BSN Nursing: 5 Benefits to Earning a Bachelor's Degree
By Will Erstad on 04/08/2019
You’ve always planned on pursuing a profession that helps others. After contemplating your options, you’ve finally committed to a career in nursing. So the hard part is over, right? Wrong!
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Nursing is a broad field with multiple Nursing educational paths to enter it. One of the trickiest decisions you’ll face when choosing your educational path is the route to becoming an RN.
Registered nurses are able to receive licensure with either an Associate’s degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. If you have no prior college credit, your first thought might be to opt for the shorter ADN route. But before you dive in, there are several solid reasons to consider the BSN nursing course.
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BSN nursing: The benefits of a Bachelor’s degree
If you’re looking for reasons to opt for a BSN, you’ll want to consider the following. We asked the experts and dug into the data to identify some of the top benefits for pursuing a Nursing Bachelor’s degree.
1. There could be fewer barriers to employment
Simply put, earning a BSN will make you eligible for more nursing roles. Our analysis of more than 650,000 nursing job postings from across the nation found more than twice as many postings were seeking candidates with a BSN than those looking for ADN candidates.1
This might be one of the most prominent reasons to pursue a BSN—it helps eliminate a potential hurdle to finding work as a nurse. While it’s true you can find entry-level registered nursing positions with an ADN, you may want to consider your competition for these roles. With all other important factors being equal (such as experience), it makes sense for employers to lean toward considering an employee with advanced education.
2. You’ll be ahead of the industry curve
As it stands today, you’d be perfectly fine opting for an Associate’s degree. But there are indicators of change incoming. An influential 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine has laid out a variety of goals for the future of nursing, one of which was a push for 80 percent of nurses to possess a Bachelor’s degree by 2020.2
While that goal is just a guideline, more employers and states are leaning toward requiring their nurses to have a Bachelor’s degree—even if it’s not an immediate requirement to obtaining employment. For instance, the state of New York recently passed a bill requiring all nurses within the state to earn a BSN within 10 years of licensure unless grandfathered in.
If you don’t live in New York, you may think you have no cause for concern. But this change in policy reflects a broader overall push for more nurses to earn a BSN. By opting for a BSN now, you can end up ahead of the curve and future-proofed for changing policy preferences—both from the government and from private employers.
3. You’ll have additional opportunities to branch out
As a registered nurse, there are a lot of specialized focus areas you could choose to pursue. But your ability to move into other nursing units could potentially be limited without a BSN.
“Most hospitals in my area would not hire [candidates with] associate’s degrees for inpatient acute care hospital units,” says Shelly Davidson, registered nurse with Avant Healthcare Professionals.
Of course, the importance of this is going to vary heavily depending on the particular nursing career path you have your sights set on. If you have any intention of someday pursuing advanced practice nursing positions or nurse educator roles, it would make sense to start with a BSN.
“I continued my education so that I would have a better foundation for nursing in the future, and if I desired to return for a master’s degree I would already be ahead of the curve,” says Kevin McDaniel, a registered nurse with Avant Healthcare Professionals who opted to pursue a BSN after first working in nursing with an associate’s degree.
4. Your coursework will help you better understand the big picture
The additional courses you’ll take in a BSN program allow you to dig much deeper into the “why” that guides the work of a nurse and how to handle larger-scale issues facing a nursing unit. McDaniel says he’s not certain earning a BSN made him stronger at performing the daily duties of a staff nurse, but his training did help elsewhere.
“If I was looking to track into management, then the BSN would definitely help in that arena, especially if I hadn’t had exposure to the concepts of leadership and teambuilding,” McDaniel says.
So what can you expect to find in BSN coursework? Here’s a taste of some of the BSN nursing courses at Rasmussen University:
- Emerging Healthcare Technologies and Innovation
- Global Health
- Professional Identity of the Nurse Leader
- Public Health Nursing
- Influence of Policy, Finance, and Law on Healthcare
Want a more in-depth look? Check out our article “RN to BSN Online Courses: What You Can Expect.”
5. You can attain personal fulfillment
Before you roll your eyes, hear us out. While a personal sense of fulfillment won’t pay your bills and might not be at the top of your list for pursuing additional education—it means something. Earning a Bachelor’s degree is an accomplishment that not all can achieve. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2017 only 34 percent of Americans over the age of 25 had a Bachelor’s degree or higher.3
But it’s not just a matter of being on a different side of a statistical divide. Going to college and earning a Bachelor’s degree can help set the standard for your family and future generations, and that’s something to be proud of.
Davidson adds that the experience of earning her BSN helped her grow beyond just obtaining textbook nursing knowledge. By taking on the challenge, Davidson had to challenge herself.
“I feel that obtaining a BSN shows your dedication, ability to organize and establishes yourself as someone capable to employers,” Davidson says. “I also feel like the process of earning my BSN taught me how to manage time, pressure and think critically.”
The choice is yours
There are no two ways around it—the decision of whether to pursue a BSN or an ADN is substantial. Now that you know more about some of the potential benefits of BSN nursing, you’re better prepared to determine the best route for you.
Fortunately for you, there are several solid approaches you can take toward pursuing a BSN. If you already are a licensed RN with an Associate’s degree in nursing and think a BSN is worth it, you can opt for an RN to BSN program. Additionally, Rasmussen University offers multiple accelerated BSN options that are designed to efficiently get you into the workforce. To learn more, visit the Rasmussen University Bachelor of Science in Nursing page.
1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 667,210 nursing job postings, February 1, 2018 – January 31, 2019). 456,580 BSN nursing jobs and 210,630 ADN nursing jobs.
2Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health [information accessed February 14, 2019] https://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2010/The-Future-of-Nursing-Leading-Change-Advancing-Health.aspx
3U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2017 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Educational Attainment in the United States 2017 [information accessed February 14, 2019] https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/education-attainment/cps-detailed-tables.html