Regardless of when you graduated, keeping up with evolving nursing practices is essential and may be imperative to ensuring your career success. The nursing profession changes rapidly and demands continuing education to stay informed of current practices and issues in the field. 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 — the online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) degree.
Combatting Nursing Shortages With Accessible Education
In the age of innovative online education, nurses are furthering their education even while working full-time. These professionals know that shortages of nurses with advanced training exist across the country and the globe, limiting access to quality care in underserved areas.
The percentage of RNs with their BSN rose to above 70% in 2022, according to the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey — an excellent sign for increasing levels of education, skill and resulting improved patient outcomes in the field. Yet the survey reports that the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic saw “estimated losses to the [nursing] workforce of at least 200,000 experienced RNs and 60,000 experienced LPNs/LVNs.” Further, roughly 25% of all nurses surveyed plan to leave the profession over the next five years.
Clearly, this downward trend in the nursing supply can exacerbate preexisting nursing shortages, especially shortages of experienced nurses with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. RNs who want to address this shortage while advancing their career opportunities are taking steps now to complete their BSN degrees. Quality nursing programs like The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) online RN to BSN address this need by providing convenient access to affordable, advanced nursing education opportunities.
The Online RN to BSN Fits the Working Nurse Schedule
As nurses know, their profession is not typically a nine-to-five job. Nurses may put in a full-time shift on a weekend, work nights or be scheduled during other non-traditional and overtime shifts. In addition to nurses’ demanding work schedules, 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. Students can complete coursework when it works best for their schedule. Plus, many online programs — like UTA’s online RN to BSN program — carry the same accreditation as their on-campus counterparts and are taught by the same university professors, all at affordable tuition costs. Nursing program accreditation by recognized agencies like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is essential for increasing scholarship and loan opportunities, ensuring program quality and establishing the degree’s reputation and value for prospective employers.
Online RN to BSN Programs Teach Skills That Advance Careers and the Nursing Profession
Online courses teach up-to-date clinical and critical thinking skills that improve the quality and safety of patient care. As they can continue working while earning their degrees, nurses in online RN to BSN programs can apply what they learn to their current professional environments in real time. Additionally, these courses further develop communication, problem-solving and leadership skills. This knowledge enhances interactions with patients, peers and doctors.
According to various studies aggregated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), RNs with a BSN degree approach patients with innovative, current, evidence-based nursing techniques and theories, resulting in quantifiable improvements to patient care outcomes. Accordingly, AACN and other industry associations and regulatory bodies across the globe support the baccalaureate nursing degree being the minimum level of preparation for the nursing profession.
The bottom line is that education opens the doors of opportunity. You can put the knowledge gained from RN to BSN 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.
Learn more about UTA’s online RN to BSN program.