A career in nursing is both rewarding and challenging. It is arguably one of the most strenuous positions a person in the health care field can have, and, as a result, takes a person with compassion, patience, and extreme determination to be successful as a nurse.
As you’ve probably already realized in your research, a nurse is never just a “nurse” — a nurse can be a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN), Nurse Practitioner (NP), as well as pursue a number of specializations, which can be just as confusing in their titles.
The most common career path in nursing is that of the Registered Nurse. It is also one of the most flourishing and rewarding positions within the field. However, it’s important to note that there is no such thing as an “RN degree” that’ll get you there in one fell swoop. Today, RNs can hold varying levels of nursing education: an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), or even a PhD in Nursing. Registered Nurses may also complete a hospital diploma program in some states.
Typically, RN nurses choose to earn an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing school. While the ADN degree is a great choice for nurses looking to dive in quickly, a BSN degree can position you for even more career opportunities. This is because more and more employers are now requiring nurses to have a bachelor’s level education. In fact, 80 percent of employers today prefer BSN graduates.
Before you say “yes!” to this path, and before you even delve further into your nursing school research, it’s important to understand the basics of a BSN. What is a BSN degree, and what does it entail? What is a BSN nurse, and how will this level of education differentiate you in the workforce? As a leading nursing school with ADN, BSN, and MSN degree options, Goodwin College breaks it down below.
What is a BSN?
A BSN is a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. It is a popular option for aspiring students who wish to become Registered Nurses, as well as for those seasoned nurses – who have already earned their RN certification – looking to advance in their education and careers.
A typical BSN program takes about four years to complete and prepares you to take the NCLEX-RN licensing exam upon graduation. These BSN schools cover introductory level nursing courses as well as more advanced clinical matter. If you are starting your nursing career from the ground up, you may consider one of these four-year programs. Or, you may consider earning your associate nursing degree first, then your RN licensure, and then start working as a nurse before going back for your BSN degree. The latter pathway is often preferred among RNs who desire an advanced nursing education, but also wish to start working as soon as possible.
Whether you choose to advance your education through a longer-term BSN program, or a faster paced RN-to-BSN program, you can expect both classroom and clinical components of your degree program. While enrolled in a BSN nursing program, opportunities for hands-on learning experiences may be available at large hospitals, depending on your college of choice.
What are BSN Nurses and Why are they Important?
Often called a BSN nurse, a registered nurse with a BSN degree may do the same work as an RN, or may choose to pursue an advanced specialization, such as public health or health education. Some nursing jobs are only available to BSN nurses – Military/Army nurses and school nurses are just some examples.
Registered Nurses earn a median annual pay of $70,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But RNs with BSN degrees can often expect to earn more – if you put the extra investment in your education, you may see a bigger return. Because nursing is a growing field, those with BSN degrees can also work towards opportunities for even higher earning potential, as specializations or managerial roles may become available further down road.
The nurse who has a BSN under his/her belt is well-equipped for a variety of health care situations, and often enjoys a greater variety of job options as a result. In addition to hospitals, BSN nurses can work in primary and preventive care settings within the community, in patients’ private homes, outpatient centers, and neighborhood schools and clinics. As the National Association of School Nurses explains:
“Baccalaureate nursing education develops competencies in leadership, critical thinking, quality improvement, and systems thinking. It provides graduates with nursing theory and clinical experience and cultivates their ability to translate research into evidence-based nursing practice. Baccalaureate prepared nurses also address and analyze current and emerging healthcare issues, including the need for health policy and healthcare financing.”
Becoming a BSN Nurse Today: What it Means
It may, at this point, come as no surprise that nursing is a field in high demand. In fact, the BLS projects that jobs for registered nurses will grow 15 percent over the next few years. As the health care industry advances, so will the expectations for aspiring nursing staff. So, what should your next step be?
Many nurses today are choosing to bridge their associate degree with a BSN education through an RN-to-BSN program. The RN-to-BSN degree can be completed at Goodwin College – part time – in as little as 16 months, thanks to the flexible schedules and formats of our BSN classes. The program can also be taken entirely online, or uniquely designed to meet your scheduling needs.
The RN-to-BSN path has become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a streamlined, alternative to the traditional four-year degree. According to the AACN, these programs have continued to grow each year for more than a decade now, with a sizable 22 percent jump between 2011 and 2012 alone!