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Why get a BS in Nursing (BSN)?

Nurses in the New Health Care Environment

Why get a BS in Nursing? A BSN is not currently required to practice nursing, but it is a valuable step to advancing your career. There are many compelling reasons for registered nurses to continue their education, and today's online programs make it easier than ever to do so.

Job Security

Nursing is a highly competitive field. With more than three million members, the nursing profession comprises the largest segment of the nation's healthcare workforce. According to a report by the Health Resources and Services Administration, the growth of the nursing workforce outpaced the growth of the U.S. population in the 2000s. Between 2008 and 2010, there were 2.8 million RNs either working in the field of nursing or seeking employment. While the downturn in the economy has led to an apparent easing of the nursing shortage in many parts of the country, nursing is still one of the fastest growing occupations with a projected 19 percent growth of jobs by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

More than half of the RN workforce has a bachelor's degree or higher. It is no secret that "Magnet" hospitals, a designation awarded by the American Nurses Association, and other large nurse employers are giving preference to graduates holding baccalaureate degrees. Couple this with findings from a study released by the AACN in November 2010,which found that graduates of BSN and master's nursing programs were 65 percent more likely to receive job offers upon graduation, or within four to six months after, than graduates from other fields. Thus, it's easy to see why it is vital to keep yourself on top of this trend and pursue continuing education that will keep you competitive.

A More Highly Educated Nursing Workforce Impacts Patient Outcomes

Several studies have shown that nurses with greater levels of education experience lower mortality rates and better patient outcomes. The AACN has applauded one such study recently published in the Lancet, where researchers found that a 10 percent increase in the proportion of nurses holding a bachelor's degree in an acute care setting is associated with a 7 percent decrease in the risk of death in discharged patients following common surgeries, such as knee replacements, appendectomies and vascular procedures. An increased emphasis on bachelor's education for nurses could reduce preventable hospital deaths.

"Utica College recognizes that many RN students are seasoned practitioners and bring rich contextual experiences to their educational journey. Yet, there is overwhelming agreement that the bachelor's degree adds value to professional nursing practice," said RN and Program Director of the Online RN to BS Nursing at Utica College, Annette Becker.

Readiness for the Future and the "BSN in 10" initiative

In October 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a comprehensive assessment on the future of the nursing profession. One of the four major recommendations of the report was a call to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020. The American Nurses Association has resolved to support initiatives that will require nurses to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing within 10 years of obtaining a license. Though this initiative, often referred to as the "BSN in 10," will not apply to nurses who were licensed before the legislation passes, it will greatly increase the number of RNs who have a BS in nursing.

Benefiting Patient Outcomes as well as Your Career

Nurses who earn a bachelor's degree gain more than just a credential. In-depth coursework, in areas like pathophysiology and pharmacology provide a solid foundation for RNs who may want to pursue a graduate degree in the future. In addition, a curriculum that promotes practical experiences in community health, leadership and management, provides nurses with opportunities to expand their critical thinking and communication skills while giving them a broader perspective of healthcare to support their practice.

Convenience and Flexibility

RNs who return to school for their baccalaureate degree are generally older and more diverse. Many obtained their initial registered nurse education after completing postsecondary education in other fields or working in another occupation. Many colleges offer an online RN to BSN that allows nurses greater flexibility to continue working and balance family obligations while pursuing their BSN.

Ensuring that nurses are equipped to provide autonomous practice for leadership positions and advanced practice roles, and are better prepared to respond and adapt to the continuing emergence of new information and technology impacting the delivery of care, are just some of the many reasons for obtaining a bachelor's degree in nursing.

If you're ready to take your career to the next level, you can begin by requesting more information or call (315) 732-2640 or toll-free (866) 295-3106 today for more information on the online RN to Bachelor of Nursing program at Utica College.