If you have decided to enter the nursing profession, you may be wondering if you should go ahead an earn a BSN (bachelor of science in nursing). Although a BSN is one of the pathways to becoming a registered nurse, it’s not the only one. Many people begin with either a diploma program or an ASN (associated nursing degree), knowing that the completion of either of those will allow you to take the national exam you need to pass to become an RN. Whether you have already taken one of those paths or whether you are just starting out, you may be wondering about the advantages of a BSN and whether or not you should pursue it.
Short and Long Term Thinking about the BSN
There can be many valid and understandable reasons for taking a shorter initial route to your RN. Getting a diploma or ASN can offer you enough good, beginning preparation that you can begin your career more quickly, and at less cost than if you spend four years studying before beginning to work full-time. For some people, such a decision may not be just a preference but essential, due to their financial needs.
But it can also be important to think about the long-term effects of a BSN. One of the top advantages to earning the bachelor’s degree is that jobs you can get with a BSN offer a substantially higher salary. The BSN opens doors to management and supervisory roles that you could not otherwise get. In part, this is because the BSN offers a more well-rounded education than you can get in a shorter program, including courses that will enhance your leadership skills as well as your clinical ones. If you have long-term goals regarding your nursing career, a BSN will also work to your advantage. It’s an essential stepping stone to the graduate programs required for you to become an advance practice registered nurse (APRN) such as a nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist. It could also help open doors for jobs in nursing administration or prepare you to be able to teach.
BSN Becoming the Standard
Furthermore, a BSN is going to give you more job opportunities, especially in hospitals seeking more recognition from the American Nurses Association. The ANA provides a “magnet” desgination to hospitals that have a certain percentage of nurses who hold the BSN. One reason such recognition is being offered is because the profession, as a whole, is coming to see the BSN as the standard for nurses. That’s why it’s becoming easier to pursue a BSN once you’ve already entered the profession. Most employers encourage their nurses to go on for further schooling, and will even offer some tuition reimbursement to make it easier. RN to BSN programs are being specially designed with this kind of professional in mind, making it possible for nurses to flexibly pursue the four year degree while continuing to work.
Studies have been done that show how patients and hospitals benefit when nurses have more education. Given all the advantages mentioned above, you can see that nurses themselves can benefit too. Deciding to earn a BSN is a worthy goal that you can help you advance in your profession and discover new ways to use your skills as a leader.