Registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing should consider enrolling in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program to improve their practice, stay competitive in the job market and open up new job opportunities. Today, nurses have many resources and options available to them to support pursuing a BSN while working. That support, coupled with the fact that the changing healthcare environment is increasing the demand for a highly skilled nursing workforce, suggests that this is a perfect time to earn a BSN.
New skills through education
BSN programs will include education components that provide nursing students with a better understanding of the social theories driving patient-provider interactions. The social components taught in these programs include communication, leadership and critical thinking—all of which are important to nurses interested in advancing their careers. Communication courses, for instance, may involve case studies on how to interact with patients from a very different cultural background in order to deliver the best possible care.
Bypassing roadblocks in the job market
In many cases, licensed graduates from a bachelor’s, associate or diploma program will meet the basic requirements for an entry-level position as a staff nurse. However, an increasing number of employers have risen the bar by requiring a bachelor’s degree, and that trend is expected to become more pronounced over time. In fact, an AACN survey showed that 87 percent of BSN graduates had job offers within 4 to 6 months of graduating. While the added knowledge gained in a BSN program is no doubt helpful to employers, there are also practical considerations that they take into account. A BSN is the natural stepping-stone to more advanced nursing professions and specialties.
Widening the opportunity horizon
Advancement into administrative, research, consulting and teaching positions requires at minimum a BSN, with many higher-level positions demanding additional years of study. A BSN also gives nurses the educational foundation needed to apply for master’s degree programs. One common master’s degree pathway is to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), leveraging education to develop skills and knowledge in areas like diagnosing and managing common acute and chronic diseases, order diagnostic tests and prescribing medications. A nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist are examples of an APRN.
Reports and surveys have shown that hospitals prefer nurses with BSN, a trend that is unlikely to change in the future. Earning a BSN will not only help nurses stay competitive in the job market, but also help them improve their practice and solidify a pathway toward career advancement.
Learn more about the UNF online RN to BSN program.
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.