Many nurses begin their careers with a clear path in mind, and have no trouble deciding to seek a more advanced nursing degree. Others aren’t as certain, and struggle with the decision of whether or not to return to school after working as an RN for several years — or even longer. Because it is possible to have a very successful career with only an RN credential, some nurses work for decades before opting to seek a BSN degree, if they even go back to school at all.
A few trends in health care regarding the training and education of nurses have made the decision much easier for many nurses, and more nurses than ever before are earning their BSN before they even apply for their first position. For those who are still on the fence, though, there are some clear signs that you are ready to go back and add a BSN to your list of credentials.
1. You Want to Work in a Magnet Hospital
One of the cornerstones of the Magnet designation, which is granted to hospitals who meet specific criteria regarding the delivery of nursing care, is that 100 percent of nurse managers hold a BSN or higher. While there is no specific requirement regarding direct care nurses, the national average in Magnet hospitals is for 50 percent of staff nurses to hold a BSN. Most Magnet hospitals, and those seeking Magnet status, will only consider job applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
However, even if you aren’t interested in working for a Magnet hospital, holding a BSN will make it easier for you to find a job in the future. The Institute of Medicine called for at least 80 percent of RNs to have a BSN by 2020 and many hospitals are doing their part to reach that goal by requiring new applicants to either hold the degree, or earn it within a specific amount of time after hiring. In short, then, if you plan to change jobs any time in the near future, a BSN will increase your chance of landing a position.
2. You Want to Be a Leader
Changes in the way that health care is delivered mean that nurses are now being called upon to take on greater leadership roles in hospitals and other clinical settings. Again, many hospitals are requiring nurse leaders to hold degrees higher than the RN, so if you plan to move up the career ladder and into leadership roles, you will need a BSN.
3. You Are Facing Burnout
Burnout is a significant problem in health care. The constant demands of the job can lead to compassion fatigue, and the feeling that you are going through the motions. While most employers have resources in place to help nurses dealing with burnout, one of the most commonly mentioned solutions is taking the time to learn new skills. Many nurses who have sought BSN degrees report feeling like their classes reinvigorate their passion for the practice of nursing, as well as provided them with new ways of dealing with the challenges of working with patients that help prevent burnout.
4. You Want to Provide Better Patient Care
While many RNs are perfectly capable and talented when it comes to delivering patient care, those whose have taken the time to earn a BSN report feeling better prepared to deliver care in the modern health care environment. Several studies have revealed that baccalaureate-prepared nurses feel that they are more professional, more knowledgeable, and better able to perceive subtleties in their patients’ needs.
5. You’ve Reached the Top of the Payscale
While in most cases, a nurse with a BSN earns about the same as a nurse with an RN when working in the same position, over the course of their careers, nurses with a BSN earn more. This is because BSN nurses tend to be hired at higher levels to begin with, and have more opportunities to take on advanced and leadership positions that pay better. If you feel that you have maxed out your earning potential in your current position, then going back to school for a higher degree can give your paycheck a boost.
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At the end of the day, the choice of whether to seek a BSN degree is a personal one, and nurses need to consider a number of factors, including their goals and ability to balance work, school, and home responsibilities. However if any of the above factors sound familiar, then it may be time to go from an RN to a BSN.
Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the world wide web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. She often enjoys photography, researching new trends and D.I.Y crafting.