3 Smart Reasons to Complete an RN to BSN Bridge Program
If you're a nurse already, you're probably aware of the growing need for more people in your profession. There are currently more than three million RNs performing essential work across America. You and your nursing colleagues outnumber physicians by at least four to one.* But with the development of new technologies and treatment methods in medicine, the nursing landscape is changing.
For example, did you know that in 1980 the highest credential held by most RNs in the U.S. was a diploma? Only 22 percent had a bachelor's degree, and only 18 percent had an associate's. But by 2008, most RNs (almost 73 percent) possessed at least an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.* Simply put, the minimum credential required to practice is getting higher in many hospitals and other healthcare settings.
That's why it pays to understand how you can benefit from earning your BSN. Three common advantages include:
1. More and Higher-Quality Opportunities
The best nursing jobs are increasingly going to RNs who hold a BSN degree or higher. Employers want nurses who are capable of engaging in the full scope of practice and can take on the kinds of specialized roles that new advancements now demand. Plus, having a BSN can qualify you for additional positions in research, teaching, administration, and consulting.
Just consider this: America's registered nursing workforce is projected to grow by 16 percent between 2014 and 2024.** But healthcare leaders are aiming for most of that growth to be represented by RNs with advanced credentials.
Here's something else to keep in mind: Enrollments in RN to BSN programs have been increasing substantially in recent years. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, they grew by 10.4 percent. And that was the 12th consecutive year of growth.*
So, many of the people in your field are already going after the qualifications that can put them ahead. You can join them and do so much more in your career as an RN. BSN credentials also set you up to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in nursing if you choose to later on, which is how you can get the most prestigious opportunities.
2. Better Pay
As an RN, you might already enjoy a comfortable salary. But it's possible to generate a much bigger income if you hold a BSN. For example, in May 2015, the median annual pay for registered nurses in the U.S. was $67,490. Yet, the top earners (mostly those with more advanced degrees) made $101,630 or more.***
3. Higher Competence
You want to help your patients to the best of your abilities, right? So why not give them the best chance at good outcomes by expanding your knowledge?
A number of research studies have shown a link between higher nursing credentials and lower rates of in-hospital patient mortality. For example, even a small 10-point increase in the percentage of RNs who hold BSN degrees within a hospital has been linked to a reduction of almost 7.5 deaths per every 1,000 patients who have complications.*
Much of the reason for that is because an RN to BSN program can improve your critical thinking abilities. You can greatly deepen your understanding of the many different factors that influence patient outcomes and the effective delivery of healthcare. It is simply a terrific way to bring out your fullest nursing potential. You'll get to help more people receive the best care possible.
* American Association of Colleges of Nursing, website last visited on May 20, 2016.
** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, website last visited on March 16, 2016.
*** Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on April 29, 2016.
American Nurses Association, website last visited on May 13, 2016.