History and Research
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a study called The Future of Nursing: Focus on Education.1 It examined how the nursing profession is changing, how nurses are taking on more responsibility than they used to, and how the field of medicine is facing an aging population and more complicated medical conditions (such as diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular, and mental health).
As a result, the study’s findings concluded that nurses need to respond with additional education and preparation for profession, aka a baccalaureate education. It was determined that an estimated 80% BSN workforce by 2020 would be required to fulfill the American population’s healthcare needs. This study has received a lot of attention and sparked a lot of conversation, however it is backed with impartial data.
To further support the IOM’s report, there have been multiple studies showing a direct correlation between hospitals with BSN nurses and mortality rates. One such study, published in October 2014 by the University of Michigan, found that a 10% increase of BSN nurses on hospital units was associated with a 10.9% decrease in patient mortality rate.
In 2003, before the Institute of Medicine released their study, the Journal of American Medical Association published a study showing a similar correlation. By increasing the proportion of nurses with BSN degrees by 10%, the risk of patient death decreased by 5%.2
For more reading on the subject, the American Associate of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has compiled multiple studies on their website.3
What it Means for Nursing Students
What does all this mean for you, the nursing student? It means that employers are on the lookout for nurses with a BSN and your chances of getting a job after graduation increase if you have one. The AACN released findings in 2013 showing 90% of BSN graduates had found employment within 4-6 months after graduation nationwide4.
In addition, a BSN creates opportunities for you to move up in the nursing world. A bachelor’s degree is usually required for management positions and is the first step toward earning a master’s degree, which can lead to even more career growth. Those looking to lead teams, teach and move up in healthcare settings benefit from having their BSN.
All signs point to the BSN being a ticket to a successful nursing career and is therefore a worthwhile investment in your future. When you are researching your education and degree options, be sure to keep a BSN in mind.
Paths to Getting your BSN Degree
If you already have an ADN and want to expand your education, there are RN-to-BSN programs out there that are designed for nurses specifically in your situation. These types of programs are often online and typically take two years to complete. In some cases, the tuition and/or program is through a hospital employer. Find out if you could qualify for some financial assistance from your employer if this is you.
If you are just starting your nursing education, you actually have two career path options: the traditional BSN and the Accelerated BSN (ABSN). The traditional path is a four year, on ground program where nursing students spend the first two years completed the general education requirements and the second two years focusing on nursing education and hands-on fieldwork.
Whereas an ABSN program is a 11-18 month program that has students jumping into their nursing education right away. It is the quickest way for adult interested in changing careers can become a nurse.5
The ABSN typically requires student to have already completed some general education courses, therefore it is typically best suited for those who have already completed some college and are changing majors or careers. Some ABSN programs require students to have a bachelors degree in another non-nursing field, however programs like Utica College’s Accelerated BSN program in Florida does not. If you’re considering going the ABSN route, be sure to find out the admissions requirements.
No matter the path you take to getting a BSN, the rewards are there for the investment. Research shows that earning your BSN will only aid you in going farther in your nursing career.