Many areas across the country are facing a chronic shortage of RNs that is only expected to get worse as the number of nurses approaching retirement age increases. With so many healthcare employers in need of new nurses, nursing offers a career where you’ll be in-demand and have potential for upward growth. Countless nursing programs and degree paths exist, so you need to be certain about what route you take. That’s why today we’ll talk through why a BSN in nursing is important.
The University of the Incarnate Word’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track in San Antonio, Texas equips students to enter the nursing profession in as few as 16 months. With a BSN in hand, our students can take on their career with confidence and skill.
If you were to walk into a hospital today and ask a handful of nurses what degrees they hold, no doubt you’d find a mix of Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees, as well as some Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degrees.
However, if you conduct this same informal poll with only new nurses, a greater proportion will likely say BSN — and there’s a reason for this shift. Increasingly, a BSN degree is becoming a necessary qualification for new RNs hoping to land their dream job. In fact, some hospitals now require ADN-educated nurses to go back to school to earn a BSN.
Here are six of the advantages of a BSN in nursing and why it makes sense to start your nursing career with a BSN degree.
1. You’ll Earn a Higher Salary
One of the primary reasons why a BSN in nursing is important for your nursing career is that you’ll likely be able to earn a higher salary compared to nurses with an associate degree. According to the 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey, the average annual salary for RNs with a BSN is $67,000, which is $5,000 higher than the average salary for RNs with an associate degree.
Paying for nursing school becomes worth it because of the boost in pay that it’ll provide, not to mention the other career benefits like better growth potential and ability to make an even higher salary by entering leadership roles or becoming a nurse practitioner.
2. You’ll Help Improve Patient Outcomes
Another of the key advantages of a BSN in nursing is that it’ll help you become a better nurse. A growing number of healthcare centers prefer RNs who hold BSN degrees to nurses with an ADN because clear patient outcome improvements are seen with a better educated nursing staff.
Healthcare HR recruiters are increasingly focused on attracting nurses with a BSN or higher degree, due in large part to the ample data showing that better-educated nurses lead to better outcomes for patients. This includes lower patient mortality, 30-day readmission and failure-to-rescue rates — and this has a lot to do with the thorough preparation BSN nursing students receive. It’s also the reason the Institute of Medicine (IOM) called for 80% of registered nurses in the U.S. to hold a BSN degree by the year 2020.
It should be noted, however, that the Texas Board of Nursing has set different competency levels for nurses with BSN vs. ADN degrees. So, while both degrees provide the baseline knowledge you need for professional practice, BSN students also focus on important topics such as behavioral health, the coordination of care, cultural competency, data analysis, evidence-based practice, public health issues and research principles.
ABSN tracks like ours at UIW teach students through a rigorous curriculum that contains three components, meaning students get a comprehensive nursing education:
- Online classes
- Skills and simulation labs
- Clinical rotations
BSN students also have a well-rounded non-nursing education — thanks to the admission requirements and prerequisites needed for admittance into accelerated BSN tracks. The UIW ABSN track requires applicants to have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 62 college credits for eligibility.
Because BSN nurses provide better patient outcomes and satisfaction levels and even help healthcare organizations earn prestigious awards and rankings — like Magnet status — it’s a smart business move to hire BSN-educated RNs.
3. You’ll Be Ready for the Future of Nursing
There’s a significant drive within the healthcare community to hire more BSN-educated nurses. With this increasing preference for nurses with a high-quality bachelor’s-level clinical nursing education, it’s only a matter of time before nearly all employers require a BSN in order to be hired. That’s already the case with certain organizations, such as Magnet hospitals or the U.S. military.
Many other organizations are having their ADN-educated nurses go back to school to earn their BSN, so it’s to your advantage to put in the effort now. Invest in your education, earn a BSN and then go on to enjoy a rewarding nursing career.
4. You Can Access Alternative Nursing Careers
Many nurses go outside the hospital environment to seek employment. Registered nurses can find work in a variety of settings, especially with a BSN degree. This flexibility in career choices is one of the clear benefits of a BSN in nursing. Compared to nurses who begin their careers with an ADN, RNs with a BSN have more options when it comes to careers, especially after gaining a few years of experience.
In addition to the places you’d expect to find nurses who hold BSN degrees — such as hospitals and clinics — you can also find them working in diverse areas of the community:
- Schools and colleges
- Insurance companies
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Cruise ships
- Law firms
- Health publication companies
- Government agencies
- Major event venues (working as emergency care staff)
Not only can well-qualified nurses work in a variety of settings, they’re also not limited to the basic 9 to 5 schedule that many people are. Typically, nurses in hospitals work three 12-hour shifts a week, either during the day or night; however, nurses in outpatient settings may work five 8-hour shifts a week. Also, unlike many professions that require you to work 40 hours a week, many nurses choose to work part-time.
5. You’ll be Eligible for Management Opportunities
While some people may go into nursing with the goal of someday becoming a manager or administrator, most only realize their management ambitions after working for a few years.
Another of the advantages of a BSN in nursing is that it equips you for these leadership roles. A BSN degree is a prerequisite to being assigned as a charge nurse or landing that nurse manager promotion. So, while it’s always possible to go back to school after earning an ADN — and many nurses do, sometimes as required by their employers — starting your career with a BSN degree puts you one step closer to a wealth of opportunities, including in management and healthcare administration.
6. You Can Become an Advanced Practice Nurse
Do you have a desire to advance your clinical nursing career? Nurses often find they desire a greater scope of practice, so they decide to go back to school for their MSN and certification to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). In that case, you’ll need a BSN to be eligible for an APRN program.
The ability to pursue a nurse practitioner role has many advantages, from greater independence in patient care to a higher salary:
- Nurse practitioner: $120,680
- Nurse anesthetist: $195,610
- Nurse-midwife: $112,830
- Clinical nurse specialist: $112,221
If you think you may eventually be interested in one of these rewarding advanced practice nursing programs, earning a BSN is the first step to getting accepted.
Your BSN Degree is Closer than You Think
If you’re looking for a career that offers ample job opportunities while allowing you to make a difference in people’s lives, look no further than America’s most trusted profession for the past two decades — registered nursing.
Given the many advantages of a BSN in nursing, it’s easy to see why a BSN in nursing is important and why it makes sense to start your career with one.
With the Accelerated BSN track at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, you can start your education sooner because we offer three start dates yearly — in January, May and August. If accepted, you’ll be able to graduate ready to sit for the NCLEX in as few as 16 months.
Blending coursework, hands-on labs and clinical rotations, this innovative path to nursing is designed specifically for students with prior college experience who want to switch careers.
Reach out to our admissions counselors today by filling out our form, and we’ll reach out to help you determine whether the UIW ABSN is a good fit for you.