Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree can generate a lot of new opportunities for nurses, particularly those who are frustrated with their current options and seeking to breathe new life into their career. From finding employment with a more desirable company to boosting salary and benefits, there are distinct advantages for nurses who invest in their education.
An online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program offers an affordable accelerated format to accomplish your goals in as few as 12 months.
How Does Earning a BSN Benefit Nurses?
Although nurses pursue a BSN for varying reasons, many enjoy several of the following benefits upon graduating:
Employer preference. BSN-prepared nurses are in high demand, largely because of the key competencies gained from an accredited program such as comprehensive, evidence-based care, community/public health care strategies and the development of well-rounded clinical reasoning and leadership skills.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 82.1% of employers express a strong preference for BSN-prepared nurses, and 94% of entry-level BSN graduates receive employment offers within four to six months of degree completion.
Career mobility. With employers shifting to a BSN-preferred hiring model, the minimum educational requirements for nursing positions have shifted as well. While an associate degree in nursing (ADN) may be sufficient to qualify for some entry-level jobs, ongoing employment is increasingly contingent on acquiring a BSN within five years of hire.
Nurses seeking any type of career mobility, certification or advanced degree or practice will likely need a BSN as a launching point. Some of the jobs that require a BSN or higher degree include:
- Public health nurse
- Case manager
- School nurse
- Nurse manager
- Health educator
- Nursing instructor
- Nurse practitioner
Scheduling flexibility. Shift work — including overnight, weekend and holiday rotations — can be difficult to manage long term, especially for nurses with families or other conflicting commitments. A BSN degree may allow you to move into a position with more flexible scheduling to accommodate your lifestyle. For example, nurse case managers frequently have an option to telecommute, and school nurses have evenings, weekends and summers off.
Increased salary. More nursing education typically qualifies you for more pay. According to January 2021 figures from ZipRecruiter, the average salary for nurses with a BSN is approximately $81K a year, compared to $63K for nurses with an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN).
In addition to higher pay, some employers offer tuition reimbursement or hiring bonuses to nurses with BSN degrees. Any certifications or specializations following the BSN may garner subsequent pay raises.
Why Is a BSN So Important for Modern Nursing?
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now called the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), issued a comprehensive report that recommended at least 80% of the nursing workforce hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020. The intent was to help members of the healthcare field acquire the necessary skills to care for an aging patient population with complex health issues, function in a technologically advanced world and fulfill key leadership roles.
More recent research stresses the importance of hiring baccalaureate-level nurses. The AACN recently reiterated how a BSN-prepared nursing workforce often reports fewer readmissions, shorter stays and better outcomes, such as lower mortality, for patients.
While the NAM goal of 80% by 2020 was not met, the value of a BSN degree persists. Online RN to BSN programs, like the one offered by the University of Louisiana Lafayette, allow nurses to complete a course every eight weeks while continuing to work, gain experience and retain employment benefits. With tuition for the UL Lafayette online program at $9,500, costs are affordable and often further reduced through workplace tuition reimbursement policies.
Refresh Your Nursing Career
A BSN is an excellent way to refresh your career or jumpstart the path to specialization. Busy, working nurses can graduate from an accelerated online RN to BSN program in as few as 12 months, then move on to experience new employment opportunities, higher salaries and exciting futures.
Learn more about the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s RN to BSN online program.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing:
Employment of New Nurse Graduates and Employer Preferences for Baccalaureate-Prepared Nurses
Creating a More Highly Qualified Workforce