Download our BSN-Readiness Worksheet and find out if you’re ready to make the jump!
We recently wrote about the industry push for nurses to be educated at the BSN level, and provided some thoughts about interpreting the factors behind the push. But aside from the many voices calling for nurses to go back to school, what’s in it for you? Why should you go back to school at this point in your career?
Many RNs who return to school to fulfill an employer’s requirement do not believe, at first, that their new BSN degree will change the way they practice nursing. Yet several studies show that these nurses quickly found that education had unexpected benefits. The National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) recapped these studies in an article online:
- RNs reported transformative experiences when returning for their baccalaureate degree in nursing, which included raising their potentials, changing their perspectives about nursing practice, and being able to finally “see the big picture” (Delaney & Piscopo, 2004 & 2007; Hillsmith, 1978; Lillibridge & Fox, 2005; Rather, 1992; Rush, Waldrop, Mitchell, & Dyches, 2005).
- RNs reported noticing subtle changes in their perceptions which included changes in thinking, reasoning and questioning skills (Delaney & Piscopo, 2007; Leonard, 2003).
- Although RNs felt they returned to school as skilled, knowledgeable and professional practitioners, they reported growing beyond their expectations in areas of knowledge and professionalism, which they felt led them to become more effective change agents and patient advocates (Delaney & Piscopo, 2007; Leonard, 2003; Lillibridge & Fox, 2005; Rush, Waldrop, Mitchell, & Dyches, 2005; Zuzelo, 2001).
- Nurses also reported that they changed the way they practiced nursing and felt more like a nurse than ever before because of how differently they were thinking after earning a baccalaureate degree. These nurses felt returning to school for a BSN directly benefited their patients (Delaney & Piscopo, 2007).
Real-Life Examples of Nurses Who Made the Jump
Over the years, we’ve profiled many nurses who decided mid-career to enroll in an RN-to-BSN program at American Sentinel. And overwhelmingly, they’ve told us that they found the experience to be rewarding, stimulating, and truly advantageous. Here are a few of their stories:
- [programpush poi=”RNBSN”]Rhealee Churchman told us that her Community Health course made a significant impact not only on her, but on her patients as well. “We were supposed to take a problem in the community and see how we would fix it,” Rhealee says. She was aware that her hospital had unusually high numbers of patients who attempted suicide after their discharge, and she focused her project on finding out why. “They were getting no help post-care,” she says. “We’d get them well and send them home.” With Churchman’s influence, the hospital formulated new policies so that patients would be referred to case managers for follow-up care – a classic example of how nurses can advocate for patients!
- American Sentinel’s health care blog recently told the story of Donna Dvorak, an accomplished nurse who decided in middle-age that she was ready for a change. Keenly interested in the exciting field of clinical research, Donna was all set to advance her career, when she discovered her work experience alone wasn’t enough. She’d have to earn a bachelor of science in nursing to be considered for her dream job – which she did, through American Sentinel’s online RN-to-BSN program.
- Donna Lunsford credits her RN-to-BSN program with helping her move forward in evidence based nursing practice (EBNP). EBNP involves identifying solidly researched findings and implementing them in daily practice, in order to increase the quality of patient care. “It really does make a difference,” says Donna. “I was able to apply all of my classes to my work environment.” She also told us that online learning suited her well, from the responsiveness of her instructors to the ultra-flexible schedule. “The professors encourage you with positive affirmations—it’s very rewarding,” she says.
- From our point of view, Marjorie Fournier is a classic success story – we even profiled her in a blog post titled “Nurse Reaches Lifelong Goal, Finds Personal Fulfillment in BSN.” She caught our attention because she was using information gained from her coursework to make a positive impact in her workplace – and as a result was asked to interview for a position as nurse manager! Subsequently, Marjorie caught the attention of the editorial staff at Nurse.com, a thriving online nurse community. They wrote an article about her titled “Nurse Turns Key to Success with Degree” and it chronicles Marjorie’s amazing path from candy striper to nurse supervisor, along with her tips for staying motivated while pursuing an online degree.
Are you inspired yet? It may be time to leverage the industry push for the BSN to help you accomplish your own career and personal goals. American Sentinel invites you to download our BSN-Readiness Worksheet, to help you assess where you stand on the issue of going back to school.
You can also talk to one of American Sentinel’s friendly Success Advisors (call 1-866-922-5691 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out if a flexible, online RN-to-BSN program is right for you.