Why Earning Your BSN is Important

The nursing industry needs highly educated registered nurses to fulfill the demand of caring for patients with complex needs and earning a BSN is the next important step. As the population lives longer and medicine advances, the focus remains on obtaining the best possible patient outcomes. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) believes that “education has a significant impact on the knowledge and competencies of the nurse clinician.”

Nurses earning their BSN learn advanced skills in clinical setting.

Facilities want nurses with exceptional critical thinking and decision making skills to meet the pressure set upon them. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) put out a landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which calls for, among other initiatives, “the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degrees be increased to 80 percent by 2020.” It also calls for an increase in nursing roles and responsibilities.

Health Leaders reports that approximately 56% of RNs have a BSN, falling short of the “80 in 20” initiative, however, this number is up from 49% in 2010 when the IOM Future of Nursing was released. Although the industry will not meet its goal in 2020, this growth is a promising sign. The new initiative, The Future of Nursing 2020-2030, in part, “will chart a path for the nursing profession to help our nation create a culture of health, reduce health disparities, and improve the health and wellbeing of the U.S. population in the 21st century.” The nursing industry is calling for RNs to earn their BSN to meet the advancement of healthcare demands.

Nursing Education for the 21st Century

Nurses, doctors, therapists discuss medical treatment plan.

As the population continues to become more complex and the healthcare field must adapt to this evolution, the medical community is tasked with integrating medical advances to provide optimum care to improve a patient’s health. The need for specialized nurses in a particular area such as geriatrics, diabetes care, or pediatrics is critical as medical care is advancing. They have the opportunity to practice, influence and become an expert in their field through education. Leadership skills are needed as nurses get called from clinical care to education, case management, informatics or other areas in the business side of healthcare.

Registered nurses work as part of an interdisciplinary team including doctors, therapists and other professionals whose purpose is to optimize patient outcomes. These collaborative teams depend on each other to assess, plan and carry out patient-centered care. In recent years, there has been a push for other professions to earn their bachelor’s degree and nursing advocates believe that earning a BSN is advantageous for the nursing profession to have the same opportunity in terms of education and advancement. Earning this degree is important to keep pace with the future of medicine.

Career Advantages of Earning a BSN

Earning a BSN means something different for each nurse. Some may find they want to learn something new to ignite energy into their career again. Some nurses may want to fulfill a personal or professional goal. Others, still, are looking for increased responsibility and different career opportunities. Earning a BSN is a strategic move that can open countless doors while earning more money.

According to Payscale.com, a BSN gets paid an average of 21% more than an ADN when holding the same title.

ADN average annual salary $67,0001

Job Title Average Salary
Registered Nurse $59,982
Nurse Case Manager $66,374
Nursing Director $80,390

BSN average annual salary $81,0002

Job Title Average Salary
Registered Nurse $63,666
Nurse Case Manager $70,749
Nursing Director $90,788

Nurses can explore different career opportunities through education. Some nurses want to stay in direct patient care while others are looking for management opportunities. Those who want to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse or a Nurse Manager need a bachelor’s degree before moving on to a master’s degree. Whatever path is chosen, education is a way to stay abreast of new theories, be ready when new opportunities arise and get paid at the highest level for your title.

Magnet Recognition

Nurses enrolled in a BSN program learn improved patient care, communication skills and advanced critical thinking.

Healthcare organizations around the country recognize the importance of earning a BSN and encourage lifelong learning. Magnet hospitals, healthcare facilities and government agencies are calling for nurses to be prepared at the bachelor’s level. The AACN states, “BSN nurses are prized for their skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion, and for their ability to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings.” Evidence shows “baccalaureate-prepared RNs reported being significantly better prepared than associate degree nurses on 12 out of 16 areas related to quality and safety, including evidence-based practice, data analysis, and project implementation.”

AACN designates healthcare organizations who hold Magnet status “as the gold standard of nursing excellence” and are nationally and internationally recognized as such. The principles of the program include: supporting professional practice, identifying nursing excellence and communicating nursing best practices. Magnet facilities also state that they have fewer work related injuries, fewer staff turnovers, and improved patient care are directly connected to a higher educated workforce. Part of earning this status is to have RNs hold their bachelor’s degree and decision makers hold a graduate degree. Nurses should anticipate a facility to move to seek the “gold standard,” and embrace nursing education as a pathway to improving healthcare. Earning a BSN can be the beginning to many new opportunities within the nursing industry.

Positioning Yourself for Success

Nurses practice leadership skills they learn in their BSN program.

The healthcare field is changing at a rapid pace, working towards improved outcomes, better quality of care, and an overall attitude toward patient-centered care and coordination. Lifelong learning is a way for all nurses to play a major role in this transformation. Education empowers and challenges healthcare professionals to gain new skills to continue to advance their profession.

Quinnipiac's RN to BSN online program builds on knowledge of modern global issues and ethical theory, development of research skills and covers topics like disease, public health and vulnerable populations. RNs, no matter their years of experience, who seek to further their education can do so in a flexible, online environment while continuing to work.

The collaboration in a BSN program is rewarding and fulfilling. Shana W., a Quinnipiac University Online BSN student, states, “Although I may not get to physically see my classmates, I've developed a connection with them. It's interesting how you can learn so much from your fellow peers through open discussion.” Students’ nursing backgrounds provide a wealth of knowledge that contribute to meaningful collaborations in the program.

Learn more about how QU’s RN to BSN online program can advance your nursing career.

1“Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Degree.” PayScale, 8 June 2019, www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Associate_Degree_Nursing_(ADN)/Salary.

2“Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree.” PayScale, 7 June 2019, www.payscale.com/research/US/Degree=Bachelor_of_Science_in_Nursing_(BSN)/Salary.

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