Becoming an RN is just the beginning. These days, more and more nurses are getting their bachelor of science in nursing degrees (BSN degrees). Greater education for nurses has been a goal throughout the profession, most notably from 2010’s report from The Institute of Medicine called The Future of Nursing. That report laid out the aspirations for the current decade, most notably the goal of 80 percent of nurses having their BSN by 2020. That goal was lofty — and it remains to be seen if we’ll actually meet it — but in the meantime here’s the what, why, and how of getting a four-year nursing degree.
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Having a BSN means that you’ve completed at least four years of study that includes but is not limited to anatomy, biology, physiology, chemistry, and nutrition. Nurses with BSNs often round out their education with other classes too, such as liberal arts, math, or other sciences. BSN students also study specific nursing fields such as caring for older populations, safety in nursing, research, using healthcare data to inform decisions about care, and contemporary issues in nursing.
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There are several different ways to become a nurse. Many nurses become RNs after completing a two-year associate degree before passing the NCLEX and then diving into a job. Others, though, start in a four-year program with the aim of getting their BSN from the outset. At Joyce, we focus on RN-BSN completion. All of our BSN students are those who already have their two-year degree, have some experience in the trenches of healthcare, and want to improve their career with more education.
For those nurses, programs like ours will allow them to complete their BSN while still maintaining their busy schedule. Our program is completely online, CCNE accredited, and lasts only three semesters. We recognize that our students are nurses already, and as such have to deal with the demands of their job and their family on top of studying. At the same time, we strive to deliver a rigorous academic program that will lead them into an even better future in nursing.
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Getting a BSN improves your nursing career by pretty much every measurable metric. Nurses with their BSN can work in a greater array of positions, make more money, and provide better care to their patients. With a four-year degree, you can be more of an asset to your hospital or clinic, take on a leadership position in your organization, and improve your own lot in healthcare. It will also fill you with a certain amount of pride.
Getting a BSN will improve your career, but it will also make you more confident, more informed, and more dedicated to the field of nursing. More pay and better jobs are great, but ultimately the biggest benefit to getting a BSN is what you feel every day on the job: That you’re dedicated to and passionate about a career you love.