Is It Time to Start Your BSN?

Article Categories: Nursing Jobs & Nurse On the Job

When you wrote your New Year’s resolutions for this year, didl you include starting your BSN? Maybe you’ve been intending to do it for a while, but something always seems to interfere. Family, money, or other commitments push aside your plans…and suddenly another year has flown by.

Why should you get a BSN?

• You’ll get a leg up in your nursing career. The BSN curriculum can include courses in leadership, critical thinking, and communication. These “non-clinical” courses will be necessary for advancement beyond a bedside nurse.

• You’ll earn more money! Salaries vary by region of the country, but a 2013 Rasmussen College article reported that an Associate Degree median salary was $66,620, while a BSN median salary was $75,484. In just five years, a BSN will earn $44,320 more!

• You’ll be on your way to graduate school and advanced clinical practice. Nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives…if you’re interested in any of these, or becoming an administrator, you will need a Master’s Degree or Doctorate.

• More hospitals are requiring a BSN for entry-level positions. While ADN graduates will be able to find jobs, the best paying jobs increasingly demand a BSN.

The good news is that there are more options than ever to help you reach your goal. And depending how long you’ve been out of nursing school, some of your credits can be applied to your BSN. Here are three ways to get your RN-to-BSN:

1. Accelerated BSN Programs. Many universities offer programs that can get you to a BSN degree in as little as 12-16 months. The curriculum varies by school; it can be online, campus, or a combination, along with clinical practicums. These programs are for motivated, focused students who are able to study full-time.

2. Online BSN Programs. If flexibility is a priority, you may prefer to take classes online from an accredited school. You can study on your own schedule, although assignments have strict deadlines and some schools require “attendance” at certain times for student interactions. The timeline for BSN completion can be similar to accelerated programs, but the cost is often less. The key to online success is discipline, because no one is going to remind you that a project is due.

3. Community College Partnerships. Colleges and universities in many states are making it easy for ADN graduates to continue on to get a BSN or MSN degree. Called a “Nursing Partnership” or “Nursing Pathway,” the programs offer discounted tuition and easy transfer of credits to encourage community college students to continue their nursing education. Another benefit is that the programs recognize that the nurses are employed, so students can take a term off, and then return without reapplying.

The Institute of Medicine’s 2010 “Future of Nursing” report recommended that 80% of all hospital RNs have a BSN by 2020. If you are considering pursuing your BSN, there is no better time than now.