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The Top Reasons to Pursue a BSN for RNs

| November 05, 2021, 08:00 AM

For registered nurses today, there are many reasons behind their decision to get into this career. Flexibility, high demand, competitive salaries, job security, and opportunities for career growth and advancement are just some of the reasons why people decide to work as a nurse. Whether you are already working as a registered nurse or are considering this for your future career, there are many reasons to consider pursuing your BSN degree.

In 2010, the National Academy of Medicine, previously known as the Institute of Medicine, called for eighty percent of registered nurses to earn a BSN within the next ten years.

With each decade that passes, nursing becomes an increasingly complex role. In this profession, nurses need to make the transition from skill-based competencies to understanding health policies, performing under pressure and as part of a team, and making complex and difficult decisions quickly. Due to this, there is a huge push for more BSN-educated nurses in hospital settings to support the growing imperative to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

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For registered nurses and people who are considering getting started with nursing degree training, there are many reasons to consider getting a BSN. These include:

Higher Salaries:

Earning a BSN degree will set you up to receive a higher income throughout your career. According to the National Nursing Workforce Survey carried out in 2020, nurses who have a bachelor’s science in nursing regularly make more each year compared to nurses with an associate’s degree. Salaries for nurses can vary depending on several different factors, including the cost of living in their area. PayScale data shows that BSN-educated nurses reported an annual salary of $87k compared to just $71k reported by nurses with an associate’s degree. These salaries are reflective of the demand for BSN-educated professionals in nursing with more hospitals actively seeking to meet the expectations of the National Academy of Medicine.

Increased Specialist Nursing Opportunities:

Only 22% of nurses held a BSN in 1980, compared to 57% of nurses graduating with a BSN or higher in 2018. Today, nurses with a BSN have been outpacing associate’s degree graduates since 2012. And since then, there have been several noticeable improvements in healthcare including a reduction in hospital admissions and shorter stays in hospitals for patients. This has led to an increase in the delivery of healthcare in more outpatient environments, which tend to require nurses that have the skills gained through completing a BSN program.

BSN-educated nurses have more specialist nursing opportunities available to them compared to nurses with an associate’s degree. They are needed to practice in a range of settings including health maintenance organizations, home health services, community clinics, leadership roles, and case management roles. Nurses who hold a BSN can practice in all healthcare settings including public health, mental health, and critical care areas. Outside of hospital settings where the demand for services is growing, BSN nurses have the education and skills needed to provide care.

Higher Rates of Employment:

A survey carried out by the AACN in 2020 found that over 90% of BSN graduates will secure employment within six months of graduating from the BSN program. Along with this, the survey also found that over 80% of employers now strongly prefer to employ BSN-educated nurses, and more than 40% of healthcare employers including hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities now require a BSN as the minimum qualification when hiring nurses.

A 2019 study carried out by New York University found that registered nurses who have a BSN are significantly more prepared compared to nurses with an associate’s degree in twelve out of sixteen areas of safety and quality including evidence-based practice, data analysis, and project implementation.

Today, there is a greater emphasis on preventative care and treatment for chronic disease, meaning that for registered nurses, a BSN is the best choice for becoming more marketable as a job candidate and improving their ability to meet the needs of patients and employers.

Prepare for Graduate School:

There is a shifting emphasis on preventative and primary care and registered nurses are outnumbered physicians by a three to one ratio. This is a clear indication that nurses are going to continue to function as primary care providers in the future. Graduate nursing education at the master’s or doctoral level will prepare registered nurses to become specialty-focused advanced practice registered nurses, which is the next step up for a BSN-educated registered nurse. To enroll in programs such as postgraduate nurse practitioner programs from Wilkes University to qualify as a family nurse practitioner and get into a nursing role where you will be providing primary care to patients, you will usually be required to have earned a minimum of a BSN. The advantages of working as an advanced practice registered nurse such as a nurse practitioner include huge salary increases and more employment opportunities.

Further Career Advancement Opportunities:

Another of the main advantages of earning a BSN is that it can improve your career prospects and lead you to new career opportunities. The options that are available for career advancement for BSN-educated nurses include working in leadership roles or getting into a range of medical specialty roles such as pediatric or cardiology nursing, ICU nursing, case management, or roles in quality assurance and improve coordination. Many of the RN certifications that you will need to work in these advanced roles will require you to have a minimum of a BSN in nursing.

Nurses who are educated to the BSN level will be able to go on to obtain a variety of certifications in different specialty areas. Gaining specialty certificates is one of the best ways to improve your job opportunities in your chosen medical specialty, along with increasing your salary prospects. Nursing certifications are available in a wide range of different fields including rehabilitation, leadership, women’s health, crucial care, diabetes, and more. Each medical specialty area that you can get into as a nurse may offer more than one available certification. For example, working in critical care as a nurse includes fifteen different initial certification options that are offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.

Improved Education:

One of the immediate benefits of getting an associate’s degree in nursing to start your nursing career is that it is a shorter and cheaper qualification option that you can use to get into nursing and complete a BSN later. However, the expanded education that is offered by BSN programs will make sure that nurses are more fully prepared for a career where they are highly knowledgeable in safety and care quality. Today, nurses go beyond simple clinical competency skills for both associate’s degree and BSN graduates. However, the four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing program will offer a more global perspective for new and existing registered nurses along with following a curriculum that offers more preparation for areas such as decision making, patient education, leadership, and community health.

More Career Autonomy:

Nurses are an essential part of any healthcare facility today. When registered nurses are educated with a BSN, they will have more autonomy over critical patient care decisions, which is often absolutely essential for nurses who work outside of the hospital setting. Nurses who have the ability to make quick decisions without requiring the approval or supervision of another professional greatly benefit patient care including improving patient satisfaction and reducing patient mortality rates.

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With a BSN education, nurses are better prepared to accept a wider range of responsibilities in their role including decision making regarding home healthcare, coordinating comprehensive care plans for patients, managing new healthcare technologies, and more. This higher level of autonomy for nurses is becoming increasingly important throughout the healthcare system when it comes to addressing the growing demands on healthcare that are the result of an aging population and a shortage of registered nurses.

Improved Patient Outcomes:

Several studies have concluded to suggest that patient outcomes are likely to improve when more BSN-educated nurses are tasked with patient care. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there are several studies to show that BSN graduates are significantly better prepared in the majority of quality and safety-related patient care areas. A 10% increase in the proportion of BSN nurses lowers patient mortality rates by more than 10%, and hospitals that employ a higher percentage of nurses with a BSN tend to have patients who stay for shorter lengths of time have lower mortality rates caused by congestive heart failure, fewer decubitus ulcers, and a reduced rate of deep vein thrombosis after operations. Along with this, one study of six hospitals throughout Europe found that a higher number of BSN graduates led to better patient outcomes and a higher quality of care. The improved level of patient care delivered by BSN-educated nurses is due to the increased autonomy and comprehensive education that these professionals are provided with.

Earning a BSN May Become Mandatory:

Today, more and more hospitals and healthcare environments are actively seeking to hire nurses with a BSN as a way of meeting the criteria that are needed to achieve Magnet status. This title for nursing excellence is given by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. It is a title to show that a healthcare setting has achieved quality patient outcomes and innovations in nursing practice. In addition to the higher demand for BSN-educated nurses by healthcare employers, New York State has become the first state to make a BSN mandatory for registered nurses. In 2017, the BSN in 10 law was signed by former New York governor Andrew Cuomo, which requires all registered nurses in New York State to earn a BSN within ten years of entering this profession. With other states including New Jersey and Rhode Island considering implementing similar laws for nurses, it’s likely that eventually, there will come a time where getting a BSN is going to be required for all nurses around the country.

Getting Started is Easier Than You Think:

Whether you are considering starting your career as a nurse or you already have an RN license and want to get a BSN to improve your career opportunities, there are several options available. Nursing degrees are now available online. However, bear in mind that with this type of degree, typically only classes and lectures are available to study online and you will need to get clinical experience and develop significant clinical skills in person. If you are already a practicing registered nurse, you may be able to get your entire BSN online since you will already possess the clinical skills required to get this qualification. Some schools offer bridge programs from associate’s degree to bachelor’s degree that will allow you to build on what you already know and complete the program in one year.

More About Getting a BSN:

·      Why is the BSN Degree Important?

The BSN has become the required or preferred degree in many clinical settings including hospitals. BSN-educated nurses tend to bring the right level of professionalism and skills necessary in healthcare environments that are becoming more complex.

·      Is Getting a BSN Worth It?

With the BSN becoming a minimum requirement for many nurses in different settings and law changes likely to make it a mandatory qualification for all nurses in the future, it’s certainly worth getting a BSN whether you are just starting with your career in nursing or are already an RN with an associate’s degree.

·      What is the Difference Between ADN and BSN Nurses?

The main, fundamental difference between nurses who have an associate’s degree and nurses with a BSN is the level of education that they receive. A registered nurse is a licensure designation that is provided by the State Board of Nursing to either ADN or BSN educated nurses. Associate’s degree programs last for two years and primarily focus on developing clinical skills, while BSN degree programs require four years to complete and offer a much more comprehensive perspective.

Whether you have decided to become a nurse or are already working as an RN, there are several important reasons why getting a BSN is a good career move.

Category: Local News, NEWS

About the Author - Stephanie Maris

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland and most recently a wife and a mother. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages.

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