Features of a Bachelors Degree in Nursing
Whether you are currently a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), a Registered Nurse (RN) with an associate's degree, or are just looking for a career change, you may consider pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing.
Help to Fill the Nursing Shortage
In May 2005, the National Commission on Nursing Workforce for Long-Term Care released a report entitled "Act Now For Your Tomorrow", which found that there are nearly 100,000 vacant nursing positions in long-term care facilities on any given day. They also found that the nursing turnover rate exceeds 50%. The shortage of qualified nurses is costing long-term care facilities an estimated $4 billion per year for recruitment and training expenses.
Another report by the American Hospital Association from April 2006 found that U.S. hospitals need approximately 118,000 Registered Nurses (RNs) to fill vacant positions throughout the country. With those figures, they found the national Registered Nurse vacancy rate to be at 8.5%. The report, entitled The State of America`s Hospitals - Taking the Pulse, also found that 49% of hospital CEOs reported recruitment of RNs to be more difficult in 2005 than in previous year.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has also recently reported some pretty grim figures; as of the publication of the report in November 2005, they estimate that more than 1.2 million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2014.
While billions of dollars have been spent trying to recruit new individuals for nursing degree programs and registered nursing positions, the increase in nursing school enrollment was only 9.6% in 2005 over the previous year. The increase is still not enough to meet the projected demand for nurses. With few people entering the profession, the average age of registered nurses is rising. According to a report issued by the Government Accounting Office, 40% of all RNs will be over the age of 50 in 2010.
With no end to nursing shortages across the country expected any time soon, those will the skills and qualifications as Registered Nurses will continue to be needed.
How to Start a New nursing Career
If you have found yourself wishing that your job was more meaningful, or that you could make a difference in the lives of others, a career in nursing may be just the thing for you. A career in nursing may offer you the satisfaction you had been looking for, but not found in other career paths.
If you have no prior medical background, meaning no training as an LPN or RN, you will first need to complete at least an LPN program on an actual college campus. Alternatively, you may enter an online BSN program but will need to take some of your courses on campus. On-campus instruction is necessary to learn the hands-on skills needed to perform the essential job functions of a nurse. It is not possible to complete your entire nursing education online without having ever stepped foot in a laboratory or clinical setting.
Once you have an LPN certificate, you may enter an LPN to RN Associate's or Bachelor's Degree program. Both the Associates Degree and Bachelor`s Degree programs can typically be completed online, as long as you have had the necessary clinical experience.
How to Increase Your Nursing Career Options
If you are already functioning in the nursing field as an LPN or RN without a Bachelor`s Degree, obtaining your BSN degree may offer wider career choices and perhaps increased career mobility. In order to meet the increasingly complex demands of today`s health care environment, many healthcare employers now prefer or require a minimum of a bachelor`s degree for their nursing staff.
Additionally, a BSN degree offers the educational preparation for nurses to practice with more independence in diverse settings, both within hospitals, and beyond. A BSN degree may enable nurses to pursue more challenging careers in healthcare, obtain professional certification in nursing specialty fields, and also expands career options and job opportunities. Nurses with a BSN degree may practice at a higher level, with greater autonomy and responsibility. Additionally, a BSN degree is also the foundation for future nursing education such as Nursing Master’s degree programs (M.S. in Nursing), and Nurse Practitioner programs.
How to Improve Your Earning Potential
As your experience and qualifications increase, so does your earning potential. The median salary for an LPN is $40,380, while the median salary of an RN is $64,690 according to BLS data for 2010.
How to Pursue BSN Degree Online?
Depending on your situation, you may be able to obtain your Bachelor of Nursing Degree entirely online. If you have no prior nursing experience you will need to pursue your nursing degree on an actual college campus because nursing school blends both academic learning and clinical experience which cannot be duplicated online. Once you have a nursing degree as an LPN or as an RN (Associate degree), the remainder of your nursing education may be successfully completed online. Today`s nurses may go from LPN all the way to a Doctorate in Nursing degree entirely online!
If you are currently a Licensed Practical Nurse or Registered Nursing, you may be able to complete your BSN degree entirely online through an LPN to BSN degree program or an online RN to BSN completion program. Online coursework is equivalent to that which would be completed in a traditional on-campus setting, but may be completed at times convenient to you and offers other advantages as well which we`ll discuss next.
Why Choose an Online BSN Program?
Online nursing degree programs may offer flexibility that just isn`t possible with traditional on-campus programs such as the ability to do your coursework anytime that`s convenient from any place you have internet access (24/7) rather than worrying about scheduling your work around fixed class times. Pursuing a BSN degree online allows you to select the nursing school and program that best suits your needs regardless of where you live, to complete your studies at your own place and pace so you may pursue your degree without giving up your job and family life, costs less than traditional campus based schools, takes less time to graduate, and lets you get started faster.
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At Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, we take pride in offering online graduate degrees designed to complement the schedules of working adults like you.