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 develop.
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.
Every Degree Matters: The Advantages of a BSN in Nursing
The 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 developments in health care.
Additionally, the importance of BSN-prepared nurses in rural communities rises 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.
At Nightingale College, we believe every step of the education journey matters. Each degree, class, and learning moment should contribute to serving patients better, and the RN-to-BSN Bridge Program at Nightingale College is designed to do just that. This program was designed for working nurses, and while it is true the didactic classes are 100% online for increased flexibility, the lessons will be applied at work as you learn.
The program has an employer-focused Capstone Project, in which learners identify a needed area of improvement in their workplace, research best practices, develop a plan for change, and implement the change. Imagine the feeling you will have when you implement an evidence-based principle at work that improves the healthcare offered. At Nightingale College, we want to encourage you to become agents of health and take ownership of improving healthcare in the communities you serve.
The Importance of Continuing Education in Nursing
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 are preferred applicants because of their degree level and the skills and knowledge they bring 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
Top 5 Reasons to Pursue a Bachelor Degree in Nursing
The advantages of a BSN are not purely financial but extend into your personal and professional development. Here are some of the most important reasons why you should consider expanding your education as an RN nurse.
1. Secure your future before the BSN becomes a requirement (2020)
The need for nurses grows every year. More and more hospitals require RNs to hold a bachelor’s degree, even for entry-level positions. Hospitals are clamoring for Magnet status, which, as of 2013, requires 100% of nurse managers to have at least a BSN. A BSN degree makes you better prepared for bedside care and leadership, so you can choose between more career opportunities.
2. Take advantage of the BSN to become a better leader
Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry. Developing better leadership skills is critical to all aspects of nursing care. Patients look to RNs — new and seasoned — for help, guidance, and care, so every nurse, especially at the bedside, will go through times when leadership qualities are needed.
In addition, BSN-educated nurses are found to be better critical thinkers and communicators, which are two qualities that are emphasized during the program.
3. BSN nurses improve patient outcomes
Several studies show BSN nurses use and apply evidenced-based standards of care. Research also concludes that hospitals who employ more RNs who have their BSN achieve lower mortality rates, meaning improved patient care and better outcomes.
4. Nurses with continued education have better life satisfaction
Education can change your life. Nightingale College’s learners have advanced their nursing education and improved skills which are not used only at work. They improve their roles as a parent, friend, son/daughter, and community member.
Nightingale College will push you to become your best self. No doubt life will still happen while in school and you will have to balance the two, but you will graduate as a better version of yourself.
5. You can complete a quality online RN-to-BSN program quickly
A bachelor’s degree in nursing takes just three semesters or 12 months (if you have all the required GEs). Though short, our program is challenging, but compared to the rigorous RN training with clinicals and labs, you should find the program well-suited for working professionals.
Do you want to step up?
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 illustrates the decrease in the mortality and morbidity rates in facilities that have nurses with a BSN degree on staff.
This does not suggest that associate degree nurses are not equipped to handle patients in a variety of settings, but rather that 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, which prepare 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.
Elevate Your Career and Reach More Jobs with a BSN
Nurses with a BSN degree can practice in more settings such as critical care, outpatient services, and community clinics, which are just a few of the opportunities available. 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
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.
While the employment prospects for nurses are exceptionally good, it can be expected that in the near future, most institutions will include a bachelor’s degree as the minimum level of education. Employers and health care facilities are the first to see the impact BSN-prepared nurses on the quality of patient care and safety provided, which is why they are the ones to raise the standard.
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.
Ready to take the next step in your nursing career?
Check out Nightingale College’s RN to BSN Bridge Program.