For nurses looking for new opportunities or those who want to take their career to the next level, completing an RN to BSN online program can be an important step. Eligibility for more nursing positions, including nurse leadership roles, increased income and the opportunity to leave shift work behind — these advantages and more await those with a bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN).
7 Benefits of Earning a BSN
- BSN Programs Provide More Nursing Knowledge and Skills
BSN programs teach nurses knowledge and skills often not covered in diploma programs such as evidence-based practice, nursing leadership, community health nursing and communication skills. This knowledge and these skills apply to several nursing positions.
- Hospitals Seeking Magnet Designation Need Nurses with Advanced Nursing Education
Through the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers hospitals and other healthcare organizations the highly sought-after Magnet Recognition designation when they meet certain criteria. Magnet designation requires recognized nursing leadership within an organization that supports education to increase nurses' autonomy working directly with patients. All nursing leaders must have a BSN at minimum, including a designated chief nursing officer (CNO). The purpose of the designation is to identify hospitals that support nurses in their professional role, resulting in improved patient outcomes and nurses who are satisfied and feel supported.
- BSN-Prepared Nurses Earn More Income
Nurses with a BSN also earn a higher income than their diploma RN colleagues. According to PayScale (January 2020), BSN-prepared nurses earn an average yearly income of more than $85,000 compared to about $64,000 for RNs with a diploma. With BSN nurses earning more than $20,000/year on average than diploma RNs, and even more in nursing leadership positions such as a nurse manager or nursing director, nurses can view the potential salary boost as a great incentive to return to school.
- BSN Preparation Can Lead to Greater Professional Advancement
Although nurses with a diploma, Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and BSN preparation are all involved with direct patient care, options vary significantly depending on one's education level. Nurses who would like to specialize in specific disease processes or age groups exclusively or become a public health nurse, a nurse educator or a nurse manager need a BSN. The degree is also important for those who would like to pursue positions that do not involve bedside patient care or shift work.
- BSN-Prepared Nurses Are Eligible for More Nursing Positions
Advanced roles such as nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, nursing professor and nurse researcher require a BSN and MSN. Also, nurses who want to assume leadership roles in their organizations and within the profession require a BSN at minimum.
- BSN-Prepared Nurses Provide Better Patient Care
Research confirms that having a higher proportion of BSN-prepared nurses assigned to patient care results in significantly improved patient outcomes. Some of these outcomes are lower patient mortality rates, fewer pressure ulcers, lower rates of postoperative deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, fewer complications during admission, shorter hospital stays and fewer readmissions.
- A BSN May Be a Professional Requirement in the Future
An increasing number of public and private organizations call for nurses to have a BSN at a minimum due to the complexity of patient care today. This includes organizations such as the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP), the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Public Health Service, to name a few. Certain states also require nurses to complete a BSN. For example, in New York, nurses are required by law to "have or obtain" their BSN within 10 years of their initial licensure.
Having a BSN opens many doors of opportunity for nurses, particularly RNs with nursing experience. And with online programs, it is no longer necessary to travel to a school campus to complete your BSN. Programs such as the RN to BSN online make obtaining a bachelor's convenient for your busy schedule and affordable as well since you can keep working and earning while you complete your degree at a pace that works for you.
Learn more about University of North Carolina Wilmington's online RN to BSN program.
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