For many years, all you needed was an associate degree in nursing if you wanted to become a registered nurse. And while it’s still possible to use this route to become a nursing professional today, more and more nurses are choosing to skip this qualification when starting their career and go in with a BSN – bachelor of science in nursing – instead. One of the main reasons for this is that along with BSN-educated nurses being in much higher demand, it’s also much easier to enroll on advanced nursing programs with this qualification.
Most advanced nursing programs such as a master’s degree in nursing, family nurse practitioner training programs, and the doctor of nursing practice degree, which nurses need if they want to get into higher management and education, will require a BSN as the very minimum qualification requirement.
Right now, the nursing shortage that we are experiencing in the US has meant that in the next few years, there’s going to be an even greater need to hire thousands of new nurses. The COVID19 pandemic has only made this situation even more urgent, with many nurses now choosing to leave the profession due to the increased pressure that they were under during the pandemic with not enough nurses to meet the demands of patients during the time.
However, despite the growing need for nurses, it is also becoming more difficult to qualify as a nurse. This is mainly because studies have shown that nurses who have at least a BSN are likely to contribute to the improvement of patient care in a major way, with results such as fewer deaths and fewer hospital infections when just an extra 10% of the nursing workforce has a BSN.
In the state of New York, new legislation is now in place requiring all nurses to get a BSN within ten years of starting in the profession. Improving nursing in light of the nursing shortage is one of the reasons behind this, with nurses who have had more advanced training typically better equipped to cope with the pressures of nursing in the modern world.
Improved Healthcare System:
More and more hospitals and other healthcare employers are beginning to require nurses to have an advanced degree in order to improve the healthcare system overall. Many employers are seeking Magnet status to certify that they provide an excellent standard of care and are offering a great work environment for healthcare professionals. An increasing number of hospitals in the US are committing to earning Magnet status, which requires them to hire at least 80% of nurses with a BSN or MSN.
Reduce the Shortage of Nurses:
Better-educated nurses are more likely to progress in their careers into roles like nurse practitioners, nurse leaders and managers, and nurse educators. Currently, the shortage of nurse educators is one of the driving reasons behind why the shortage of nurses is becoming so hard to solve.
Without enough qualified educators willing to teach new nurses and prepare them to enter the profession, many colleges and nursing schools are actually turning down thousands of applicants who could make a difference each year simply because they do not have the resources available to provide them with the education that they need. With more nurses getting a BSN, the number of nurses who will be better-qualified to go on and get even more advanced degrees to prepare them for a career in nursing education will rise.
Improve Patient Care:
The expanding need for nurses to be better educated isn’t just about improving the standard of hospitals and healthcare organizations on paper. One of the main reasons behind the growing need for better nursing education is that many healthcare facilities are actively looking to hire nurses that are more likely to have a significantly positive impact on patient healthcare and outcomes.
Several studies have made it clear that when nurses have at least a BSN, there is a notable improvement in the patient care delivered. One such study found that with just 10% more BSN-educated nurses in the workforce, patient mortality risk is reduced by four percent. In addition, a higher number of BSN-qualified nurses will also usually lead to reduced hospital stays, lower readmission rates, and lower complication risks.
Improve Nursing Career Prospects:
When it comes to getting a BSN, the nurses themselves are often the ones set to benefit the most. There are many reasons why more and more aspiring nurses are making the decision to go for a BSN rather than an associate degree, with one of the main reasons being that it opens up more opportunities for career advancement and progression.
Nurses are no longer just support staff in hospitals and healthcare environments; they are trusted and much-needed healthcare professionals who play a crucial part in improving and delivering patient care. In addition to this, there are now more advanced nursing options in demand than ever before.
Nurse practitioners, for example, are currently needed to close the gap that has been caused by the fact that fewer medical students are deciding to go into primary and family care, leaving these advanced nurses taking up many of these positions instead. Nurse practitioners have full practice authority in twenty US states putting them in a unique position to provide primary care. To train as a nurse practitioner, a minimum of a BSN is usually required along with some experience in the nursing field.
Study Options Available:
Today’s student nurses have got more options available to them in order to make it easier for them to get a BSN. Despite the current shortage of nursing educators, there is certainly no shortage of programs on offer leaving nurses with a wide range of both online and on-campus programs that they can take to get this nursing qualification.
Accelerated BSN programs, for example, are hugely useful in helping those who want to change from a different career into nursing since they are designed for people who already hold a bachelor’s degree in a different subject and only last half the time you’d expect a traditional BSN to take.
Bridge programs for nurses who are already qualified with an associate degree are also becoming more popular since these allow nurses to build on the skills and knowledge that they have already gained rather than starting from scratch.
Online BSN programs are getting more and more available and popular, especially among people who have decided that they want to get into a nursing career later in life and require the additional flexibility that comes with studying online to keep up with their current commitments. Some of the main benefits of choosing online study to get your BSN include:
Today, there are various online programs now available to make it easier for you to facilitate a career in nursing. Despite online degree programs having now been around for quite some time, they have gotten more and more well-known and popular due to the COVID19 pandemic of the last eighteen months. Because of this, there is now more nursing education available online than ever before, providing students with more choice when it comes to specialty areas, nursing schools, flexibility levels, program lengths, and more.
While tuition fees do not differ a lot between offline and online nursing programs, one of the main benefits of deciding to study nursing online is that you can save a lot of money due to lower costs. This is especially true if you are working full-time while studying to become a nurse or would be spending money on the daily commute to campus. Studying online is much more flexible allowing many students to continue working as normal without the need to lose out on wages while they are working, and since it can be done from home, lots of the smaller costs that would add up a lot throughout the year will be avoided.
Nursing school can often be a stressful experience, especially for those who are juggling studying to become a nurse with working part-time or full-time, parents, and people with other commitments that they need to uphold. Studying a nursing program online puts you firmly in control of your studies and makes it easier for you to stay on top of your stress levels and make sure that stress does not get the better of your grades and results.
Future Career Options:
The good news is that online and offline nursing degree programs are now treated as pretty much the same in the workforce. Employers do not discriminate against nurses based on where or how they got their degree, and in some cases, might be more impressed at a nurse who has managed to get their BSN online due to the sheer amount of determination and self-motivation it can take to successfully complete these courses while fitting them around other huge life commitments at the same time.
Despite the nursing shortage, more healthcare employers are looking for highly educated nurses today. This is because it will improve patient care and the healthcare system in general.