There are many options when it comes to nursing education. Today, you can earn an RN, BSN, or RN to BSN degree. But which degree best meets your career goals? Which will help you become the nurse you aspire to be?
By now, you may have heard that earning a BSN degree is the way to go if you want to get the most out of your nursing education. You may have heard that it will make you a better nurse or that organizations will only hire you if you have a BSN. Simply put, these claims are not one-hundred percent true. As a leading nursing school in Connecticut, we have seen BSN and RN graduates thrive as successful nurses. As you begin the steps towards your medical career, know that the most important factor in this decision will be finding the program that makes the most sense for you.
Of course, you will have questions along the way. To learn what BSN nursing programs will in fact offer you, read six must-know answers to these six valuable questions:
- Who is enrolling in BSN nursing programs?
Registered nurses of all backgrounds, of all specialties, all over the country are enrolling in BSN programs. They are finding that holding a BSN degree can often lead to a higher salary, greater job opportunities, and additional experience in the nursing field.
Many nurses today are choosing to bridge their RN degree with a BSN education through an RN to BSN program. RN-to-BSN programs have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering streamlined routes to the traditional four-year degree. According to the AACN, enrollments into these programs have climbed each consecutive year for more than a decade now, with a notable 22 percent leap between 2011 and 2012.
- Who exclusively hires BSN graduates?
BSN degrees are progressively becoming a standard in medical institutions nationwide. In fact, many states such as Connecticut are advancing towards an 80 percent BSN workforce by the year 2020. Some states are also considering adopting “BSN in 10” programs, a proposed state-to-state initiative that would require registered nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree within ten years of completing their RN.
Some organizations already require their employed nurses to have a baccalaureate education. If you dream of becoming a nurse for the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Veterans Administration, or U.S. Public Health Service, you will need a degree from an accredited BSN program.
- How will a BSN degree improve my job prospects?
“Unlike graduates of diploma or associate-degree nursing programs, the nurse with a baccalaureate degree is prepared to practice in all healthcare settings,” wrote the American Association of College Nurses in a publication on BSN programs.
While high salaries and professional benefits are clear advantages for BSN grads, the biggest takeaway from a BSN program is professional advancement. Nurses with a BSN degree are leaders in the field of nursing, and often encounter the greatest job opportunities. They are suited for managerial positions in medical practices as clinical nurse managers, anesthesiologists, or department chiefs. They are also able to move beyond the hospital to primary and preventive care within the community, in patients’ private homes, outpatient centers, and neighborhood clinics.
- How will a BSN nursing program improve my quality of care/help my patients?
As the aging baby boomer population demands medical care, recent healthcare reform initiatives are demanding a higher level of academic preparation among their nurses. As you choose between an RN or BSN nursing degree, you may be wondering how much an academic program can affect your ability to care for patients—and the quality of that care.
Studies have shown there is, in fact, a correlation between a BSN degree and an elevated preparedness in those nurses. For example, the Institute of Medicine reported that a having Bachelor’s degree can lead to more successful outcomes and a decrease in patient falls, pressure ulcers, and hospital-acquired infections. Of course, this is not to say that nurses with an RN degree are not capable of providing high-quality care. This simply shows that those attending BSN programs obtain a deeper course of study and a wider range of competencies relating to patient care. For this reason, they may be better suited for leadership nursing positions.
- Can I continue to work as a nurse and complete my BSN program?
Of course you can! RN to BSN programs are specifically designed for those nurses who are already working in the field or transitioning from their Associate’s program. At Goodwin, you can earn your RN to BSN degree in as little as 16 months. You can attend the program online or in hybrid format. This type of flexibility is a major advantage of RN to BSN courses.
- How long are BSN programs?
BSN nursing programs can vary in length. Traditionally, the majority of college BSN programs took a full four years to complete. While this still holds true, many schools today offer accelerated BSN degree programs, which are offered partially or fully online, take fewer than two years to complete. For nurses who have already earned their RN degree, an RN to BSN nursing program will allow you to complete your Bachelor’s in approximately 120 credit hours.
Are you interested in learning more about Goodwin College’s RN to BSN Program in CT? Contact us today at 800-889-3282 or check out all of our nursing programs to see why we’re a leader in healthcare education in CT!