If you’re a nurse, you’ve gained considerable experience in taking care of others and meeting their needs — but what about your own? How are you ensuring the health of your career? Many RNs are answering that question by pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, education that can put a nurse on the path to advanced practice. In today’s shifting healthcare environment, this type of educational strategy can give nurses the knowledge, and credentials they need to fuel their careers. In a BSN program, you learn to develop leadership skills, address community health issues, handle complexity and put nursing practice into a broader context. You also learn the kind of practical skills that propel a career forward, such as communication, management, and research.
Geared toward the Future
There are many factors that are creating a demand for those with a B.S. in Nursing. According to the nonprofit group Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, there are tremendous contributions made by RNs, but more highly educated nurses are needed to navigate an increasingly complex healthcare system. As patients live longer and develop multiple chronic conditions, nurses with a BSN will have the knowledge that’s needed for creating patient-centered care across the entire care continuum.
Another driver for more nurses to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing comes from more stringent requirements at the state level. NurseJournal.org notes that a nurse with a BSN tends to be the standard for education since it opens more doors. On the site’s list of RN requirements, there are numerous states that allow nurses to practice with associate’s degrees. But it adds up that most graduates will find the professional world far more competitive with a B.S. in nursing.
NursingLicensure.org points out that the associate’s degree in nursing has been the benchmark credential for getting a nursing job for the past 40 years, but that a shift toward BSNs is growing. Some hospitals are now only hiring nurses with a BSN.
Job Outlook and Salary Difference
The salary range you can expect with a B.S. in Nursing will likely depend on your specialization area. But whether you’re in a clinical setting, working as a nurse educator, or helping to develop nursing program materials, it’s common practice for employers to set a salary based on your level of education. Data shows that BSN holders earn 43 percent more than RNs.
Your years of experience as an RN combined with a bachelor of science in nursing can set you in a much higher salary bracket than before you made the RN to BSN shift. Also, your range of job options will be much broader. You can take on both clinical and non-clinical positions, supervise teams, create treatment plans, educate nursing students, and much more.
Expanding Your Options
Despite all the advantages that a move from RN to BSN can bring, some nurses may be hesitant to pursue that advanced education. They might be concerned about having to put employment on hold while they’re back in school, and that’s not a realistic option for many. While a bachelor of science in nursing is rigorous, getting a degree doesn’t require a full-time commitment.
For instance, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree that helps you make a smooth transition from RN to BSN. You can enhance professional development, change your specialty, prepare for graduate advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) education, or become ready for a nursing leadership role. As the healthcare environment changes, a bachelor of science in nursing can offer exciting new career paths for nurses.
*Official program name is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree completion program.