In 2010, the National Academy of Medicine (at the time known as the Institute of Medicine) called for 80% of registered nurses (RNs) to have a Bachelor of Science (BSN) by 2020. Progress continues toward this goal. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that as of 2021, 65.2% of RNs earned the BSN level or higher.
Many nurses today enter the profession with a BSN. However, for working RNs who started their career with an associate degree or diploma, returning to school to earn a BSN can feel like a juggling act. Luckily, an online RN to BSN program can help nursing professionals advance their careers affordably and with flexibility.
For instance, Nevada State University’s RN to BSN online program offers nurses the flexibility to fit coursework into their busy schedules. Not only can earning a BSN prepare graduates with the knowledge and skills to improve patient outcomes, but it can also provide more job opportunities and higher earning potential.
Why Do More Employers Prefer RNs With a BSN?
Entry-level nursing positions may not require a BSN. Still, with patient care growing more complex, healthcare employers increasingly prefer or require a BSN degree for nursing hires. In fact, a 2022 survey on RN employment found that 71.7% of employers have a strong preference for BSN-prepared nurses.
AACN notes the following research-based benefits of BSN-prepared RNs:
- Fewer medication errors
- Lower readmission rates
- Lower patient mortality and failure to rescue rates
- Shorter hospital stays
- Cost savings for hospitals
Earning a BSN also equips RNs with the knowledge and leadership skills to promote health equity. It is widely accepted that culturally competent care impacts health equity. In support of this goal, for example, Nevada State University’s RN to BSN coursework emphasizes developmentally and culturally appropriate patient care. Coursework examines related topics, including:
- Current societal, economic, political, and professional issues in nursing and healthcare
- Ethical decision-making
- Community health, with an emphasis on communities in need of support
- Complexities of aging
- Leadership in a changing healthcare system
Why Consider an Online RN to BSN Program?
Imagine trying to schedule on-campus classes around your work schedule or other obligations. A major benefit of online RN to BSN programs is the ability to complete requirements at the time and place that is most convenient for you. Additional benefits of an online program, to name just a few, include the following:
- Multiple start dates throughout the year mean greater flexibility than the typical fall and spring semester start dates for on-campus programs. For example, Nevada State University’s program offers four start dates per year. Working RNs can choose the start dates that work best for them.
- According to The Hechinger Report, transportation expenses can make up as much as 20% of the cost of college for students who commute. Online RN to BSN programs eliminate the cost of commuting and free up precious time in an RN’s busy schedule.
- Online programs are typically more affordable than on-campus options. Pay-by-the-course tuition, such as with Nevada State University’s RN to BSN online, may reduce or eliminate the need for student loans.
- An affordable online program combined with higher earning potential is likely to support a stronger return on investment. Nurse.com’s 2022 Nurse Salary Research Report found that RNs with a BSN earn a median salary of $78,000. That drops to $67,000 for those with an associate degree or diploma.
Online RN to BSN programs can also help reduce geographic barriers to earning a BSN. According to an article in the Journal of Professional Nursing, RNs in rural areas are less likely than those in urban areas to have a BSN. Therefore, online RN to BSN programs can boost the number of BSN-prepared rural nurses. This, in turn, may reduce health disparities in rural areas, such as those related to a shortage of healthcare professionals.
RNs typically spend more time with patients than other healthcare providers. Making decisions that influence patient outcomes is part of their job. As healthcare needs become more complex, a BSN education can prepare you with the sought-after skills to improve decision-making, patient safety, and quality of care.
If you are ready to take the next step in your nursing education, an online RN to BSN program can offer the affordability, flexibility, and convenience you need to make it happen.
Learn more about Nevada State University’s online RN to BSN program.