Nursing is a unique field that allows those interested in pursuing a career in it to have several options that lead to the same results, a license as a Registered Nurse. It might be true that having only an Associates Degree (AND) will allow you to sit for your boards, more nurses than ever are pursuing their bachelor’s degree (BSN). In fact, according to a study by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 56 percent of RNs have earned a BSN or higher.
The word of education has gotten the message, with a dramatic increase in institutions that offer RN to BSN Programs. This is important since the field has already been under pressure to increase its nursing programs to fill the nurses’ critical shortage. The primary reason this is happening to the field is explained in the five points that follow.
BSNs Give Nurses More Job Opportunities
The growing field and the current shortage of nurses have already caused many opportunities for nurses to advance in their careers, but new doors open for those who have BSN degrees. Other closely related fields that offer futures for nurses include hospice care, case management, infection prevention, clinical studies, and many more. For ADNs, these opportunities are very limited.
Pay Increases Often Accompany a BSN
Depending on the organization that recruits a nurse with a BSN, the pay could be considerably more than one with only an ADN. Even if the additional pay isn’t a lot, it could significantly increase throughout a career.
Along with the increases in pay that accompany earning a BSN degree come the opportunities to move up the ladder from the front lines of nursing to management roles. A BSN degree is often the first stepping stone to making an individual stand out from the crowd when applying for these coveted positions.
Tuition Assistance Offered
Just as in the case above, depending on the organization, a nurse who decides to pursue a BSN could be entitled to tuition assistance. Even if this assistance is dependent on a promise to serve a specified period with that organization, this factor is a no-brainer. Some organizations also pay for textbooks and lab fees.
Enhanced Reputation of the Profession
This might seem like no big deal, but the nursing profession has struggled to enhance its reputation for years. As the medical field has grown and become more complicated, having a nursing staff that increases its professional requirements by having an entry-level of a BSN degree can only help. But a better reputation can only be enhanced by practitioners who give a higher level of care, which is exactly what BSN-educated nurses can provide.
According to a study done by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, BSN-educated nurses have lower mortality rates, lower rates of “failure to rescue,” and higher proficiency in making accurate diagnoses than nurses with only ADN degrees.
The Next Step: Mandatory
Nursing is a stressful job that is only made more stressful when pursuing a degree while working, but the fact is that many organizations are now requiring that nurses have a BSN degree for entry. This puts the onus on ADNs to earn their BSN degree.
Today’s nursing education programs teach candidates to provide good clinical care. Still, with a BSN degree, nurses are allowed to be exposed to a curriculum that stresses many other areas. These include leadership, critical thinking, and communications, and many others.