Registered nurses who only have an Associate’s degree may think that they are too busy to go back to school for an RN to BSN program, or that the program won’t have any measurable benefits. In fact, flexible study programs and online courses have made it easier for registered nurses to return to school for an advanced degree. Many health care employers now require nurses to have a BSN degree or to at least complete an RN to BSN program in a specified period after they are hired. To that end, many nurses can now take advantage of employer incentives to further their training, like flexible scheduling or reimbursement of tuition expenses.
Are you a registered nurse with an associate degree? Check out the RN-BSN degree program, which is designed for nurses with an associate-level education who want to earn a four-year degree. It could be the best thing you’ll ever do for your career. Registered nurses who complete and RN to BSN program reap benefits in the form of higher earning potential, better patient care, expanded job opportunities and more.
You Can Earn More Money
When you earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, you’re increasing your earning potential. Among one survey of nurses who completed an RN to BSN program, 23 percent said they received a raise just for completing a BSN degree.
Even if you aren’t given a higher salary right after graduation, you’ll find your earnings dramatically outstrip those of your less-educated counterparts as you progress through your career with a BSN. Your higher level of education will make you a more appealing candidate for promotions and raises over time.
You’ll Have More Job Options
With a BSN, you’ll be qualified to pursue jobs with more employers, which is especially important as many health care providers now require nurses to have at least a BSN. Many states are passing laws that will require registered nurses to hold a BSN within the next decade. A BSN will also open doors to supervisory and administrative positions, which will further increase your salary.
You’ll Gain a Deeper Understanding of Your Profession
The coursework you’ll do in your RN to BSN program will give you a more thorough understanding of what it means to be a nurse. You’ll better understand your supervisors’ decisions, you’ll feel more satisfied in your position and you’ll have a more positive influence over your patients. You’ll also feel more confident, display more professionalism and command more respect. You’ll have a wider base of knowledge that will extend beyond the mere basics of caring for patients, to include an understanding of the many factors that affect your patients’ health, how you can best manage their cases and how you can best promote and maintain their health. Your more advanced education will help you meet the challenges you and your colleagues will face in the near future, as the elderly population grows and technology continues to change the face of medicine.
Your Patients Will Do Better
A study performed in 2003 found that, for every 10 percent increase in the proportion of BSN-educated nurses on a care facility’s staff, the risk of complications and patient deaths decreased by five percent. Another study published in the October 2012 issue of Medical Care found that patients in magnet hospitals are 14 percent less likely to die in 30 days of admission because these hospitals hire more BSN-educated nurses than non-magnet facilities. In fact, researchers have been emphasizing the importance of a four-year nursing education to patient outcomes since the late 1940s.
You’ll Have the Option of Earning a Master’s Degree
If you want to advance even further in your career and become a nurse practitioner, you’ll need a master’s degree. To be accepted into a master’s-level program, you’ll need to have completed at least a four-year degree. The RN to BSN program opens that door, so you can progress into graduate-level studies, and into a dynamic and rewarding career on the nurse-practitioner level.
If you think there’s not much benefit to a RN to BSN program or that you wouldn’t have time to complete the program because you’re too busy working and taking care of your family, think again. You’ll earn tangible benefits from an RN to BSN program, and you can take advantage of online courses to make this degree program fit into your busy schedule. Your employer may even help you with scheduling and tuition reimbursements. When it comes to earning your BSN, there’s no reason not to do it.
About the Author: Contributing blogger Leia Bean has been a nurse practitioner for 20 years.