An RN who has either a diploma of nursing or an associate’s degree has many solid job opportunities in the booming nursing field. But for nurses who want the very best career prospects, it is important to eventually earn your bachelor of science in nursing (BSN).
Why earn your BSN? The most significant reason of course is the pay. As a BSN holder, you will make more money: a median annual wage of $67,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the other hand, median LPN salaries are approximately $35,000-$45,000 per year.
Why Else You Should Do RN to BSN Degree Transition
Many professionals who have their RN diploma or associate’s degree eventually choose to earn their bachelor’s degree. Money is not the only factor: Research has proven that nurses with a BSN have a better education and are better nurses.
These facts have been confirmed by two of the most respected bodies in nursing: the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (ACEN), and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
These elite nursing organizations have found that RN holders should earn their BSN because they will provide a better standard of care. BSN holders also have a better understanding of specialized nursing skills and have a better grasp of serious public health problems. Hiring indicators also point to the fact that the majority of healthcare providers want their nurse employees to earn a BSN.
More evidence: Many executives in the nursing field have stated that they prefer most of their nurses to have a bachelor’s degree so that they can offer better care. Many job advertisements for nursing jobs often say that a bachelor’s degree in nursing is preferred or required.
Also consider these facts:
- Healthcare providers prefer better educated nurses with a bachelor’s or master’s degree so they can provide more effective acute and primary care. Nurses with a better education also may provide more services, which is more cost effective for the hospital: health promotion, disease prevention and case management.
- 43% of hospitals and healthcare providers want their nurses to have a BSN.
- Demand for BSN degree holders is very strong in some of the most interesting specialties: critical care, operating room, labor and delivery, neonatal etc.
- The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report in 2014 that stated that a minimum of 80% of nurses in the US should have a BSN by 2020. In 2014, 49% of all nurses had earned their bachelor’s degree.
BSN Possess a Superior Medical Education
Nurses with a diploma or an associate’s degree do some of the same jobs as full RNs, but RNs with a bachelor’s degree have more expansive skills and knowledge to do better patient assessments of health problems and major illnesses. Bachelor’s degree holders have a better grasp of quality practices, effective health interventions and medical safety practices.
BSN holders also have a complete education in these classes:
- Nursing theory
- Nursing fundamentals
- Anatomy and physiology
- Mental health
Remember that having a complete nursing education will always make you more employable and less easy to lay off.
Transition To An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
Obtaining your BSN degree allows you to eventually earn your master’s degree and join the ranks of advanced practice registered nurses or APRNs. These are the most respected and highest paid nurses in the country. Getting your BSN will get you closer to becoming a:
- Nurse practitioner
- Certified nurse midwife
- Certified nurse anesthetist
- Clinical nurse specialist
- Nurse educator/administrator
For nurses who want the highest salary, most complex duties and greatest degree of respect, becoming an advanced practice nurse is the best path. The way to do so is to first get your bachelor’s degree.
Specialize in Fascinating Nursing Fields
Being a nurse with a diploma or associate’s degree is fine, but rather limiting. You can never ascend beyond basic nursing duties. With a BSN, many exciting specialties are open to you:
- Ambulatory care
- Cardiac nursing
- Case management
- Critical care
- ER and trauma care
- Wound care
- Mental health
Licensing and Certification for RN to BSN Transition
You may have already passed your NCLEX-PN examination. If you earn your BSN, you then have to pass the NCLEX-RN examination.
If you decide to eventually specialize in one of the above subspecialties, you then will need to obtain a professional certification in that specialized area.
Online RN to BSN Options Available
Earning your BSN degree has never been easier than today. Gone are the days where you must attend a distant college campus to get your degree. You may be able to get your bachelor’s degree by taking classes online.
One good online option for your BSN degree is Western Governor’s University. It features an innovative, online RN to BSN degree transition. Further, you have the option of transferring as many as 90 hours of credit from your last nursing education. You may be able to complete your online BSN degree in a mere 18 months.
All accredited BSN programs online require you to complete clinical rotations as well. You may complete these duties in your local area, possibly for your current employer.
Common courses you need to take to earn your BSN include:
- Anatomy and Physiology 1
- Clinical Microbiology
- Introduction to Psychology
- Human Growth and Development Across Lifespan
- Introduction to Sociology
- College Algebra
- Health Assessment
- Community Health
- Applied Nursing Research
Interested in another online nursing degree option? Consider the excellent RN to BSN program at Arizona State University. This is one of the top online nursing schools in the country and may be completed in 15-18 months, if you have a background in nursing and a current RN designation.
ASU allows you to transfer as many as 64 credits from a community college. Core courses are:
- Professional Nursing Theory
- Art of Nursing
- Nursing Research and Application
- Innovation in Nursing
- Nursing Management in Health Care
- Public and Global Health in Nursing
- Writing for Health Care Management
If you are planning to earn your BSN degree online, check that the program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. With this accreditation, you may be certain that the program will be viewed highly by all future healthcare employers. We recommend that you consult the CCNE website to see if the program you are considering for your RN to BSN degree is accredited.
Overall, getting your bachelor’s in nursing is the correct course for the vast majority of nurses. The BSN means more money, better job security, and more rewarding, specialized nursing work. We advise you to read more on this website about the many BSN degree programs available.