Nurses today know about the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 call to action for 80% of nurses to hold at least a BSN degree by the year 2020. With growing research proving that BSN graduates are better prepared than ADN graduates to analyze data, understand evidence-based practice, promote patient safety and achieve better patient outcomes (per the American Association of Colleges of Nursing), it is clear that this investment in oneself is worthwhile for any and all nurses.
Potential to Earn a Higher Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, the median annual wage of Registered Nurses (which includes Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) is $73,300.
So, without a doubt, this is a field with plenty of career advancement potential. But there is a difference in earning potential between nurses who hold associate degrees and those who hold bachelor’s degrees. Payscale reports the average salary of ADN-educated nurses to be $70,019, while that average jumps to $85,734 for BSN-educated nurses.
More education, higher earning potential. The evidence is clear.
Job Opportunities Beyond the Bedside
Earning the BSN is one of the best ways to expand your career options beyond the bedside. And even if working with patients is your preference, the reality is that increasingly, hospitals prefer that nurses hold BSN degrees. With a BSN, you can specialize in areas such as medical/surgical, pediatrics, intensive care unit, obstetrics/gynecology and hospice.
With a BSN, you’re much better equipped to have the option to work in areas such as:
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Nurse management
- Nurse education (LPN and ADN programs)
- Quality assurance
- Case management
Bottom line: the BSN can open many doors in your career and is the minimum for a growing number of nursing positions. And if you have aspirations for upper management or leadership, you’ll need the BSN to continue advancing in your career.
Improved Patient Outcomes
One big reason for the push for more educated nurses is the higher association with better patient outcomes. According to various studies shared by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
- Hospitals with larger numbers of BSN-prepared nurses have lower patient mortality rates.
- Patients treated by BSN-prepared nurses had shorter hospital stays.
- Patients treated by BSN-prepared nurses had lower healthcare costs.
It’s clear: there are many benefits of BSN-prepared nurses. With more education comes more knowledge to provide the best patient care possible in a variety of settings.
As mentioned, a lot has changed in healthcare in the last 10 years with the Institute of Medicine’s push to encourage nurses to earn bachelor’s degrees. In fact, some states are even making laws about earning the BSN, such as New York, which passed the “BSN in 10” law in 2017. This law requires RNs to have obtained at least a BSN degree within 10 years of their initial licensure to continue practicing.
Many hospital systems strive to earn Magnet status, which requires them to provide proof that they will increase their own BSN workforce.
The advantages of a BSN in nursing are many. With a BSN, you can feel more assured knowing that a lack of education credential will never hold you back from advancing in your career. Holding this degree means you hold the minimum educational requirement of many healthcare organizations around the country and can move from state to state, system to system, confident in your ability to qualify for jobs.
Improve Your Nursing Skills
According to nursejournal.org, ADN programs focus on nursing concepts and clinical practice whereas the BSN includes a comprehensive nursing curriculum that delves into nursing skills and theory, including courses on public health, ethics and pharmacology.
With today’s healthcare system becoming increasingly complex, BSN nurses are better prepared to deliver high-quality patient care in a variety of areas, from mental health to critical care to outpatient care. BSN nurses learn to think critically and navigate an ever-changing landscape with continually evolving patient care needs.
A Rewarding Career
You already know that nursing is an excellent career with seemingly endless options. You can specialize in a particular area such as obstetrics, labor and delivery or pediatrics. You could work in different settings like home health, private practice or the hospital. You could spend your entire career at the bedside helping patients if that’s your passion, or you could move into nursing education or leadership within a hospital system.
The BSN will help you get wherever you want to go and is an excellent “springboard” to many other options. If you hold an ADN and are ready to get started, contact American Sentinel to learn more about our RN to BSN programs, which offer flexibility and choice. Discover the traditional term-based RN to BSN program or our RN to BSN Powered by SIMPath®, in which students can complete three courses per semester.
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