As healthcare becomes more technical and specialized, hospitals in the U.S. are increasingly requiring both incoming and current nurses to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Subsequently, more RNs are taking advantage of opportunities to return to school and complete their BSN degrees through specialized RN to BSN online programs.
The BSN is an undergraduate degree program designed to give RNs a foundation in formal education and specialized skills for today’s healthcare environment. In addition, the BSN can give RNs the qualifications to seek advanced nurse specialty or leadership positions.
In a competitive job market, a BSN degree provides nurses with the confidence and credentials they need to compete for the best positions. In addition, it provides greater job security, as more healthcare providers are requiring registered nurses to have BSN degrees to keep their current positions.
Additional benefits of a BSN degree include:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were over 2.7 million registered nurses in the U.S., as of May 2015. Well-qualified, well-educated nurses are in great demand across the nation, and the BLS predicts that employment for nurses will increase 16% by 2024. Registered nurses with at least a BSN are expected to have the best opportunities.
In response to a survey conducted in August 2012 by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 39.1% of hospitals and other healthcare providers require new-hires to have BSN degrees. In addition, over 77% of employers expressed "a strong preference” for graduates of BSN programs.
It’s clear that employers are planning for the future of healthcare. Career-minded nurses are doing the same by weighing their options and enrolling in RN to BSN programs to earn their BSN degree.
Along with traditional attributes such as excellent patient communication and evaluation skills, organization and attention to detail, today’s professional nurses must increasingly possess strong critical thinking, management and leadership skills as well.
RN to BSN degree completion programs are designed to provide a foundational knowledge in nursing science, research, advanced patient care and leadership. Graduates will not only gain the skills to manage complex nursing care situations, but the ability to take advantage of more career advancement opportunities.
Healthcare has changed since the nursing profession developed its traditional, hospital-based education programs. Nurses have moved from fulfilling the role of caregiver to being integral members of the healthcare team, as clinical caregivers, educators and care coordinators. At the same time, changes in the way healthcare is delivered have spurred demand for nurses with skills in planning, delegating and integrating treatment across multiple settings. BSN programs prepare nurses to step into these expanded roles, as well as management positions.
As a way to enhance the quality of patient care, requiring BSN degrees for all professional nurses is becoming a national priority. Within the industry, a movement has grown to establish the BSN degree as the entry-level qualification for nursing. Many hospitals are requiring nurses to have BSN degrees for their professional nursing staff. Others have established policies that BSN holders receive preference in hiring.
Prospective nursing students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual salary potential, job growth rates and availability, which vary according to location, education and experience.