Nursing, at its core, is about helping others. In the simplest sense, registered nurses (RNs) are holistic care providers, whose job is fully dedicated to bettering the health and well-being of patients. But the role of registered nurses goes much beyond the expected patient care. Today, nurses are also coordinators of care. They oversee patient cases as well as other healthcare staff. Nurses are specialists, researchers, and lifelong learners. They are highly-respected members of the medical team. So much, in fact, that many would say nurses are the backbone of healthcare today.
Because registered nurses (also known as RNs) play such a critical role in healthcare, they must be educated. They must be trained, skilled, and able to provide high-quality care to patients. As a result, many nurses are now pursuing their Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) degree.
Right now, you may be asking, “Do I really need a BSN degree?” and “Why should I get a BSN?” The thought of committing to years of nursing school can be a hard pill to swallow—especially for those that are already working as an RN. The good news is that there are flexible, affordable BSN programs out there, so that you can earn your BSN without over-investing your time or dollars.
And it will certainly be worth it. According to Nurse Journal, the healthcare environment is increasing in complexity, and BSN-educated nurses are well-equipped for the expanding professional roles. They are very versatile professionals, with the ability to work in a range of care settings, specialties, and different level careers. It’s no wonder why almost 80 percent of all healthcare employers express a strong interest in BSN degree holders.
For registered nurses, a BSN is a great way to stand out when looking for career advancement opportunities. But let’s dig deeper into the reasons why one should consider their BSN in Nursing.
Do I Need a BSN Degree?
As of this writing, registered nurses are not all required to have a Bachelor’s in Nursing. In most states today, you can obtain your RN license and begin practicing as a nurse once you’ve graduated with an associate degree from an accredited nursing school.
However, keep in mind that several states, employers, and job titles do require a BSN degree. Additionally, many care facilities prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s education (even when it’s not required). This growing expectation stems from several reports showing the value of a BSN degree. With a BSN, nurses are reported to have better patient outcomes and more advanced skillsets. And because of this, a BSN degree has become a standard in the field—even though it’s not always required.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics marks a bachelor’s degree as the standard, entry-level education for registered nurses today. However, they explain, “Registered nurses usually take one of three education paths: a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program… Generally, licensed graduates of any of the three types of education programs qualify for entry-level positions as a staff nurse. However, employers—particularly those in hospitals—may require a bachelor’s degree.”
As a result, many nurses begin their careers with an associate degree—taking about two years to complete—to gain experience in the field, but later go back to school for their BSN to advance their roles. This is possible for nurses through flexible RN-to-BSN programs, which offer a part-time, online class format for nurses seeking their bachelor’s degree.
4 Reasons Why You Should Get a BSN Degree
1. You Can Offer Better Care for Your Patients.
Studies show that the higher a nurse’s level of education, the better outcomes there are for their patients. A 21-year study by the Journal of Nursing Administration, for example, found that patients cared for by BSN-educated nurses experienced:
- Significantly reduced inpatient stays
- Less complications, and
- Higher survival rates
Nurses with BSN degrees also reported less difficulty managing complex patients and incorporating critical thinking into their daily practices.
2. You May Qualify for More Jobs.
It’s no secret that the demand for registered nurses is on the rise. With technological advances and a large aging population, more nurses will be required to meet the complex needs of patients.
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released a call for BSN degree holders, asking that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be prepared at the baccalaureate level by 2020. And since then, several states have implemented laws to encourage RNs to pursue their bachelor’s degree. For example, in 2022, New York state passed legislation requiring nurses to earn their BSN degree within 10 years of their RN license.
Although the entire U.S. doesn’t require a BSN degree at this time, standards are rapidly changing. In addition to requirements issued in states like New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, several organizations now exclusively hire nurses with a BSN degree. These include the U.S. Public Health Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force. On top of this, certain job titles and specializations require a BSN, like the ones listed here.
3. You Can Earn Higher Pay with a BSN Degree.
Most nurses are caring individuals who join the healthcare field for altruistic reasons like making a real difference in the lives of their patients. But on the practical side, higher compensation can mean a more comfortable future for themselves and their families. While earning a BSN degree requires more schooling and hard work, nurses who pursue higher education can stand to make significantly higher pay than with an RN degree.
According to PayScale, registered nurses with a BSN degree earn an average of $91,000 annually in the United States. Meanwhile, those with an associate degree in Nursing (ADN) typically average about $74,000 per year. In Connecticut, there is estimated to be about a $6,700 difference between the BSN and ADN salaries.
4. You Can Achieve Your BSN Degree Part-Time and Online.
The beauty of the BSN degree is that you do not need to complete it right away. You do not need to invest four-plus years in nursing school right after high school graduation. You can earn your associate degree in Nursing in about two years, gain some experience in the field, then go back to school for your BSN degree at a later date. This is possible through an RN-to-BSN program.
RN-to-BSN programs are designed with registered nurses in mind. They are offered in convenient and formats so that RNs can continue working while going to school. The main requirement to enroll in an RN-to-BSN program is that you are a licensed registered nurse. With that, you can apply to this type of program and begin taking courses towards your BSN. RN-to-BSN classes are typically offered online, and can be taken from anywhere and at a time that is convenient for students. These courses may also be offered in part-time or even accelerated formats. At Goodwin University, the RN-to-BSN program can be completed part-time in as few as 12 months. This means you can earn your BSN degree in just one year.
Alternatively, you can plan your classes around your scheduling needs and develop a timeline that works for you. No matter your path, you can leave prepared to level up your current nursing role.
Goodwin’s online RN-to-BSN program is available to registered nurses in SARA states. If you reside in one of these states and qualify for our flexible BSN program, we encourage you to reach out! Call Goodwin University at 800-889-3282 to learn more, or request more information online.