Why You Should Get Your BSN Degree
It’s a new year, so it’s time for resolutions! Are you considering taking the leap and earning your BSN degree? That’s a big resolution, but after all, new year, new you! Earning your BSN online is one way you can work toward your BSN goals, while continuing to work in the field as a registered nurse. Plus, there are numerous other benefits to earning your BSN degree—from better wages to a brighter job outlook and lots more. Learn more about some of the benefits of getting your BSN degree, so you can decide if continuing your nursing education is right for you.
Benefit #1: Improve Your Job Prospects & Stay Competitive in The Field.
Many prominent healthcare organizations are now recommending, favoring, and even requiring BSN-prepared nurses for new hires. For example:
- According to the AACN’s 2017 Annual Report, 54% of employers now require a BSN degree for new hires, while 87.7% strongly prefer BSN-prepared nurses.
- A 2010 Institute of Medicine report officially recommended that 80% of RNs achieve their BSN degree by 2020.
- As of 2013, hospitals now require 100% of their management staff (Chief Nursing Officers) to have a BSN or higher level of education in order to be designated as top-tier “magnet” facilities by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
- Some state legislatures have begun to propose “BSN in 10” laws requiring that nurses without a BSN degree return to school and attain one within their first decade on the job. In fact, New York State’s “BSN in 10” measure has already been signed into law.
- According to the AACN’s 2018 annual report, 49% of employers currently require a BSN degree for all new registered nurse hires, while 86.3% strongly prefer BSN-prepared nurses.
So, while you may be on the fence about pursuing your BSN degree, additional education (like that offered by a BSN or RN-BSN program) may soon become a job requirement, depending on where you plan to work. As more healthcare employers begin requiring BSN degrees and more states pass new minimum educational requirements, earning a BSN degree online will likely offer you the most freedom in terms of where you will be qualified to work—both immediately upon entering the workforce and later on in your career.
Benefit #2: Advance Your Career.
With a BSN degree, you’ll become eligible for higher paying jobs with more responsibility, including leadership, management, and teaching positions. You’ll also have greater opportunities for professional advancement outside of basic clinical care, including specialties like pediatrics, gynecology, surgery, oncology, diabetes, psychiatry, and more. A BSN degree is also required for the following leadership roles in nursing:
- Nurse educators. Nurses taking on educational roles in hospitals or universities often need a higher level of education, including a BSN.
- Nurse coordinators. Leading a team or coordinating a department or unit is another job role that often requires more education.
- Management positions. If your goal is to manage other nurses, more education can put you in a better position to do so and open the door to management opportunities. Professional experience is also key in managerial roles.
Benefit #3: Earn Higher Wages.
Nurses with BSN degrees often earn more than those with Associate’s degrees, positioning you for greater earning potential. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the average salary for an RN was $66,620, while RNs with a BSN degree earned an average salary of $75,484.
When it comes to nursing, the simple fact is that earning potential typically increases with education level. That’s because more advanced degrees can qualify you for higher paying nursing positions and specialties. These specializations or managerial roles are the real place where BSNs can make a higher income. While becoming an RN can be lucrative, earning your BSN can take you to an entirely new pay bracket. The following positions make significantly more than an RN, and require a BSN to pursue:
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN): APRNs have duties outside typical RN responsibilities, like prescribing medication, examining patients, diagnosing illnesses, and providing treatment. APRNs also typically make about $30,000 more than RNs.
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CRM): A CRM is a type of APRN that helps with family planning, gives gynecological checkups and prenatal care, and delivers babies. A nurse midwife also makes about $30,000 more than an RN, but they can make more depending on their location.
- Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS): A CNS is another type of APRN that focuses on a specific healthcare area like geriatrics, pediatrics, psychiatric care, diabetes or cancer care, or critical care. They also make over $30,000 more than RNs.
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA): CRNAs are highly respected, and are the sole providers in 100 percent of the rural hospitals for some states. They also have one of the highest paying jobs, making an average annual salary of about $157,000, or about twice as much as RNs.
Benefit #4: Become a Better Nurse & Improve Patient Outcomes.
Getting a BSN is about results, but it’s also a great way to improve yourself as a student of nursing. Diving deeper into topics like population-focused care, quality and safety in nursing, and data-driven decision-making can give you a deeper and richer understanding of nursing as a field and healthcare as a whole. Studying topics like that means you won’t just know what nurses do; you’ll also know why they do it and how healthcare organizations work on a broad scale. That knowledge, context, and appreciation for the work can take you from being someone who carries out decisions to someone who makes them.
Even more importantly, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has aggregated numerous studies demonstrating that nurses with BSN degrees are more knowledgeable and proficient at their jobs, with:
- Lower patient mortality rates
- Lower failure-to-rescue rates
- Higher proficiency at diagnoses and evaluating nursing interventions
- Improved professional integration and research/evaluation skills
When nurses apply themselves, study, and develop their knowledge, the patients are the ones who ultimately benefit. And after all, saving and improving lives is one of the major reasons why so many of us became nurses in the first place.
Benefit #5: Become Eligible for Advanced Degrees
With a BSN degree, you’ll become eligible for more advanced degrees, including nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, and many others. Unsurprisingly, these roles are also the most highest-paying nurse specialities. According to the latest data from the BLS, nurses with a high degree of specialization like nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists earn average salaries of well over $100,000 a year. While some of these positions may require an even more advanced MSN degree, a BSN degree is a required rung on the ladder to the highest tier of earners in the nursing field. Whatever path you choose, a BSN degree empowers you with the skills you need to pursue your educational and career goals.
While RNs can always find work, your career advancement as a nurse may be slowed if you chose not to earn your BSN degree. Luckily with today’s convenient online BSN programs, you can continue working as a registered nurse, while chipping away at your next degree.
As more nurses enter the workforce, staying competitive is crucial for your lasting career success. Earning your BSN degree can help you gain that edge. Beyond that, getting your BSN degree can help you provide better patient care, as there’s a strong correlation between education and the quality of care a nurse provides. Hospitals are taking notice of that, as the education level of the nursing staff plays a part in earning the coveted American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program designation. So while earning a BSN does require you to go back to school, it may the smartest choice you can make for your current and future nursing career.
Here at Ameritech, we pride ourselves on being an organization operated and led by nurses. If you’re interested in learning more about how a BSN can help you achieve your goals, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you!