As an RN, you make a difference in people’s lives every day.
As an RN, you know that without nurses, the healthcare system would struggle to provide the care that patients deserve.
But did you know that if you complete an RN-to-BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program, you’ll broaden your knowledge base and gain critical problem-solving skills, skills that can help you provide even better patient care?
Upon successful completion of an RN-to-BSN program, you’ll command a higher salary, qualify for an expanded array of jobs, have more career options, and potentially save even more lives.
Read on for 13 benefits of a BSN degree and why an RN-to-BSN program should be your next step.
1. Industry Leaders Want You to Have a BSN
This may be the number one reason to get a BSN. Since 2000, healthcare leaders have been studying patient outcomes as they relate to the education level of the nurses who cared for them. BSN nurses produce better patient outcomes and industry leaders have noticed.
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IoM) published a report on the future of nursing. The IoM reported that it is no longer enough to have basic nursing skills without the knowledge to put evidence-based care into practice in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.
Industry leaders agree with the IoM that healthcare is changing. Hospitals need nurses who can work alongside highly educated team members, such as doctors and pharmacists. Nurses, as they work closely with patients, are in a position to notice changes in medical status that can mean the difference between life and death. It makes sense that their level of education should be closer to that of their colleagues.
The IoM advocated for a lofty goal: that 80% of RNs hold BSN degrees by the year 2020. As of 2022, the number of nurses with BSN degrees stood at 70%, as reported by the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey. This is progress, but the healthcare industry still needs more nurses with BSN degrees.
You can help the nursing industry meet the IoM's goal by completing a BSN program, such as Labouré College of Healthcare's RN-to-BSN program.
2. Your Employer Might Decide to Require You to Earn a BSN
Another benefit of a BSN degree is that it can help you keep the job you love. Currently, about 25% of hospitals require their nurses to have a BSN degree. That number will likely increase as more hospitals see the value in employing highly educated nurses.
Hospitals that have committed to hiring more BSN-prepared nurses often require their current RN staff to obtain a BSN. Completing an RN-to-BSN program can fulfill this requirement.
If you want to join the U.S. military as a nurse, you’ll need a BSN. And the Veteran’s Administration will not promote nurses who don’t have a BSN.
3. Healthcare Delivery is Becoming More Complex
Because health care changes rapidly, with new technologies, medications, and treatments appearing almost weekly, baccalaureate programs, like an RN-to-BSN program, prepare nurses to adapt to changes and incorporate new technology into their practice.
4. Your Patients Will Benefit from Your Advanced Education
This is the benefit of a BSN that is making industry leaders push for more BSN-prepared nurses. Clinical areas that employ a high percentage of BSN nurses have been shown to produce better patient outcomes.
The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice AACN Fact Sheet cites multiple studies indicating that as hospitals employ a higher percentage of nurses with advanced degrees, including BSNs, patients experience lower rates of complications and death and spend less time in the hospital.
5. The Healthcare System Needs More Nurses
Nurses are in short supply.
Healthcare facilities experienced nursing shortages even before the pandemic. Much of the increased demand for nurses is due to baby boomer nurses reaching retirement age and a population living longer than ever before.
In addition, educational institutions aren’t funneling enough new nurses into the workforce as nurses retire, partly because the nursing education system lacks enough instructors.
If you’ve ever considered teaching, enroll in an RN-to-BSN program today to begin your journey to becoming part of the solution to the nurse shortage.
6. You Can Climb Higher on the Career Ladder
If you’re an RN with an associate degree, your ability to advance your career is limited.
Whether you wish to advance your clinical practice or move into non-clinical roles, you’ll go further with a higher-level degree.
For example, if you want to become an advanced practice registered nurse, like a nurse practitioner or a nurse anesthetist, you’ll need a master’s degree or maybe even a doctorate. You won’t be eligible to apply to graduate school until you hold a BSN degree.
Nurses are no longer beholden to the bedside for their entire careers. Nurses with graduate degrees teach at the college level, conduct research, and serve as chief nursing officers.
7. You Can Choose to Work in a Greater Variety of Environments
RNs who don’t have a BSN degree may be limited to working in general areas of healthcare, such as home health agencies, medical offices, or long-term care facilities.
After completing an RN-to-BSN program, RNs can qualify to apply for jobs in more specialized clinical areas, such as pediatrics, oncology, or the burn unit.
Obtaining a higher degree also opens the door to jobs such as unit manager, case manager, legal consultant, and informatics nurse.
8. There Will Be More Jobs Available to You
The number of jobs open to BSN degreed nurses is much higher than is available to nurses with an associate degree. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported that a survey completed in 2022 found that more than 25% of healthcare facilities hire only nurses with a BSN or higher degree.
Even if a job is open to RNs with both associate or bachelor degrees, more than 70% of employers said they prefer to hire BSN graduates over RNs with associate degrees.
9. You Can Choose to Become an Expert
BSN-prepared nurses are prepared to work with diverse patient populations, including newborns, children, adults, and geriatric patients. And they can choose from various specialties, such as pediatric oncology, the burn unit, mental health, surgery, and telemetry.
Nurses who gain experience in a specialty area may pursue a certification. When an RN commits to the education and training needed to earn a specialty certification in their chosen clinical area, it shows a dedication to providing the best possible care to their patients.
BSN nurses with specialty certifications are also called upon to be leaders in their area and help train new nurses.
10. You'll Have Greater Job Security
As industry leaders continue to push for nurses to have a BSN degree and more hospitals adopt a policy of hiring BSN nurses, completing an RN-to-BSN program will make you stand out in a pool of applicants.
If you’re already working, enrolling in an RN-to-BSN program shows your employer that you are dedicated to providing quality patient care.
11. You'll Make More Money
The more nursing education you have, the more valuable you are to employers. And as you become more valuable to employers, you will typically make more money.
Payscale reports that, on average, nurses with an associate degree earn 76k per year. Nurses with a BSN degree earn 92k per year. Your salary will depend on where you work and the position you hold. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nurses working for the government and hospitals make more money than nurses working in doctor’s offices and nursing homes.
Learn how Labouré College of Healthcare can help you earn a BSN degree with their flexible, online RN-to-BSN program.
12. You Can Keep Working While You Earn a BSN Degree
You’ve got the skills. Now tackle the advanced theory, research, public health, and management courses in an RN-to-BSN program.
The IoM position paper called for nursing schools to come together to help bridge the gap between an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree. Associate and bachelor degree programs are working hard to ensure that nurses graduating with an associate degree have the education needed to transition into an RN-to-BSN program.
Labouré College of Healthcare offers online classes, flexible scheduling, and extra time to work through the program at your own pace.
Many programs have admissions counselors familiar with the challenges nurses face when enrolling in an RN-to-BSN program. Counselors are prepared to help the nurse make a smooth transition and are available throughout the program to assist.
13. The Writing is on the Wall
Since 2000, healthcare leaders have asked if nurses with BSN degrees make a difference in patient outcomes. The answer has been a resounding yes. For this reason, various groups and organizations interested in the future of nursing are calling for a change in the education system that produces degreed nurses.
Labouré offers a 100% online program that can be completed in 16 months or less. Labouré’s classes are 7 weeks long and you’ll have the option to pace the program to suit your needs. And at $375 it’s one of the lowest cost online RN-to-BSN programs available today.
Apply to Labouré’s RN-to-BSN program today to advance your career and join the growing ranks of nurses with a BSN degree.
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