7 Things Your BSN Degree May Do For You
Have you ever met a nurse who said, "Boy, I regret getting my BSN"? Probably not! The only thing most nurses regret about their BSNs is that they didn't get them sooner. Susan, a public health nurse who recently graduated from an accelerated BSN program, says, "I wish I had done this years ago...I finally have the job I always wanted." There are so many practical benefits that a BSN can bring your nursing career. Here are 7 things your BSN can do for you:
1. Put You Ahead of the Curve
In 2002, the National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice supported a policy to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses. The policy said that by 2010, at least two-thirds of the nursing workforce should hold a Bachelor's degree or higher. The US Secretary for Health and Human Services also supported the two-thirds goal. As of now, the numbers fall well short of the mark. In coming years, as the demand for baccalaureate-prepared nurses continues to escalate, your BSN will put you ahead of the curve.
2. Let You Practice More Autonomously
No matter how much on-the-job experience you have, without a BSN you will not be allowed to take on certain responsibilities. Your BSN gives you more independence and allows you to take on supervisory roles. You'll have a wider circle of influence, too; for example, you might review research papers or act as a community spokesperson. If you want to fully develop your leadership abilities, attaining a BSN is a vital first step.
3. Earn You More Money in the Long Term
Your lack of a Bachelor's degree puts a cap on your earning ability. Your BSN removes that cap, making it possible for you to earn a higher average salary over your lifetime. How many times have you looked at a higher-paying job posting and thought, "I could do that," only to be told that the position was reserved for baccalaureate-educated nurses? As a BSN nurse, you'll be able to apply to those jobs and enjoy higher pay and better benefits over the long term.
4. Earn You A Higher Hourly Wage
Have you heard of a clinical ladder program? If your workplace uses this program, it means they pay baccalaureate-prepared nurses a certain dollar amount more per hour in addition to their base pay. If your workplace doesn't have a clinical ladder program, you may be able to persuade them to implement one.
5. Help You Provide More Positive Patient Outcomes
Plenty of research supports the thesis that a baccalaureate-prepared nursing work force results in better patient outcomes. One study by Aiken showed that a 10% increase of nurses having a Bachelor's degree correlated with a 5% decrease in surgical patient mortality. Studies by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing also link higher education with an increase in positive patient outcomes. Your BSN will provide you with the expertise and skills to provide a higher caliber of patient care.
6. Qualify You For More Nursing Specialties
Unless you're content to provide basic bedside care for the duration of your nursing career, you'll probably want to choose a nursing specialty at some point. Without a BSN, you won't be able to specialize and your career will hit a ceiling.
7. Prepare You For Higher Education
Do you see yourself with an MSN one day, or even a PhD? In order to apply to those higher degree programs, you'll need to have your baccalaureate degree in hand. Why wait to get it when there are so many other advantages that come along with a BSN? Nursing is truly a lifelong learning career, and as you continue to mature in your field, you'll want your education to keep pace with your practical experience.
The Quickest Route to Getting These Benefits
Some nurses recognize these benefits but think they're unable to pursue a BSN because of work, family or other commitments. "I couldn't afford to quit my job, even knowing the degree would make me more money in the long run," says Patrick, a geriatric nurse and single father of two. "So I chose an online BSN program that let me schedule my studies around work." Like Patrick, many full-time nurses are opting to study online. If you want the 7 benefits outlined above, but flexibility and convenience are must-haves, check out online BSN programs. You may be able to join the ranks of baccalaureate-prepared nurses sooner than you imagined.