College Advice Blog

Sep 5, 2012

Making the Leap from RN to BSN

Today’s job market is more competitive than ever. With nursing quickly becoming one of the most popular educational tracks for students, that competition becomes ever fiercer. In order to qualify for the available RN nursing jobs, you’ve got to get an edge. How? By completing an online RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing).

Why an RN to BSN?

RNs with a BSN have more career options; it’s as simple as that! Jobs in management, leadership roles and opportunities for attaining specialty practice credentials usually require an advanced nursing degree. Because of the number of new RNs joining the workforce, the demand for experienced nurses with the managerial training and expertise a BSN provides is increasing. Additionally, employers are increasingly looking to hire nurses with BSN degrees.

With increased career opportunity generally comes increased salary. Even though starting salaries in some cases may not be significantly higher for BSN degree holders, the potential for career advancement is much better and in turn, so is the potential for higher earnings.

Other Benefits

Better career options and higher salaries aren’t the only benefits a BSN can provide. Consider:
  • BSN graduates contribute to better patient outcomes and lower mortality rates. Many studies over the last decade support this, including an article published in August of 2008 in Health Services Research which stated, “moving to a nurse workforce in which a higher proportion of staff nurses have at least a baccalaureate-level education would result in substantially fewer adverse outcomes for patients.”
  • BSN degrees pave the way for more advanced degrees. If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner or obtaining your MSN (Mater of Science in Nursing), a BSN is a prerequisite. Previously nurse educators have only needed a BSN to work in a clinical setting. However, more and more employers are also beginning to look for candidates with a minimum of an MSN. For RNs interested in pursuing an academic career, a doctoral degree is a must – and before that PhD can be earned, you have to start with a BSN.

Making the Transition

If you’re like most RNs, you’re probably short on the resources of time and money. That can make going back to school a logistical nightmare. However, an online RN to BSN program is a great way for working RNs to complete the requirements for a BSN on their own schedule. The following are several reasons – beyond convenience – to consider an online program: 
  • Financial aid is available. Many online RN to BSN programs offer financial aid. If the program you’re considering doesn’t, check with the American Association for Colleges for Nursing (AACN) for the latest information on where to find scholarships and financial aid.
  • Online RN to BSN programs are legitimate – mostly. While there are some less-than-reputable programs out there, it’s easy to find out if the program you’re looking at is accredited. You can check with the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which is an accrediting body, or with the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).
  • You’re not alone; while much of the work in an online RN to BSN program is indeed done online, you are by no means working in a vacuum. Most programs have mandatory interaction with instructors and other students via chats, teleconferences, forums and email. There are also requirements that must be fulfilled on-site, usually in a clinical setting, and sometimes can even be fulfilled at your current place of employment. Speaking of…
  • Employers support online RN to BSN programs. Employers generally want their nurses to continue their education and because of this, are supportive of online education. Because of online educational programs, nurses who would otherwise have to quit or cut back their hours can continue to work their normal schedules while pursuing an advanced degree. Employers typically like that.

There are an incredible number of opportunities available to those in the nursing profession as well as a wide variety of career paths to pursue. However, many of those career paths are only open to BSN graduates. RN nursing jobs are certainly plentiful, but for those that go the extra mile educationally, more career doors begin to open.

About the Author 
Contributing blogger Francis O. Knight is a full-time RN and soon to be BSN graduate. She looks forward to continuing her education and obtaining an MSN.

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