Regardless of when you graduated, staying current and informed about evolving nursing practices is essential and may be imperative to safeguarding your job. The nursing field changes rapidly every year and demands continuing education to stay informed of current practices. For many working nurses, however, leaving jobs to enroll in an on-campus degree program is not feasible so many are choosing a great alternative–Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees obtained online.
In the age of innovative online education, nurses are furthering their education even while they are working full-time. These nurses know that there are shortages in their field, namely nurses with bachelor and master degrees (read more about new recommendations to increase the number of BSNs in the U.S. by 2020) and are taking steps now to complete their BSN degrees.
As nurses know, their profession does not typically exist within 9-5 working hours. Nurses may put in a full-time shift on a weekend, where others work nights or during other non-traditional shifts. In addition to nurses’ demanding shifts, many have family and household responsibilities and participate in many different roles in their community. These obligations can make on-campus programs difficult to attend, whereas online programs allow the classroom to be anywhere the student is and coursework can be completed when it works best for an individual’s schedule. Most importantly, some online programs, like University of Texas At Arlington’s RN to BSN program, carry the same accreditation as their on-campus programs and are taught by university professors, all at tuition costs that are less expensive.
Online courses teach up-to-date critical and clinical thinking skills that improve the quality and safety of patient care and nurses are able to apply this new learning to their current work environments. Additionally, these courses further develop communication, problem solving and leadership skills. This knowledge not only enhances interactions with patients but peers and doctors as well.
According to The Future of Nursing report, RNs with a BSN degree tend to approach patients with innovative nursing techniques and theories that may help them improve patient outcomes by 9 fewer deaths per 1,000 discharged patients compared to RNs holding an associate degree or diploma. Additionally, a Journal of Nursing Administration survey of Chief Nursing Officers found a 71% preference for Bachelor degree RNs with CNOs reporting that BSN nurses had significant leadership and critical thinking abilities compared to associate level RNs.
The bottom line is that education opens the doors of opportunity. You can put the knowledge gained from coursework immediately into action. And you may feel a new sense of esteem or find that you can communicate with doctors and patients more confidently. In the long run, a BSN degree may better your career and boost your salary.
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.