Nurse in blue scrubs and gloves

Why Some Hospitals Already Require a BSN Degree

Staff Writer
Reviewed by Dr. Clancey Sollis
Oct 18, 2023

This consensus comes from data showing that nurses with Bachelors of Nursing (BSN) degrees have better patient outcomes, more research experience, and are more qualified for management roles.

Legislators have taken this recommendation to heart, and several states have played with the idea of a ‘BSN in 10’ law, which would require all new nurses to undergo an RN-BSN degree completion program, like Joyce’s, within ten years of employment. This is now the law in New York, and other states may follow suit.

Nurses don’t need a BSN to qualify and do quality work, and a good ASN program can launch your nursing (RN) career in just 20 months. However, attaining higher licensure, like a BSN degree, is becoming increasingly important to hospitals. Even before ‘BSN in 10’ becomes the law in most states, some hospitals are making BSN degrees mandatory for nurses. Many hospitals hire ASN prepared nurses with the agreement that they will get their BSNs within a set amount of time.

Here’s why so many hospitals already require their nurses to have a BSN.

4 Reasons Hospitals Require BSN Degrees

1. BSN Nurses Have Better Patient Outcomes

The Institute of Medicine’s major 2010 publication, Future of Nursing, asserts that nurses who earn their BSN degree are faster and better prepared to rescue patients. This research led to their recommendation that 80 percent of the nurse workforce be qualified at the BSN level or higher by 2020.

Similar findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) found that nurses with their BSN had:

  • Lower surgical patient mortality rates
  • Better cardiac arrest patient outcomes
  • Lower failure to rescue rates
  • More accurate diagnosis and evaluation skills

Based on the data, one can surmise that BSN nurses are safer. In a field where safety is the name of the game, this shapes hiring trends. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2022, a bachelor’s degree was required for 49.1 percent of registered nurses.

RN-BSN degree completion programs should tell you from the start that the education alone won’t improve your nursing skills — well-trained Associates (ASN) RNs know everything they need to get the job done. There’s always room for improvement, and bachelor’s level training can help you develop the background knowledge necessary to improve patient outcomes.

Joyce’s BSN programs, including the 3-year BSN, accelerated BSN and RN to BSN programs, will help you think as a nurse and how you analyze various client situations. BSN training makes better nurses and, from a hospital administration perspective, better nursing staff.

Related Resources: The Future of Nursing Report for BSNs

2. BSN Nurses Are More Qualified for Management

Just about every nursing management role requires a BSN degree or higher. In fact, hospitals that want to be recognized as the gold standard in nursing (often referred to as Magnet hospitals) must have BSN-prepared nurses in all management positions.

The way many hospitals see it, hiring only BSN nurses allows them to promote managerial staff internally. Most hospitals would rather not hire externally for nurse manager roles, and requiring all nursing staff to have a BSN means that the hospital has a large, qualified pool of potential managers from which to promote.

Joyce’s BSN degree is designed to equip you with all the right nursing management and leadership skills. All of our BSN students take a course on Nursing Leadership and Management Systems. This class will grow your capacity for teamwork, collaboration, and interdisciplinary partnerships. A Joyce BSN will prepare you for leadership opportunities, making you a more hireable job candidate.

If management isn’t your thing but you’d still like to continually advance your career, a BSN degree can be a major stepping stone toward Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) positions, like a Nurse Practitioner (NP) or a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). A BSN shows hospitals that hiring you is a good long-term investment because it indicates that you’re serious about your practice and want to continue to grow your skills. Hospitals like to hire nurses with the potential to rise in the ranks. This means that a Joyce BSN degree can impact your nursing practice by preparing you with skills that give you room to grow your career (and your salary) in the nursing field.

Related Resource: BSN Nursing Career Choices

3. BSN Nurses Have More Research Experience

At Joyce, research is part of every nursing program and career pathway. The best nursing programs establish that nursing is a constantly-evolving profession and familiarize their students with research processes, starting at the RN Associate’s degree level. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always an educational norm, which means that many current RNs with associates (ASN or ADN) education generally have less research experience.

Employers value nurses who know how to research the most relevant science on nursing practice and patient care, and the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 Future of Nursing report found that nurses with a BSN have better research and evaluation skills. In an effort to build a roster of knowledgeable, research-minded nursing staff, many hospitals require their nurses to have a BSN degree.

ASN-trained nurses, don’t lose hope. Joyce’s RN-BSN degree completion program provides ample research experience and creates an environment for licensed RNs to integrate advanced nursing knowledge into their work. It’s designed by and for working nurses, and can help you increase your skills, hireability, and salary in just over one year of flexible coursework.

Related Resource: What CCNE Accreditation Means for RN-BSN Students

4. Hospitals With BSN Nurses Are Prepared for Future Laws

So far New York is the only state that has passed a ‘BSN in 10’ law, requiring new nurses to complete an RN-BSN degree program, but there’s a good chance that other states will follow. Many nursing employers are preparing for that day by implementing mandatory BSN policies now. The idea is that this way, they can avoid the bureaucratic nightmare of training or replacing their associate-level nurses when the legislation finally passes.

Most hospital administrators would rather be at the cutting edge of nursing than lagging behind and waiting for legislation that forces them to implement a standard. With or without ‘BSN in 10’ laws, having a high percentage of BSN-trained nurses is best for patient care and hospital outcomes.

At Joyce, we recognize that different students have different backgrounds and different needs. That’s why we’ve created so many pathways to earn a BSN degree. Whether or not you already have nursing or college experience, you can find a BSN program tailored to your needs at Joyce.

Related Resource: How to Get Your BSN Degree

Do Hospitals Prefer to Hire BSN Nurses?

In general, yes. Many hospitals will favor BSN-prepared nurses over associate-level nurses and some are moving toward making BSN degrees mandatory for all their nurses. This is because BSN nurses have better patient outcomes, are qualified for management positions, can use research to stay up-to-date in the dynamic nursing field, and they future-proof hospitals against possible ‘BSN in 10’ laws

There’s backlash to these mandatory BSN hospital policies, especially because rural communities and hospitals have less access to advanced nursing schools and highly-trained BSN nurses. Joyce University helps bridge this gap by offering a completely online RN to BSN degree completion program for students in qualifying states.

Whether you’re just entering the nursing field or you’ve already begun your career as an RN, a Joyce University nursing degree can grow your career and increase your hireability, especially as more and more hospitals require BSN degrees for all of their nursing staff.

Find out more about Joyce’s BSN, aBSN, and RN to BSN programs.

Want more information about BSN programs? Read the Top 10 Reasons You Need Your BSN Degree.


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