Competency expectations and required skills have been steadily increasing over the past couple of decades, especially due to advancements in technology. In response to the continual evolution of the nursing field, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is recommending that the proportion of nurses holding a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree be raised to 80 percent by the year 2020, according to the Institute of Medicine report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”
RNs are finding that career advancements require a more advanced degree. Since an increasing number of healthcare facilities are looking for nurses with four-year degrees, RN to BSN degree programs are being offered both on-campus and online.
The benefits of enrolling in an online RN to BSN program may include lower tuition costs for students (due to less time spent pursuing a degree), faster completion of degree requirements, and the ability to work at one’s own pace (especially helpful to those who continue to work while furthering their education). Also, hospitals with a “magnet designation” require that nurses have at least a BSN.
Why Nursing Today Requires A Higher Level Of Education
Although nursing used to be a primarily skills-based profession, there is an increasing demand that today’s nurses be skilled in healthcare policy, technology systems, and research practices.
Online students may have an edge over their on-campus counterparts because they are frequently using the internet and technology to research, to access patient records, and to accomplish day-to-day activities.
“The use of modern technology is an integral part of online degree programs,” according to EveryNurse.org. “It is impossible to study through the curriculum without at least a modicum of computer skills. Most students have a good understanding of computer technology by the time they graduate. This is looked upon favorably by prospective employers and gives you an advantage over many others in your professional environment.”
Because of the evolution of online degree programs over the past decade, a degree obtained online is now viewed no differently than a degree obtained at a brick-and-mortar campus. Healthcare facilities are now finding that the goal of reaching an 80 percent BSN workforce is an achievable goal.
“Many healthcare facilities have begun requiring RNs to have a BSN for entry-level positions,” explains clinical content manager Abby Schneider, MSN. “These facilities believe that associate degree nurses (ADN) are well trained to manage day-to-day tasks, but healthcare today requires more than what is taught in ADN programs.”
The curriculum of modern BSN training is meant to better prepare students for the increasingly complex medical field, as well as for graduate studies if students wish to continue their education. Advocacy, community health, and information technology are a few examples of the educational topics online RN-BSN students can expect to encounter.
Why Are RNs Choosing To Pursue Their BSN Degree Online?
Many RNs are becoming increasingly aware of the career opportunities that a BSN offers; they also see that the future of nursing is going to combine a number of different technical and administrative skills with the clinical basics they learned in their associate’s degree training.
Online RN to BSN programs are quickly becoming the ideal way for nurses to improve their career prospects. Most RNs can’t attend college full time so they must continue to work simultaneously. Many healthcare facilities offer tuition assistance or flexible work arrangements for RNs interested in pursuing a BSN. RNs are motivated by the prospect of higher salaries, encouragement from both supervisors and peers, and flexible work/school schedule options.
The opportunity and convenience made possible by today’s online nursing programs makes moving on to the next career level more practical and sensible for RNs who still hold a two-year degree.
Registered nurses with a two year degree earn an average of $60,000, Aja Tulleners Lesh, PhD, RN, writes in her article, “RN to BSN programs benefit nurses and healthcare,” while the average salary of nurses with a BSN comes in at more than $90,000.
Finally, nurses can qualify for exclusive positions in specialty practices, and in non-hospital settings such as pediatrics, oncology, psychiatry, obstetrics/gynecology, and surgery if they have their BSN degree.
About Duquesne’s RN to BSN Program
Duquesne University offers one of the top-ranked online RN-BSN programs in the nation and enables a registered nurse with an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a diploma in nursing to earn a BSN degree. Classes start in fall, spring, and summer and the program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.
For more information, visit the Duquesne University online RN-BSN webpage.