Should I Continue My Education in a BSN program?

A recent report in The Wall Street Journal noted that U.S. nursing programs increased 41% between 2002 and 2012. At the same time the number of nurses over 50 years old doubled to one million and the ranks of younger registered nurses increased by 80%.

In today’s buyers’ market, those hiring nurses often seek the highest-educated applicants, especially when one considers that bachelors’ degrees in nursing are needed to satisfy requirements for health care facilities, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Does that mean those with diplomas or Associate degrees need to seek Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees? The answer is yes; it’s the best way to stay current and keep moving ahead in your career. It also makes financial sense. An RN qualifies for 51% of current nursing jobs with an annual salary of about $66,620, according to data from Widener University. A BSN qualified for 88% of current nursing jobs and earns an average annual salary of $75,484.

And there will soon be more jobs than ever.

The Washington Post recently reported that nursing is facing a “silver tsunami” as Boomers leave the profession. Indeed, a Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report notes more than 19% of nurses will be needed in 2022 than were needed in 2012, putting the profession in a “faster than average” growth category.

The Affordable Care Act is just the start of legislation that will likely require hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and other health care institutions to hire highly educated nurses and other health care practitioners.

The bottom line is that while the decision to earn a bachelor’s degree is a highly personal and professional decision, you will never go wrong with a more advanced degree, according to American Nurses Today (ANT).

There are guideposts that ANT noted, after talking to nurses who had returned to school to seek BSNs, that will smooth the decision making process and help candidates excel:

1. Consider options: Many think the route to a BSN is a full-time endeavor, but there are self-study and part-time programs, at least for initial coursework, that may ease the transition. One bonus: Nurses interviewed for the ANT report said they were often surprised by how much their studies had an impact on their day-to-day jobs. Learning more about holistic practices, community health, nursing and research allowed them to problem solve in ways they hadn’t previously considered.

2. Think of advancement: Nurses who aspire to become nurse managers, educators and specialists find bachelors’ degrees are mandatory.

3. Ask about tuition reimbursement: Many employers offer that benefit, which can ease financial pressures that might otherwise stall further education. There are also a host of grants and loans available.

4. Explain your career goals to your family and friends. Their support will increase when they understand that your continuing education is part of a larger career plan.

5. Look ahead to better patient outcomes. A study by renowned nurse researcher Linda Aiken found that a 10% increase in the number of nurses with BSNs was associated with a 5% decrease in patient deaths within 30 days of admission, reported Nursing Link.

If you are thinking of earning your BSN degree, Widener University’s Online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) program offers students the flexibility to advance their careers while balancing work and family obligations. To learn how you can develop leadership skills, and expand your knowledge to deliver high-quality care, call (844) 386-7321 or complete the request more information form and a Program Manager will contact you right away.

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