With the rapid evolution of healthcare changes comes increased demand for the most credentialed and experienced nurses to fill current and growing patient demand. Because of this, many hospitals are requiring registered nurses with an associate’s degree to attain a RN to BSN degree. For nurses considering an advanced credential, whether mandated or not, now is a great time for securing additional skills and training.
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine introduced new demands on the nursing field when it set a target goal for 80% of all nurses to hold bachelor’s degrees by 2020. This goal was rooted in academic research indicating that patients receive better care in hospitals when the majority of nurses have higher-level academic degrees.
To help meet this demand, many hospitals continue to offer tuition reimbursement programs for nurses seeking higher education. In addition, the investment in a well-prepared nursing staff means that more hospitals can be eligible for the Magnet status recognition, which attracts more patients, as well as top nursing candidates.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) devised the Magnet Recognition Program to draw attention to top healthcare facilities. This recognition means that 100% of the organization’s nurse managers have a BSN or graduate degree. Achieving Magnet status also means that there are generally a higher number of nurses holding a BSN degree for jobs in direct patient care. Approximately 50% of all nurses associated with direct patient care in a Magnet-recognized hospital currently have a BSN. Generally, these healthcare organizations also provide incentives for nurses to continue their educations, so competition for jobs in these facilities is typically greater, as are opportunities for career advancement.
Increased professional development means increased proficiency in direct patient care, as well as more successful outcomes for patients. Investing in BSN education means that an organization’s nurses are kept more up-to-date with the rapid evolution of newer technologies that are becoming more commonplace in hospital settings.
Registered nurses typically achieve their credentials by way of one of these paths:
No matter which educational path a professional chooses, the time may be shortened with online work. Graduates of any of the three programs sit for the same NCLEX-RN licensing examination.
Baccalaureate nursing programs (BSN) cover all of the coursework taught in associate degree and diploma programs. The distinction is that there is a more in-depth inclusion of the physical and social sciences. Additionally, public and community health, nursing research and nursing management is also included to a greater extent.
The additional coursework offered in a BSN program helps build well-rounded problem-solving skills and also serves to support a wider-range of future professional development plans. Further, the BSN can provide a stronger foundation for a wider scope of nursing practice and a solid foundation for developing future specialties.
Lastly, a more encompassing education provides the nurse with a richer understanding of the social, cultural, political and economic aspects that impact patients and influence health care systems services. Achieving higher educational goals not only serves patients more effectively, it also prepares nurses to be leaders in their profession and to participate not only in direct patient care, but also in policy and governance as a career unfolds.