RNs with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) are qualified in patient care. They often work side by side in hospitals and other healthcare settings, and a patient may never know the difference. BSN nurses do have a distinct advantage, however. Although an ADN degree has long been standard for the profession, BSN nurses are more in demand.
More than 86 percent of healthcare employers surveyed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in 2017 said they preferred BSN nurses. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation research also confirms that nursing graduates with a BSN are in high demand. Perhaps this is why new BSN grads now outnumber new grads from ADN programs.
If you are thinking about a BSN degree, there are many good reasons to consider it. Aside from employer preference, you may need the BSN to move into a management role. You may want a BSN to get into new areas of the healthcare industry as it expands. Online programs such as Northeastern State University's RN to BSN program are making it easier for working nurses to achieve their career goals.
What Is an RN to BSN program?
RN to BSN is the fast-track equivalent to a traditional college or university nursing program.
It is designed for nurses with an ADN who want to complete a bachelor's degree. This type of program is great for working nurses who need flexibility in order to study and take care of personal responsibilities. Its biggest advantage is that students can move through coursework at a pace that works for them.
Students can finish two years of additional classes required for the BSN in one year, or even a matter of months. Each nursing degree plan will vary based on the type and number of hours the student completed for the ADN. In addition to nursing courses, students will complete whatever courses they need to meet bachelor's degree requirements. Courses may range from chemistry, biology and anatomy to writing, humanities, psychology or the arts.
Why Do Employers Prefer the BSN?
BSN-trained nurses help hospitals, doctors and other healthcare providers cut costs and improve patient outcomes. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative found that even a 10 percent increase in BSN nurses can lead to lower hospital patient mortality rates. Hospitals with BSN-educated nurses providing 80 percent of patient care also have shorter patient stays and lower re-admission rates. The extra salary cost of BSN nurses is offset by significant savings in patient care costs.
A high percentage of BSN nurses can also lead to more quality-of-care awards and certifications. This is a requirement of the Magnet Recognition Program, a designation for outstanding healthcare facilities from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Is an RN to BSN Program Right for Me?
If you are thinking about getting your BSN, consider factors such as program cost, scheduling, time needed to complete the degree, and employer requirements. Benefits to earning your BSN can include increased pay and career advancement.
An RN to BSN program could be ideal if:
- You are required to complete a BSN as part of your employment agreement.
- You need a BSN to expand your employment options.
- Your employer offers a tuition program that will cover the cost.
- You need a flexible education option that allows you to work while completing a degree.
- You are ready to move into management at your current job, or planning to become a nurse manager at some point in your career.
- You want to move into a specialized area of nursing that requires the BSN.
- You hope to pursue a graduate degree in nursing in the future.
- You are interested in a career as a military nurse (the BSN is the minimum standard for RNs working for the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force).
While there are many ways to earn a bachelor's degree these days, the needs of nurses differ from those of other students. RN to BSN programs are designed to make nursing education faster, easier and more efficient for working professionals.
Learn more about the Northeastern State University online RN to BSN program.
Sources:American Association of Colleges of Nursing: The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice
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