Nurses are the backbone of the American healthcare system. They spend the most one-on-one time with patients out of any other member of their care team. They support doctors in their treatment of patients by assessing the ways in which a patients’ physiology, economic status, social strata, and lifestyle can impact their overall health. Nurses are not only skilled healthcare professionals, but they’re also known for being uniquely empathetic and sensitive to the suffering of their patients. Unfortunately, the United States is perpetually suffering from a shortage of nurses. The demand for nurses seriously outweighs the supply. Equally seriously, there is a great need for existing nurses to earn their bachelor’s degrees. But why get a BSN when you can enter the workforce with an associate degree? Here are five benefits of a BSN.
#1: You’ll Provide Better Patient Care
Nurses who earn an associate degree in Nursing are equipped with the basic skills they need to provide clinical care to their patients. However, there is evidence that more advanced education elevates the quality of care they can provide. A study published in the March 2013 issue of Health Affairs showed that hospitals that increased the number of BSN nurses on staff experienced a reduction of post-surgical mortalities. Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Nursing Administration showed that hospitals with a higher percentage of RNs holding BSNs experienced lower rates of congestive heart failure mortality, medication errors, failure to rescue, and overall shorter length of stay for patients. In other words, medical care teams perform more effectively when their nurses hold BSN degrees.
#2: You’ll be More Competitive in the Marketplace
More and more, hospitals and care centers are interested in hiring nurses who have at least a bachelor’s degree. BSN nurses are valued for their leadership skills, critical thinking, problem-solving capabilities, and for their ability to educate a variety of patients on best health practices. In fact, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that 88% of employers prefer nurses with a baccalaureate degree. If you hold a BSN, you’ll have an automatic leg-up in the job marketplace.
#3: You’ll Have More Advancement Opportunities
Not only will a BSN degree make you more attractive to employers, but you’ll have more opportunities for advancement. With a BSN, you’ll be qualified to conduct research, manage care teams, and serve as a health educator. These capabilities give you the mobility you’ll need to one day become an advanced practice nurse. Though it is possible to work as a nurse with an associate degree, these advancement opportunities will likely not be options for you without a BSN.
#4: You’ll Earn More Money
Another benefit of a BSN is that you’ll have higher earning potential with a bachelor’s degree than with an associate. PayScale reports that RNs with associate degrees earn an average annual salary of $70,700 while RNs with bachelor’s degrees can earn an average of $86,520 per year.
#5: A BSN May Soon Be Required
The AACN advocates for a bachelor’s degree to be the minimum educational requirement for RNs. More and more, hospitals are following this suggestion. In 2020, the AACN published the results of a survey that showed that over 41% of hospitals and healthcare facilities now require newly hired RNs to hold a BSN. Hospitals that want to qualify for American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet Recognition will be required to show plans to increase their BSN workforce. Additionally, in 2017, New York state passed legislation that requires nurses who received their license after 2017 to obtain a BSN by 2027. It’s clear that there is a trend in the nursing field. Very soon, a BSN may be required for new nurses. Rather than opting for the expediency of an associate degree program, it may be wise to complete your bachelor’s degree instead.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in nursing, consider beginning your journey with a BSN. Bachelor’s in Nursing programs provide you with the foundation you need to be a highly-skilled nurse while preparing you for future advancement. If you’re already a registered nurse, think about continuing your education with an RN-to-BSN program. This kind of program will expand your career options and enhance the already excellent care you provide your patients–plus, it can be completed entirely online.
Pursuing a BSN, whether you’re just starting out or you’re already working as a nurse, is possible at University of Bridgeport! Request more information on how you can get your BSN started!