Are you a Registered Nurse (RN) with an associate degree or hospital diploma? Are you wondering if it is worth it to get your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)? The answer is YES, and now is the time! Here are a few reasons why you should go back to school.
1. BSN is Endorsed by the AACN
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing education. AACN does not discount the practice or usefulness of graduates of diploma or associate-degree nursing programs, however, in 1996, they published a position statement that endorsed the baccalaureate degree as the minimal preparation for professional practice.
2. Institute of Medicine’s Goal: 80% by 2020 and New York’s “BSN in 10”
The Institute of Medicine recommends that 80% of nurses attain a bachelor’s degree by 2020. This deadline is coming up soon! This goal is a subpart of a bigger goal to advance the nation’s health care and is backed with research supporting that nurses with BSNs promote better patient outcomes. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2013), studies have been conducted using large data sets that support an association between BSN staffing and outcomes such as lower incidence of pressure ulcers, postoperative deep vein thrombosis, hospital-acquired infections, and post-surgical mortality.
The State of New York just recently passed a law that requires newly licensed RNs to obtain a BSN degree within 10 years of being licensed as a RN in the state of New York. This new law is based on research, and it is predicted that this legislation is the beginning of a trend and many states will follow suit.
3. Employment in Magnet Hospitals
As more and more hospitals seek magnet designation to attract and signify to patients that their facility provides quality health care, many RNs are being asked to return to school to earn their BSN degree. Earning your BSN can make you more marketable to facilities seeking or interested in seeking this recognition in the future.
4. Additional Career Opportunities
Having your BSN degree can open new career opportunities. Many nursing jobs, especially management roles and other specialty positions, require all applicants to hold a BSN. Recognizing the value of a more educated nursing staff, many institutions now require their nurses to hold a BSN.
Some career opportunities available for a nurse with a BSN degree include:
- Public Health
- Home Health
- School Nurse
- Nursing Informatics
- Infection Control
- Quality Control
- Case Management
- Nurse Manager
5. Graduate Education
Think long range and envision your future in nursing. Earning your BSN degree will place you one step closer to pursuing an advanced role such as nurse educator, nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, nurse researcher, nurse midwife, or clinical nurse specialist.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Nursing Degree?
To earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, you must complete 42 major credits. Students who enroll in a bachelor's degree program with zero transfer credits and stay continuously enrolled can expect to finish their degree in four years. However, many students who transfer in a large number of credits from previous schools often graduate in a much shorter time frame. For example, if you are a registered nurse that already has an associate degree or hospital diploma and transfer 60 semester credits and stay continuously enrolled, a bachelor’s degree in nursing can typically take two years to complete. Additionally, if you already have your BSN and want to pursue a graduate education, a master’s degree in nursing can generally take two years to complete. Courses run continuously, rather than in semesters. Typically, you take one course at a time and move on to the next course without a break. Opportunities to enroll and begin a course sequence in a degree program are available almost every week.
Earning your bachelor’s degree in nursing will allow you to:
- promote better patient outcomes
- practice in more healthcare settings
- have better job opportunities
- serve in leadership positions
- take graduate courses
Learn more about the University of Arizona Global Campus RN to BSN degree program.
Written by LaTonya Santo EdD, MSN, RN, Associate Professor and Lead Faculty in the RN to BSN degree program, and Gwen Morse, PhD, MSN, RN, Professor and Chair of the RN to BSN degree program.