As a registered nurse with an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN), you’re already doing heroic acts of selflessness daily. So, why would you want to take on more by enrolling in a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, especially if it’s online? There are many strong arguments in favor of earning a BSN degree online.
But before you get to it, let’s first explain what a BSN degree is. A BSN, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing, is a four-year program that allows students to acquire more in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience necessary for a more challenging nursing career. The curriculum covers a broad spectrum of topics, some of which are:
- historical perspectives of evidence-based nursing practice
- healthcare informatics
- nursing research
- nursing leadership and management
- healthcare strategies for high-risk population groups
Benefits of an Online BSN
Healthcare is becoming increasingly competitive and technologically complex. If you’re already an RN, you can expect a prosperous and gratifying career, particularly if you continue your education and earn a BSN. This article has outlined below seven reasons why you should go for an online RN-to-BSN degree program.
#1: You’ll get one step closer to graduate education.
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a prerequisite for advanced nursing degrees, like Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), which are, in turn, often a minimum academic qualifications for high-level nursing roles. Earning an online BSN puts you on the path to a master’s and, eventually, a doctoral degree without pausing your career and quitting your job.
#2: You’ll have a flexible work-study schedule.
As an online BSN student, you’ll have the flexibility to study and review course materials whenever convenient. If you work full-time and/or have family commitments, with an online BSN curriculum, you’ll be able to successfully juggle the demands of your job, family time, and household chores alongside your schoolwork.
There will still be deadlines, and you’ll be expected to finish all the coursework to receive the degree. However, if you’re the type of student who does best in a more casual setting, the option to study at a park or café on weekends is a huge plus.
#3: You’ll be paid well.
Even if money wasn’t your primary motivation for becoming a nurse, you should still get paid as much as possible for your expertise in the area. Typically, the number of years of experience a nurse has in the field determines the compensation gap between ADNs and BSNs.
Entry-level salary ranges for registered nurses with an associate degree start at $49,810. On the other hand, RNs with a BSN degree can expect a more promising pay of roughly $53,980 when they first enter the workforce. In short, the difference in hourly pay rate between RNs with an associate degree and RNs with a bachelor’s degree may be as small when starting out, but the pay disparity widens as the nurse’s career progresses.
#4: You’ll help improve the quality of patient care.
Regardless of the industry you work in, increasing your education and knowledge will undoubtedly help you perform better and improve patient outcomes. There’s mounting evidence that surgical patients treated at hospitals with a higher percentage of BSN-prepared nurses fare better in terms of timely diagnosis, survival, and lengths of hospital stay.
Unlike nurses with ADN, students enrolled in online BSN programs gain knowledge beyond the fundamentals of nursing practice. The online curriculum combines nursing theory courses with vital hands-on experiences during clinical rotations, with a particular emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving while providing patient care. Because of BSN-educated nurses’ extensive practical training in quality and safety competencies, their patients experience significantly fewer adverse outcomes in terms of misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medication errors, and procedural violations.
#5: RNs with a BSN degree are in high demand.
BSN-level nurses are in high demand, and that trend seems to continue for the foreseeable future. This is attributable majorly to the increased emphasis placed on enhancing the quality of treatment offered by hospitals and other medical facilities. Some hospitals have proven themselves to be among the best in the country due to this factor. These hospitals often want nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or higher. Certain jurisdictions are also pushing for BSN licensing requirements for registered nurses.
#6: BSN is requisite for several roles in nursing.
You may already know this, but BSN is the typical entry-level education for many high-paying nursing jobs, such as:
- military nurse
- flight nurse
- clinical research nurse
- OB/GYN nurse
- surgical nurse
- telehealth nurse
You’ll need a BSN if you wish to go beyond entry-level clinical work. Perhaps you want to step away from the bedside and move on to a more academic or managerial position in the hospital. Even then, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or above is mandatory to qualify for such positions.
A BSN may get you hired as a nurse manager who oversees nursing units, but some hospitals, particularly magnet facilities, may demand a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) for leadership positions. After earning your BSN, you may be eligible to apply for graduate programs leading to higher-level nursing positions like nurse administrator. Working in critical care or public health nursing are two other options for nurses looking to enhance their careers. Thanks to online education, this academic work will not cause any discontinuity or gaps in your employment history, making your transition to the leadership role smoother and easier.
#7: You can finish the degree in as few as 12 months.
Many nursing schools now offer online BSN in an accelerated format ideal for working professionals. Unlike the traditional on-campus RN-to-BSN program, where the students must complete at least 53 credits in nursing coursework, the online curriculum can be completed in as little as 27 credits spread over nine courses. Of course, this does not include the compulsory general education courses.
If you’re an ADN-prepared nurse thinking of returning to school, stop for a while and consider the above reasons why an online BSN may be the right choice. With an online BSN, you’ll hone your quality of work and be eligible for more rewarding duties within your current position.