able to see the impact BSN-prepared nurses make in regards to the quality of patient care and safety provided. As the health care system changes over time and a BSN degree will be required for almost all entry-level RN positions, nurses will be encouraged to continue to advance their degree level.
Nurses who advance their career by seeking higher levels of education open up more job opportunities, including promotions and leadership positions, and enjoy salary increases that are associated with their enhanced skills and knowledge. The difference in salary between ASN- and BSN-prepared nurses do not differ much, however, BSN-prepared nurses are able to apply for higher-level positions that comes with a higher pay.
Having a BSN degree can have an influence on a nursing graduate’s career right after graduation. While the nursing shortage shows ample opportunities for new nursing graduates, BSN-prepared nurses who apply are preferred applicants because of their level of degree and the skills and knowledge they bring with them to nursing units.
“There are many reasons to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and while an Associate’s Degree in nursing is a result of the most efficient pathway to becoming a registered nurse, a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing opens so many more opportunities. If you are currently a registered nurse with an ASN degree, you should be encouraged to pursue your BSN. Opportunities in nursing education, nursing management, federal agencies, and the military, for example, all require a minimum of a BSN degree. Some states are evaluating their entry-into-practice laws and are considering requiring a BSN to be the standard for practicing as a registered nurse. In 2013 the Roberts Woods Johnson Foundation published their findings supporting the outcomes of their lengthy study demonstrating the evidence linking better patient outcomes to baccalaureate and higher degree nurses. In 2010 the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report on The Future of Nursing, initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80% by 2020. The future of nursing lies in the age old discussion of the ‘entry into practice’ being at the baccalaureate level. That time is upon us now, and it’s only a matter of time before a BSN is the requirement to practice as a registered nurse.”
Sue Jero, MSN, RN
Ready to take the next step in your nursing career and be BSN prepared? Check out Nightingale College’s RN to BSN Bridge Program.