Historically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) prepared nurses for entry-level positions. But the acceptance of a two-year nursing education is becoming obsolete for new hires. Today many hospitals require nurses to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) for employment in their organizations. Additionally, working nurses with an ADN may have to complete a BSN program in an allotted time frame or risk losing their jobs.

Why Do Hospitals Want to Hire BSN-Prepared Nurses?

Hospitals are heeding the call of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), known as the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) since 2015, to employ a highly educated nursing workforce. In a 2010 report titled The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the IOM recommended that 80 percent of working nurses should hold a BSN by 2020. The reasons stated for the recommendation include the complexity of modern healthcare and the need for nurses who are prepared for the challenges of delivering patient care.

Studies show that BSN-prepared nurses provide quality patient care that may reduce medical errors and improve patient outcomes. Here are some studies with the conclusions:

  • Baccalaureate Education in Nursing and Patient Outcomes — A Journal of Nursing Administration study supports the IOM recommendation for an increase in the number of BSN-prepared nurses. The findings showed that hospitals with a higher proportion of nurses with a BSN “had lower congestive heart failure mortality, decubitus ulcers, failure to rescue, and postoperative deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism and shorter length of stay.”

How Are Hospitals Awarded Magnet Recognition?

Another reason hospitals want BSN-prepared nurses is to achieve magnet status. This recognition is based on the performance of the nursing staff. The prestigious distinction allows hospitals to attract and retain exceptionally qualified nurses, saving money on recruitment costs and elevating patient care. To receive the credential, hospitals must meet these criteria:

  • Excel at positive patient outcomes.
  • Provide job satisfaction for their nurses.
  • Exhibit low nurse turnover.
  • Acknowledge and resolve grievances.
  • Involve nurses in patient data collection and decision-making.

Why Should Nurses Complete an RN to BSN Program?

Not only are nurses with a BSN prepared to deliver optimal patient care, they also have more job opportunities available to them. Along with career advancement options, BSN-prepared nurses typically earn higher salaries than nurses with an associate degree.

Rosemary Thuet, Director of Education at Mountain View Hospital located in Las Vegas, Nevada, echoes the significance of RN to BSN programs. She says, “When most people go on to pursue their BSN, it’s mostly for leadership roles, so I think leadership is an important part of that. Most of them go on to be charge nurses. That’s what happens to our new grads, and you need certain skills to be able to do that. You have to know how to delegate.”

According to John Coldsmith, Chief Nursing Officer at UHS/Centennial Hills Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, BSN programs prepare nurses for applying evidence-based research and critical thinking into their nursing practice.

Earning a BSN may be essential for nurses in the future. Many hospitals favor hiring nurses with a BSN because they can reach the IOM’s recommendation without losing ADNs who are close to retirement age. If hospitals do hire nurses with an associate degree, they may require them to complete a BSN program within two to five years.

Nurses thinking about enrolling in an RN to BSN program may want to consider online options. An online RN to BSN program is an affordable alternative to the traditional track and offers flexibility for the working nurse.

Learn more about the Nevada State College online RN to BSN program.


Journal of Nursing Administration: Baccalaureate Education in Nursing and Patient Outcomes

Modern Healthcare: Bachelor’s in Nursing Is Becoming a Must

American Nurse Today: Going for the Gold: The Value of Attaining Magnet Recognition

Healthcare Finance: Hospitals Increasingly Look to Hire Nurses With Higher Degrees

Nurse Journal: Top 9 Advantages of a BSN Degree

Health Affairs: An Increase in the Number of Nurses With Baccalaureate Degrees Is Linked to Lower Rates of Postsurgery Mortality

Medical Care: Lower Mortality in Magnet Hospitals

Wolters Kluwer: Nursing Educators: Stress the Importance of a BSN in Nursing — Your Students Will Thank You

National Academy of Sciences: The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health