More and more nursing jobs require Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees as employers seek a highly educated nursing workforce. Nurses with BSN degrees have the skills and knowledge for many of the new opportunities available in healthcare. More education prepares nurses to meet the changing, complex healthcare needs of the aging U.S. population. Earning a BSN helps nurses develop the current expertise they need to overcome the challenges they will face as the healthcare system evolves.
More Nurses Seeking BSN Degrees
The healthcare employment marketplace is requiring BSNs more than ever before. In response, many RNs are seeking more education and enrolling in programs like Northeastern State University’s online Registered Nurse (RN) to BSN.
In 2008, only 49% of RNs had at least a BSN, as noted by the Campaign for Action. By 2022, that figure rose to an unprecedented 71.7%, according to findings of the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey. This increase in nurses earning BSN degrees occurred, in part, as a result of renewed employer commitments to hiring more BSN-educated nurses.
BSN programs teach courses in social science, critical thinking, leadership, communication and other areas. Nurses strengthen their clinical skills and acquire more training with help from mentors and instructors. Throughout the program, nurses grow professionally and challenge themselves as they learn.
BSN and Patient Outcomes
Hiring more nurses with BSN degrees improves patient outcomes and reduces mortality rates, according to recent research. For instance, a 2022 study published in Nursing Outlook found that higher percentages of nurses with BSNs on staff in hospitals “are associated with lower odds of 30-day inpatient surgical mortality.”
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) outlines numerous other studies that suggest fewer deaths, reduced risk of complications, improved health status and other benefits correlate with having more BSN-prepared nurses on staff. With many patients needing acute care, having more nursing education can become even more vital for clinical settings. BSN programs provide nurses with the practical and theoretical skills needed to provide better care to patients.
Since the data appears to support increased education for nurses, more and more employers are requiring candidates to have BSN degrees before applying for nursing positions or seeking advancement. AACN research from 2022 shows that nearly 28% of healthcare employers require newly hired nurses have at least a BSN degree, and 72% of employers strongly prefer BSN program graduates.
Some lawmakers are also pushing for increased BSN requirements, as with the state of New York’s “BSN in 10” law, requiring new nurses to obtain a BSN within the first 10 years of practice. New Jersey is considering a similar bill.
Nursing Jobs Requiring a BSN
Many nursing positions, such as leadership and educational roles, typically require additional education. These nurses have added responsibilities in addition to, or instead of, providing direct patient care. Nurses in leadership may manage nursing units or entire departments. Others can serve in administrative positions.
Nurses who want to teach at nursing colleges or become mentors to other nurses might also need education beyond the bachelor’s level. BSN degrees are becoming the basic qualification and starting point for nurses who plan to advance their careers as leaders, administrators and instructors.
Further, the Veterans Administration (VA) — the biggest employer of RNs in the U.S. — and other government agencies and branches of the military now require BSN degrees for certain nursing positions and programs. Magnet hospitals must also require all nurse managers and leaders to hold a BSN degree or higher.
BSNs Help Nurses Advance Their Careers
Earning a BSN degree can help you advance your career. Completing a bachelor’s program demonstrates commitment, skill and knowledge. The BSN degree helps nurses provide better patient care, so finishing this coursework can help nurses move into higher-paying positions with more professional responsibility. This degree can create more possibilities for nurses and help them offer better patient care.
Since research and clinical evidence support the idea that BSN nurses provide better care, more employers now require this degree for entry-level hires, and most RNs now have at least a bachelor’s. A BSN is increasingly valuable and even necessary for nurses looking to advance their careers in any healthcare setting. At the bachelor’s level, accredited nursing programs teach advanced skills in leadership, research, communication, patient care and other areas. A BSN can make a difference for your career and help you get ahead as a nurse.
Learn more about Northeastern State University’s online RN to BSN program.