How BSN-Prepared Nurses in Oklahoma Can Address the State Shortage and Elevate Their Careers

The United States has been riddled with a nursing shortage in recent years. A recent study released by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing reveals that approximately 100,000 registered nurses (RNs) left the workforce between 2020 and 2022 due to stress, burnout and retirement. Findings also report that another 610,388 intend to leave by the year 2027.

Oklahoma is no exception to this trend. The state faces a critical shortage of RNs, impacting its citizens and healthcare workers. Luckily, the nursing shortage in Oklahoma presents both a challenge and an opportunity for current and future nursing professionals.

How Severe Is the Nursing Shortage in Oklahoma?

According to the American Immigration Council, RNs were the top in-demand healthcare role in the state between 2017 and 2021. Various factors drive this increasing demand, including population growth, the aging of the nation’s population, changes in healthcare reimbursement and expanded health insurance coverage.

One specific challenge in Oklahoma is the need for bilingual nursing staff. The council’s report noted that between 2017 and 2021, the number of job postings requiring bilingual competency in the healthcare realm saw an increase of 809.1%.

Study authors state, “As employers struggle to recruit and retain specialized healthcare workers, immigrants play a crucial role in helping to address labor shortages. With an increase in demand for multilingual and culturally competent employees, internationally trained healthcare professionals are uniquely positioned to provide support across all healthcare settings.”

While RNs with an associate’s degree (ADN) may be able to close some of the gap, an increasing number of healthcare institutions prefer to hire nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

ADN vs. BSN: Why Pursue a Bachelor Degree?

It is possible to work as a nurse with an ADN. However, obtaining a BSN degree offers significant advantages. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that in 2021, 96% of BSN graduates found job placements within four to six months of graduation. This statistic highlights the growing preference for BSN-prepared nurses in the healthcare industry.

A BSN degree offers more than just increased job opportunities. It sets nurses up for a wider range of roles within the healthcare sector, including leadership and specialized positions. Indeed notes that BSN-prepared nurses have more advanced skills, greater advancement opportunities, higher salary potential and increased expertise compared to their ADN counterparts. For example, BSN-prepared nurses are more likely to hold supervisory roles and impact patient outcomes.

This difference between ADN and BSN degrees may seem subtle, but it has significant implications for career advancement and the quality of patient care.

How Much Do Nurses Make in Oklahoma?

In terms of salary, BSN-prepared nurses in Oklahoma have the opportunity for competitive compensation compared to ADN-prepared nurses. According to Trusted Health, the average annual salary for nurses in Oklahoma is $62,170, but this number varies based on experience, location and specialty. Normal Nurse Life shares findings from Indeed that ADN-prepared nurses earn an average annual salary of 53,760, while BSN-prepared nurses earn $87,129.

Some nurses command a higher salary than others. For example, travel nurses often receive extra bonuses — financial and otherwise. Those who pursue different specialties — such as emergency room (ER) nurse, operating room (OR) nurse and intensive care unit (ICU) nurse — typically earn a more lucrative salary based on their expertise.

Addressing the Shortage: Northeastern State University’s Online RN to BSN Program

Northeastern State University’s online RN to BSN Degree program is ideally positioned to help address Oklahoma’s nursing shortage. This program offers a flexible and accessible pathway for ADN-prepared nurses to advance their education and careers. Graduates of this program can play a pivotal role in meeting the state’s healthcare needs, especially in areas affected by the shortage of healthcare professionals.

This program offers six start dates throughout the year and affordable tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students. The online format provides further flexibility for nursing students already working in the nursing field. Students can complete coursework in as few as 10 months, depending on each nurse’s desired timeline and educational background.

Will You Help Shape the Future of Healthcare in Oklahoma?

For nurses aspiring to elevate their careers, pursuing a BSN degree is a strategic step. This degree opens doors to better job prospects and higher salaries and positions nurses to play a crucial role in shaping the future of healthcare in Oklahoma.

With their advanced education and skills, BSN-prepared nurses are essential in addressing the state’s healthcare needs, ensuring quality patient care and leading the nursing profession into the future.

Learn more about Northeastern State University’s online RN to BSN Degree program.

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