Bloomberg reported last month about the growing need for nurses in the U.S.—and for more nursing schools to educate them. This is nothing new. Nurses have always been regarded as the backbone of our healthcare system, and with more positions every day, we continually need more nurses to fill them.
We’re proud at Joyce to fulfill some of this need, educating and graduating registered nurses year-round, but we also realize an associate’s degree isn’t always enough. Healthcare is changing, and in addition to more nurses, there’s a growing demand for more educated nurses who have earned their baccalaureate. An associate’s degree is a great place to start, but we also believe in a number of reasons you should earn your BSN degree as soon as possible.
A BSN degree opens more employment doors. Many nursing jobs, especially management roles and other specialty positions, require all applicants to hold at least a BSN. A bachelor’s degree is now recognized as essential for many nursing careers, but it’s also required for any nursing position at certain hospitals and healthcare facilities. Recognizing the value of a more educated nursing staff, many institutions now require all of their nurses to hold a BSN, even for positions that elsewhere require just an associate’s degree. This practice is becoming more common, so to remain eligible for the majority of posted nursing jobs, you really have to have a BSN.
Related Resource: Why You Should Consider Alternative Nursing Jobs
Every person has to start somewhere, and almost every career begins with an entry-level position. There’s an egalitarian nature to nursing, the sense that all nurses are in this together, but there’s still some hierarchy. Nurse manager and higher level nursing staff positions require a BSN, which means if you want more upward mobility in your nursing career, you need to earn your BSN.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has aggregated numerous studies reporting on nursing care. Some of the many benefits of a BSN degree include:
This research, though impressive, shouldn’t be too surprising. The purpose of higher education in nursing is to make nurses more knowledgeable and proficient at their job. This evidence simply proves it’s effective. Earning your BSN will make you a better nurse.
A glance at the median salaries of RNs vs. nurses with a baccalaureate would suggest you’ll earn a raise as soon as you earn your BSN. That’s not always the case. If you stay in your current position after your RN-BSN program, depending on your hospital, you may not see an increase in pay—or may receive an additional $1/hour. The real financial benefit to a BSN degree, though, comes from your eligibility for higher-paying positions.
Higher-paying nursing positions often require a BSN, as do graduate programs, which can open the door to the highest-paying nursing positions like nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, and clinical nurse specialist. Earning a BSN might not increase your salary overnight (though it might!), but it will open the door to higher salaries in other positions.
If these other reasons didn’t convince you, a lot of state legislators have already made up their minds. While many top hospitals and healthcare systems already require their nurses to have a baccalaureate, “BSN in 10” bills have been introduced in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, bills that would require current RNs to earn their BSN within 10 years of licensure to continue practicing. So far, none of these states have approved the requirement, but many people think it’s inevitable and that other states would follow suit. If this happens, the percentage of nurses with a BSN will quickly become the majority, and most nurses without will have to earn their degree or find other work.
This legislation might be years away, but especially given the other benefits, it’s better to earn your BSN and remain competitive now, instead of waiting for everyone else to act first.
If you’re interested in expanding your career choices as a nurse by earning your BSN, read more about the program. Reach out if you have any questions. We’d love to hear from you!