Before going back to school for nursing, you may be wondering what degree to get. Future nurses can take a few paths toward earning a nursing degree. Among those choices, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree has numerous advantages. So, what are the benefits of a BSN in nursing? Understanding why a BSN in nursing is important will help you choose the right educational program for your future with confidence.
At the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW), our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track is built for students with a prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree. After completing the prerequisites, you can graduate with a BSN in as few as 16 months. That means you can start your nursing career sooner.
We’ll walk you through the top nine benefits of a BSN degree, so you’ll know exactly why a BSN in nursing is important for your career.
1. Nurses with a BSN Are in High Demand
Nurses are in high demand, especially since the beginning of COVID-19. With an ongoing nursing shortage, healthcare organizations are looking to hire more nurses. The healthcare industry as a whole recognizes that higher educated nurses produce better patient care, and providers are looking for nurses with bachelor’s degrees to fill these roles.
Having a BSN will put you in greater demand by employers. There has been a major push in recent years to significantly increase the percentage of nurses that have a bachelor’s level education. In a 2021 survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), 40.6% of healthcare employers require a bachelor’s degree for new nurses and 77.4% strongly prefer nurses with a bachelor’s degree.
This means that by getting your BSN right away, you’re putting yourself in a prime position to be a valued and sought-after nurse.
2. Nurses with BSNs Are Better Compensated
The next reason why a BSN in nursing is important for your future is that your salary will be higher. The average salary for registered nurses in the United States is $75,330, and in Texas, nurses earn an average of $79,120 per year. But according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses with a bachelor’s degree tend to be on the higher end of the salary curve compared to nurses with an associate degree.
The other potential benefit for BSN-educated nurses is that they can earn more through promotions and higher level positions that are reserved for nurses with a bachelor’s degree. That means throughout your career, you can expect to have more salary negotiating power and higher compensation simply because of your initial educational investment in a BSN.
3. A BSN Can Improve Patients Outcomes
If you’re considering going back to school for nursing, it’s likely you’re a pretty ambitious individual. You may have high aspirations for your future, and you want to provide your patients with the best care possible.
According to the AACN, numerous studies have shown that healthcare facilities with a higher proportion of nurses with a bachelor’s degree see indications of improved patient outcomes. Evidence also indicates that having more BSN-educated nurses results in decreased patient mortality.
In nursing, the best way to help contribute to better patient outcomes is to set yourself up with a quality bachelor’s education.
4. A BSN Offers More Diverse Clinical Specialties
Nursing is an incredible field because there is truly something for everyone. With a BSN, you’ll have myriad specialties to choose from. Nurses with an associate degree can generally choose to work in a clinic or in a standard hospital unit. However, a bachelor’s degree expands your career choices to their full capacity.
Nurses with a BSN can choose to work in competitive, fast-paced nursing specialties such as:
- Intensive care nursing
- Emergency nursing
- Travel nursing
- Surgical nursing
- Cardiac nursing
- Community health nursing
If you have ambitions for your career, then a BSN is the best way to ensure you are eligible for these highly sought-after roles. By spending 16 months in an accelerated nursing track like ours at UIW, you’re setting yourself up for greater career fulfillment.
With a BSN, you’ll be able to choose a specialty that brings meaning to your life and aligns with your personality and career goals.
5. You Can Become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
Becoming a nurse practitioner or other advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is a great way to advance your nursing career. If you have a BSN, you’ll be eligible to go back to school for one of these advanced practice nursing careers. Types of APRNs include:
- Nurse practitioner
- Nurse anesthetist
- Clinical nurse specialist
The salary potential for these careers is high, well into the six figures in some cases. In addition, APRNs have greater clinical independence and a larger scope of practice.
To become an APRN, nurses go back to school for a master’s or doctorate degree in a program specific to the type of advanced practitioner they want to become. In order to be accepted into an APRN program, you’ll need a BSN degree. So, if you have plans to advance your clinical career, keep your options open by getting a BSN.
6. You’ll Be Prepared for a Long Nursing Career
One of the benefits of a BSN is that this one degree will give you all the education you need for a lifelong career. A BSN sets you up for your first nursing job and prepares you to take on competitive specialties and leadership roles.
With the current push to have more BSN-educated nurses, the day may come when a bachelor’s degree is required to be hired as a registered nurse. More employers are showing strong preferences for higher educated nurses. With a BSN, you can be assured that your job will be secure no matter what.
7. Nurses with a BSN Can Take on Non-Clinical Roles
Growing into non-clinical roles may be an important goal in your career as a nurse. With a background in clinical nursing, a BSN will allow you to apply your skills to other great opportunities in the non-clinical realm.
For example, a BSN allows nurses to advance into nursing leadership roles such as a nurse manager, who oversees a department of nurses, or a healthcare administrator, who works on the management team of a healthcare organization.
If you want to apply your skills to an alternative nursing role, a BSN allows you to do that. This could include working for a legal office, a pharmaceutical or health insurance company, or in a public health setting. With a BSN, you’ll have unlimited possibilities.
8. A BSN Gives You the Opportunity to Work More Places
Another of the benefits of a BSN in nursing is that a BSN lets you work in far more organizations than an associate degree. That means you’ll have more diverse options when choosing where you want to work.
Healthcare organizations with Magnet recognition have earned a special distinction for high quality. Magnet hospitals focus heavily on nursing education, recruiting and hiring nurses with a bachelor’s degree. That means if you want to work at one of these top hospitals, it’s in your best interest to have a BSN.
Another place where a BSN will open doors is with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. According to the AACN, the V.A. does not promote nurses above entry level unless they have a bachelor’s degree.
Some nurses have military aspirations — serving in the armed forces provides a stable career, plus excellent student loan forgiveness. However, if you’d like to serve as an active-duty nurse in the U.S. Army, Navy or Air Force, having a BSN is required, according to the AACN.
As you can see, getting a BSN will provide you with the most flexibility to choose among healthcare employers throughout your nursing career.
9. You Can Earn a BSN Faster Than Ever Before
Traditional nursing school consists of a four-year degree, with the last two years focusing on the nursing curriculum. However, there’s a faster way to get your BSN if you already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.
With the Accelerated BSN track at the University of the Incarnate Word, you can begin your nursing education and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in as few as 16 months. Time doesn’t need to stand in your way anymore. You can transition to this rewarding career in just over a year.
In an accelerated nursing track, you’ll prepare for your nursing career using three modalities. UIW’s curriculum educates you on foundational nursing concepts through rigorous, interactive online courses. Then, you’ll learn the hands-on applications of that knowledge through skills and simulation labs with small groups of classmates and instructors. The last piece of your education is rounding out your real world experience through clinical rotations.
Create a Bright Future with a BSN
If you’re looking to make a rewarding career change, nursing is a smart choice. The Accelerated BSN track at the University of the Incarnate Word can help you achieve your nursing goals sooner and start a career that is life changing and fulfilling.
We are here to help you every step of the way through nursing school — all the hard work you put in will be worth it. Our 16-month hybrid ABSN track offers three start dates each year in January, May and August, so you can begin sooner. If you already have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you’re eligible to get started.
Contact our admissions counselors to learn more about your ABSN eligibility and how UIW can help you achieve your nursing goals.