Thinking about earning your BSN? There’s a bright future for any RN that does. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, registered nurses with at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) will have better job prospects than those without one. A report from the Institute of Medicine also recommended that RNs strive to gain bachelor’s degree with the goal of 80% of RNs have their BSN by the year 2020.
But, if you're an RN juggling a full work and personal life there might be a number of factors to consider before starting a bachelor's degree program. Below are some things you might be thinking or have questions about before taking on this next challenge in your career.
If you work in a hospital or are planning to, pursuing a BSN is a great option. In 2012, the New York Times reported that hundreds of hospitals around the country had started requiring BSNs from their nurses. While not all hospitals have this same requirement, having a BSN can give you a competitive advantage. It can also lead to higher earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an RN earned an average of $65,470 in 2012, while those with a BSN working as medical and health services managers made an average of $88,580 in 2012.
A BSN can open the doors to a number of positions, such as management or health educator positions. If you are thinking about a graduate nursing program, pursuing a BSN is a great first step. A bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for admission to most graduate nursing programs.
The length of a BSN program can vary depending on whether a student is taking classes full-time or part-time. RNs who have earned an associates degree in nursing (ADN) or nursing certificate may be able to transfer credits from their previous program that allow them to complete the program in less time. Taking a larger course load can also help students earn their degree sooner.
Earning a BSN doesn't have to mean breaking the bank. Some employers will help their staff pay for their program through tuition reimbursement or provide some type of assistance. Going to school part-time also makes it possible to continue to bring in income while working through a BSN program. Do your research to find an affordable program and talk to your employer to find out about their tuition reimbursement program.
While it might mean having a busier schedule, earning a BSN while also working as an RN is doable. Online programs are a great option for those with families or working full-time. RN to BSN online programs let you sign in and do classwork when it works with your schedule. This flexibility means you'll be able to work at your own pace and pursue an education on your own terms.
We don't have to tell you, nursing isn't a job, its a lifestyle. Nurses are challenged every single day and persevere in a high-stress profession. But, challenge of going back to school is another step in living your passion to help others. Search for a program that also provides support along the way and offers academic and career advice. With a supportive program, family, friends, and colleague network, RNs have a great foundation for success in a BSN program.