Ambitious RNs take your pick! There are many options within the field of nursing, starting with the several different routes you can take with your education and towards a successful career. Today, the standard requirement for registered nurses is an associate degree in nursing (ADN). Increasingly, however, more and more nurses are looking towards a BSN degree to round out their education. And, more and more employers are preferring to hire (and promote) nurses with a BSN under their belts.
You may now be wondering, what is a BSN? And, for already working RNs, what does a BSN do that makes it worth the extra time? In a recent article, Goodwin detailed the ins and outs of a BSN degree, or, in other words, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Here, we’ll get into what a BSN nurse does, and what a BSN degree can do for your career.
What Does a BSN Nurse Do?
There is no single definition of a “BSN” nurse. Nurses holding their bachelor’s degrees often continue their roles as registered nurses, working directly with patients in important clinical care settings. On the day to day, these advanced RNs can be found evaluating patient conditions, creating treatment plans, administering patient care, performing diagnostic tests, operating complex medical equipment, and more. As RNs, these nurses most often work alongside physicians and other medical team members. They may also supervise licensed practical nurses (LPNs), nursing assistants, and home health aides.
It’s important to note, though, that nurses with a BSN degree may qualify for other positions beyond your typical bedside care. From a trauma nurse to a school nurse, there are many types of nursing careers that one can pursue with a bachelor’s in hand. For example, BSN holders often qualify for managerial and leadership positions, and are typically preferred in advanced specializations such as public health nursing, nursing forensics, nurse education, research, case management, and more. Some employers – such as the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Veterans’ Administration – exclusively hire nurses with a BSN degree. The job duties in these varying BSN careers can be very different, depending on the employer and place of work.
Some things can be said about a BSN nurse. Registered nurses holding a BSN are very critical thinkers. They are problem solvers. They know not only the fundamental skills of nursing, but also have knowledge of the larger healthcare system. Goodwin College BSN program graduates, for example, not only leave with their bachelor’s degrees – they also leave with the ability to:
- Practice nursing from a holistic, visionary, culturally competent, and fiscally responsible base
- Design, manage, and coordinate patient care for individuals, groups, and entire populations
- Apply knowledge from nursing theory, practice, and research, to their professional practice
- Integrate leadership and management skills, along with evidence-based practices, critical and creative thinking, and ethical decision-making, into their work
- Collaborate and communicate effectively with patients, families, and team members
- Make a commitment to lifelong, active learning, through research, career advancement, or through the opportunity to pursue a master’s degree (MSN) or doctorate degree down the road
What Does a BSN Degree Do for a Nursing Career?
You may be wondering, What’s the point of getting a BSN degree, if it’s not required? What does a BSN do other than beef up my resumé? This is absolutely your choice to make. A BSN does not always mean a superior salary or increased career opportunities. However, this degree can position you for long-term success in a constantly evolving field.
It’s no secret that employment of nurses is on the rise. Healthcare is continually ramping up with new technologies and ground-breaking discoveries, not to mention a growing population’s growing necessity for quality medical care. Employers need capable, skilled, and educated nurses to step up to the plate. For this reason, many employers (more than 75 percent!) prefer to hire nurses holding at least a bachelor’s degree. This shows they have committed to their nursing education and are prepared to work in many different healthcare settings. Connecticut, like many other states, is particularly advancing towards an 80 percent BSN-educated workforce within the next two years. Considering this, a BSN degree can put you at an advantage when applying for jobs in the field.
Why do almost 80 percent of employers prefer to onboard BSN nurses? According to several studies – by the Journal of Nursing Administration and the Institute of Medicine, for example – a bachelor’s degree or higher often translates to better care and better outcomes for patients. These studies found that nurses with a BSN degree experienced:
- Significantly reduced inpatient stays
- Less complications among their patients
- Higher survival rates among patients
- Decreased patient falls and hospital-acquired infections
- Less difficulty managing complex patient conditions
- A greater ability to incorporate critical thinking into their daily practice
All nurses, with the right training, are highly capable of providing high-quality patient care. Whether you choose an associate or a bachelor’s degree in nursing school, you can gain critical skillsets that will make you successful as a nurse. Nurses that pursue BSN programs, however, do obtain a deeper and longer course of study, and therefore a wider range of competencies, of nursing and healthcare. For this reason, they may be better suited for leadership nursing positions. You can learn more about the differences between an ADN or a BSN by viewing our infographic here.
In Connecticut, registered nurses earn an average annual salary of $80,200 – more than ten-grand higher than the national average for RNs. Coupled with a BSN degree, earning potential for RNs in Connecticut is very high.
Transitioning to a BSN Program
Already-working RNs may be thinking, “Okay, I see the value in obtaining a BSN. But where do I begin?” In the back of your head, you may be thinking, “I already work full-time. I have a family at home I have to support. How can I manage going back to school?” These are important considerations.
Fortunately, there are still program options available to you. In fact, at Goodwin College, we’ve designed our RN-to-BSN program for those already licensed and working in the field. With more and more employers leaning towards BSN-educated nurses, we want to ensure that every RN has a shot at long-term success. And earning a BSN degree is one way to stand out amongst the crowd.
Our RN-to-BSN program is designed for busy nurses. The RN-to-BSN curriculum can be completed part-time in as few as 16 months. Or, it can be uniquely designed to meet your specific scheduling needs. For added flexibility, the RN-to-BSN degree can be completed fully online. At Goodwin’s BSN college, we understand that distance learning is an important option for nurses who are constantly on-the-go.
Learn more about what a BSN does, or can do, for your future in nursing. Or, learn more about earning your BSN degree at Goodwin College. Simply call 800-889-3282 or visit us online to request more information.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.