Top 5 Reasons to Get Your BSN
Mar 20, 2015 | 11:00 am
With several roads leading to RN status, some nurses wonder if they should get a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Despite the time commitment required, clear benefits do exist: a nursing BSN is becoming more encouraged by employers and the nursing community in general. Read on to find out the top reasons to get your BSN.
Hiring Trend: Employers Want Nurses with a BSN
Surveys show that employers have a preference for hiring new nurses with a bachelor’s degree. This affects undergrad nurses and career changers alike, and as a result, accelerated BSN nursing programs are popping up all over the nation to help second-degree students catch up on credits and enter the field quickly.
Not only are more new nurses heading straight into BSN programs, but employer preferences have more nurses going back to school for a BSN, notes the 2012 New York Times article, “More Stringent Requirements Send Nurses back to School” by Richard Pérez-Peña.
Well Trained: Better Patient Outcomes
The latest nursing research links better patient health-related outcomes with nurses who have higher levels of education. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a growing body of evidence suggests that BSN nurses contribute to their patients’ well-being in the following ways:
•Offer a safer practice environment
•Experience lower rates of patient mortality
•Feel better prepared in in today’s evolving healthcare field
Industry Standard: Nursing Calls for Higher Degrees
In 2010 the Institute of Medicine called for 80 percent of nurses to hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020. Along with employer preferences and better patient outcomes, industry standards are creating a sense of urgency for nurses to earn a BSN or higher.
Some schools are even replacing diploma programs and associate programs in nursing with BSN programs. Penn State College of Nursing is ending its associate degree program, noting on their website that the College of Nursing supports the national movement toward the baccalaureate degrees for entry-level nurses, adding that it also encourages associate degree graduates to pursue a baccalaureate degree or higher.
Advancement: BSN Nurses Have More Opportunities
In nursing, BSN holders often have more job opportunities, notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since a bachelor’s degree or higher is needed for certain types of positions, including research, consulting and teaching. Plus, the degree serves as a stepping stone toward getting the next higher degree, such as the Master of Science in Nursing. This helps open the door to advanced practice positions, such as Nurse Practitioner.
Personal Reward: Knowledge and Pride
Along with the many professional reasons to earn a BSN in nursing, personal growth can drive nurses to earn a higher degree. It can enhance their current job and keep them marketable should they decide to change careers. And, the trend seems to be catching: The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has recorded a 2.6 percent enrollment increase in BSN programs in 2013. This number is only anticipated to rise in 2014.