There has been endless debate in the last few decades about the necessity, benefits and reasons for obtaining a BSN degree. In the last five years, that debate has become more one-sided. Experts in many areas of medicine, as well as the public, believe that it is imperative for today’s nurses to have a minimum of a four-year degree.
Hospitals are requiring BSN degrees
Hundreds of hospitals across the country are starting to require that every nurse obtain a minimum of a BSN degree. In some cases, potential new-hires cannot even acquire interviews without degrees on their resumes. And although some institutions still hire nurses without a BSN, they often give employees a certain number of years to span the RN to BSN bridge.
Additionally, many hospitals require nurses to have a BSN because the institutions strive to be designated as a “Magnet” hospital – one that has undergone extensive review and evaluation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Among the criteria for qualifying as a Magnet hospital is a nursing staff with a high level of education. Online RN to BSN bridge programs are one way ADNs and RNs can complete their BSN degree.
States are proposing laws that require a BSN
Some state legislatures are introducing bills that would require a certain percentage of a hospital’s staff to have bachelor’s degrees within 10 years of the passage of the law. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing predicts that, at some point, nurses without degrees will be limited to jobs in non-hospital settings.
Degrees equal better patient care
Professional groups and employers continue to encourage nurses to cross the RN to BSN bridge because studies have shown that better-educated nurses provide better patient care. In a 2013 study, researchers found that hospitals with a higher percentage of nurses with BSN or higher degrees had lower rates of decubitus ulcers; postoperative deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism; and death from congestive heart failure. Patients also had shorter lengths of stay.
In a 2002 study, researchers found that for every 10 percent increase in the proportion of nurses holding BSN degrees, there was a five percent decrease in the risk of patient deaths and complications.
Reasons to get a BSN
Those who have completed RN to BSN programs list many reasons for obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Among them are job security and a better chance at future opportunities and promotions. Other benefits include an increase in knowledge base, personal satisfaction and professional growth.
The healthcare workplace of today is complex and ever-changing, and it has been shown that patient outcomes depend upon the levels of education of the nursing staff. For these reasons, it is important for today’s nurse to navigate the RN to BSN bridge in order to meet the expectations of today’s employers.
Perez-Pena, Richard. “More stringent requirements send nurses back to school” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/education/changing-requirements-send-nurses-back-to-school.html?_r=0
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “The impact of education on nursing practice” http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/impact-of-education
Leonard, Teresa and Bradford, Wanda. “RN to BSN? Yes, you can!” http://www.nsna.org/Portals/0/Skins/NSNA/pdf/Imprint_Jan09_Feat_Leonard.pdf