Graduates who hold a nursing diploma or an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) possess the credentials to apply for a Registered Nurse (RN) license. ADN-level nurses account for about 1/3 of the nation’s nursing population. And while an RN license opens the door to a wide array of entry-level nursing opportunities, completing a bachelor’s level degree in nursing offers distinct advantages not available to nurses who hold an ADN degree.
The really great news for those who are already RN licensed is that there are quality RN-BSN online and on-campus programs that can be completed in one to two years. Some degree programs offer even more accelerated pathways to those who qualify.
1. Higher Nursing Salaries
Completing an RN-BSN online degree program provides job opportunities with additional responsibilities, and, therefore, higher salaries. Although salary differences will vary by location (and the cost of living, etc.), the results of a 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey (NNWS) reveal that nursing professionals who hold a baccalaureate degree consistently earn higher yearly salaries than RNs who hold just an ADN degree. For example –
- Professionals nurses who hold a BSN degree earn an average annual wage of $89,000.
- Professionals nurses who hold an ADN degree earn an average annual wage of $70,820.
These salaries reflect the demand for professionals who hold a BSN in nursing as more hospitals seek to meet the National Academy of Medicine’s expectations.
2. Additional Nursing Practice Area Opportunities
Since 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has been tracking the industry’s efforts to increase the number of practicing bachelor-level nurses. The Campaign for Action (2020) notes that the BSN level nurses accounted for 57% of working professionals, which has doubled over the past several decades.
A BSN educated nursing professional has the skills to provide care beyond hospital settings – an area with significant increases in demand due to shorter hospital stays and more outpatient services. Nursing professionals who have earned a BSN degree have the qualifications to practice in all healthcare settings. These include –
- Critical care settings.
- Public health settings.
- Mental health areas, to name a few.
3. Career Advancement
Nursing professionals who want to move towards a nursing specialty or leadership role will find that earning an RN-BSN online degree is a convenient way to improve job prospects and, ultimately, reach for more advanced career opportunities and better yearly wages.
Many certifications available for licensed registered nurses require applicants to hold a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Examples of these specialty certifications for BSN grads include –
- Hospice Nurse – Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse (CHPN).
- Peri-operative Nurse – CNOR Certification (CNOR).
- Emergency Nurse – Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN).
- Flight Nurse – Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN).
- Wound Care Nurse – Certified Wound Care Nurse (CWCN).
4. Earning a BSN May Become Mandatory
Hospitals that wish to achieve or maintain Magnet Status (the gold standard of nursing excellence) choose to hire BSN educated nurses. Eight percent of hospitals in the country hold a Magnet Designation which is awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
The push for BSN nurses actually became law in 2017, when then New York Governor Cuomo signed legislation – BSN in 10 – a legal requirement for all Registered Nurses to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree within a decade of receiving the RN license. This New York legislation aligns with the nursing industry’s trend towards baccalaureate nursing professionals.
5. It is Easy to Begin an RN-BSN Online Program
Do you already hold an RN license but want to reach for advanced career opportunities? An RN-BSN program is a great way to earn the credentials and skills to meet your career goals. Many of these nursing degree programs are offered online, which provides the convenience and flexibility required by working learners and busy professionals.
Nursing professionals who have a desire to earn a master’s level degree will also find available RN-MSN programs which allow them to further their education in a program that is delivered similarly.