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Why Earn a Bachelor's in Nursing?

Diplomas and associate degrees were once popular options for entering the nursing profession. These days, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the industry standard.

With an RN to BSN program, registered nurses can complete their bachelor's without repeating their clinicals. The RN to BSN at the University of Southern Indiana (USI), for example, is offered in an online format. Students can arrange coursework around their work schedule and graduate in as few as 14 months.

What Are 5 Benefits of a BSN?

BSN-prepared nurses are in high demand. In fact, the nursing profession is moving toward a BSN as the minimum education requirement. Following are five reasons to go from RN to BSN: 

Advance your nursing practice: PSQH: Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare reported on a recent study examining nurse competencies in ADN and BSN programs. BSN graduates cited increased knowledge and confidence in evidence-based practice, data collection and analysis, flowcharting, project implementation, and the use of project monitoring tools. Bachelor's-prepared nurses also reported improved skills in self-assessment and self-directed development. 

Improve patient outcomes: In a landmark 2010 report, the Institute of Medicine (IOM, now the National Academy of Medicine) called for 80% of the nursing workforce to be BSN-prepared by 2020. This call was grounded in a growing body of evidence linking bachelor's-prepared nurses with improved patient outcomes. As summarized by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), BSN preparation is linked to lower mortality rates, lower readmission rates and shorter hospital stays. 

Enjoy better job options: RNs looking for new jobs may find that an associate degree is no longer enough. Many hospitals prefer BSNs. VA hospitals, the largest employer of nurses, require a BSN to advance beyond entry level positions. 

Earn more: As of September 2019, PayScale shows that RNs with an ADN earn an average of $29.24 per hour, or $63,000 annually. With a BSN, the hourly rate jumps to $31.68, or $82,000 a year. 

Become a nurse leader: Hospitals and healthcare facilities seek out nurses with leadership skills, and many of those roles require at least a BSN. USI's online RN to BSN program specifically addresses this need with coursework emphasizing nursing leadership, quality improvement and patient safety.

Why Does a BSN Matter?

The healthcare industry is rapidly advancing with new technologies, and BSN nurses are prepared to succeed in an increasingly complex profession. Whether with evidence-based practices or informatics, nursing today requires the advanced skill sets, knowledge, and confidence that come with earning a bachelor's degree.

A BSN also prepares nurses to pursue their master's or doctorate, which can lead to even greater career advancement. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nurse practitioners (NPs), for example, will enjoy a projected 26% rate of job growth from 2018 to 2028. NPs also have serious earning power, with a median annual salary of $113,930 (May 2018). A master's degree is required, and a BSN is the first step! 

Learn more about the University of Southern Indiana's RN to BSN online program.



Sources:

American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN): The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice

Institute of Medicine (IOM): The Future of Nursing

PayScale: Average Registered Nurse (RN) Hourly Rate

PayScale: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Hourly Rate

PSQH: Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare: Nurses Report Gaps in Quality and Safety Competencies Based on Education

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

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