If you’re an RN with a two-year nursing degree and a good nursing job, you may wonder why going back to school for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is worth it. After all, you may say to yourself, you don’t need a BSN in order to work as a nurse; the field is still growing rapidly, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting 16 percent job growth over the next several years. You can go anywhere in the country and get a job as a registered nurse with nothing more than an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), so why spend the extra time and money going back to school for two more years?
There are plenty of reasons why an RN-to-BSN is worth it, but what they all boil down to is that investing the extra time in your nursing education benefits both you and your patients. You’ll make more money with a BSN, and qualify for the most prestigious magnet hospital nursing jobs. Your patients will be in more capable hands, since research shows that BSN education leads to better outcomes. And you’ll be in a great position to transition into leadership or teaching roles as you progress in your career. If you someday want to earn a Master of Science in Nursing or even a doctoral degree in the field, you’ll have the education necessary to qualify for these programs.
You’ll Earn More and Have More Opportunities
While it’s true that RNs aren’t facing a shortage of job opportunities, that’s changing as more hospitals require their RNs to possess at least a BSN. That’s because the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is calling for all RNs who have two-year degrees or diplomas to finish a BSN within 10 years of achieving RN licensure. A number of states are considering requiring all nurses to complete a BSN.
That’s not all. Those hospitals who want to earn the American Nurses Association’s desirable “magnet” designation must demonstrate that 100 percent of their nurse managers and 48 percent of staff nurses have a BSN or higher. That means that many of the best hospital nursing jobs are now going only to BSN-educated nurses. Those with ADNs or diplomas will soon be limited to non-hospital roles, at least in many areas.
Of course, there’s a trade-off — BSN-educated nurses make more money than their ADN and diploma-educated counterparts. While RNs with two-year degrees make only about $39,100, a BSN-educated nurse will make an average of $69,000. Of course, part of the reason for this discrepancy in average pay is the fact that many BSN-educated nurses hold leadership and supervisory roles which carry more responsibility. But even staff nurses can expect to bring home a bigger paycheck if they earn a BSN.
Your Patients Will Fare Better
Many RNs hotly defend their ability to care for their patients, and that’s understandable. But the research proves that patients do better when a higher percentage of the nurses caring for them have BSNs. Nurse researcher Linda Aiken has found that, for every 10 percent increase in the number of BSN-educated nurses on staff, patients were 5 percent less likely to die within 30 days of being admitted to the hospital. A higher proportion of BSN-educated nurses on staff also decreased failures to rescue. Not only is this good news for patients, it can also help hospitals begin to control skyrocketing costs.
You’ll Have More Opportunities in the Future
Nursing is a demanding job, and few RNs want to remain on the floor for their entire careers. As you get older, you may want to transition into a less physically taxing role, such as administration or teaching. While you’ll probably need a Master’s or Ph.D. in Nursing to qualify for these positions, earning a BSN now can ensure you’ll have the academic credentials you’ll need, should you ever decide you want to apply for one of these programs someday.
An RN-to-BSN is a good idea for any RN, whether you’re currently looking to advance in the nursing field or not. The BSN will ensure that you remain qualified for your job, and it can even help you move ahead in your career. If, someday, you decide you want to teach or take on an administrative or supervisory role, a BSN can help you get there. So do the right thing for your career and for your patients — enroll in an RN-to-BSN program today.