If you are a working nurse with an associate degree, you may be wondering why you should consider obtaining your bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). To be sure, it takes time, and additional money, to advance your nursing education in this manner. As a working nurse, the prospect of devoting still more of your energy to intensive studies can seem daunting. But the benefits of doing so are numerous.
Perhaps the most compelling reason of all has to do with the projected future of the nursing profession. According to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2011 report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” within the next three years, the great majority of working nurses will be nurses with a BSN. Among other recommendations, the report states: “Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.”
There is no question that nurses with more advanced education are more employable. More jobs, in more locations, with more types of responsibilities, will typically open up to you after you complete an RN to BSN program. Healthcare is always evolving, and the profession needs nurses who can not only keep up but who help catalyze change for the better. Given that, according to the IOM, 80% of working nurses are expected to have their BSN by 2020, it is more important than ever for nurses to keep up with the changes in their profession.
So you think you may be a natural leader? Excellent. The profession needs and rewards nurses with your skills. But you will need to earn your BSN first, as nurse leaders must model the highest standards of knowledge, skill, and experience. Of course, leaders are highly employable, and promotable.
To be the best nurse you can be, it is crucial that you enroll in a BSN program. You will delve deeper into subjects related to holistic healthcare, and learn new skills. You will also dramatically enhance your earning potential, as healthcare institutions tend to pay significantly more for better-qualified nurses. Earning your BSN reassures potential employers that you are dedicated, determined, knowledgeable, and capable.
No matter what direction your career goes, you will need to secure your baccalaureate degree before obtaining any still-more-advanced degrees. Many specialties now require a Masters level education (MSN). To get there, you will need to get your BSN first; it is invariably a prerequisite of acceptance to an MSN program. Additionally, by earning your BSN, you will have opened the door to other, less obvious career opportunities. Non-clinical jobs, such as Informatics Nurse, which are viewed by many as the wave of the future, are only open to nurses with a BSN or higher degree, for example.
As a working RN, scheduling is obviously one of the biggest impediments to your ability to pursue an RN to BSN degree. But today’s online BSN programs offer the scheduling flexibility nurses need to keep earning income while also working towards the betterment of their careers. Online schools allow you to study, file reports, take tests and attend lectures—all on your own schedule. It makes furthering one’s education far simpler and more accessible than ever before. With no commuting involved, and the ability to study when or where you choose, you will be able to fit in multiple demands on your time and attention from family, work, and education.