If you have already graduated from a nursing program and are working as a Registered Nurse (RN), it might not be readily apparent how beneficial a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is to healthcare professionals. However, here are five distinct advantages of completing an RN to BSN degree:
- Employers Value the Training
Over the past decade, the BSN degree has become the most in-demand level of education for nurses, likely because the degree's curriculum enables nurses to step into leadership roles, contribute to policy development and practice at the top of their scope — all crucial to managing the acute and chronic conditions of an older, more ethnically diverse population.
Employers overwhelmingly prefer BSN-prepared nurses. According to data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 41% of employers require new hires to have a BSN, and more than 82% express a strong preference for graduates of these programs. To maintain Magnet status, hospitals must hire nurses with a bachelor's degree as well. To meet Magnet eligibility requirements, 100% of a hospital's nurse managers and nurse leaders must have at least a BSN. Many entities prefer hiring staff who already have a BSN and then promoting from within.
- Greater Job Opportunities
A BSN has the potential to open more career opportunities for healthcare professionals, including leadership roles, internal promotions and travel nursing contracts. For example, based on 2020 data from AACN, 76% of new BSN graduates had a job offer at the time of graduation compared to just 58% of new college graduates across several other disciplines. Within four to six months of program completion, 94% of entry-level BSN graduates had found employment, while only 63% of other baccalaureate graduates had found some form of employment.
The AACN reports also found that institutional type, such as the size of the school or public versus private affiliation, had little bearing on the average rate of job offers — meaning professionals' education levels are a top priority for employers.
- Better Patient Outcomes
There is a growing body of evidence that BSN-prepared nurses lead to better patient outcomes. For example, according to an April 2018 issue of the International Journal of Nursing Studies, "higher levels of RN education were associated with lower risks of failure to rescue and mortality," reducing these events by as much as 75%. Another study published in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety found that nurses with a bachelor's degree "reported being significantly better prepared than associate degree RNs in 12 of 16" quality and safety topics.
RN to BSN curricula dig deeper into evidence-based practice and help nurses develop robust skillsets necessary to navigate the challenges of a modern healthcare system like critical thinking, informatics and management skills.
- Higher Salary
Nurses who complete a BSN program tend to earn more, too, when compared to their RN or Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) counterparts. For example, the average annual salary for a BSN-prepared nurse is nearly $87K, per PayScale data (July 2021), while nurses with an associate degree earn approximately $71K. Thus, over the course of a 30-year nursing career, BSN-prepared nurses can generate nearly $500K more in compensation.
- Career and Educational Advancement
A bachelor's degree is a steppingstone to career and educational advancement. With demand for nurse practitioners skyrocketing and expected to grow 52% by 2029, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many RNs may wish to pursue this or similar roles in the future. Completing a BSN now offers the tangible benefits listed above and sets the groundwork for entry into a master's or doctoral program.
Choosing the RN to BSN pathway has many advantages. Plus, with program formats that are accessible — even for working nurses with other life and family obligations — it's easier than ever to achieve your career goals.
Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington's online RN to BSN program.
International Journal of Nursing Studies: Associations Between Nurse Education and Experience and the Risk of Mortality and Adverse Events in Acute Care Hospitals: A Systematic Review of Observational Studies
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