What key skills will nurses need to position themselves as leaders in today's complex healthcare environment? While an associate degree in nursing may provide a useful foundation or starting point, the value of gaining a broader education through a BSN continues to rise, Dr. Patricia Bicknell explains.
Dr. Bicknell, a professor in La Salle University's online RN to BSN program, notes, "This advanced and broad education [a BSN] is needed for the knowledge, skills and attitudes of contemporary practice."
And as the healthcare industry has taken notice of the improvements that come with more highly educated nurses, nursing has shifted to a BSN-dominated profession.
"BSN nurses are prized for their skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management and health promotion, and for their ability to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings," says the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). "Nurse professionals, federal agencies, the military, leading nursing organizations, healthcare foundations, Magnet hospitals, and minority advocacy groups all recognize the unique value that baccalaureate-prepared nurses bring to the practice setting."
What Are Some Specific Examples?
Prospective RN to BSN students may want to consider the following:
- The largest U.S. employer of RNs — the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — established the BSN as a nurse's minimum preparation for moving up from entry level.
- The American Nurses' Credentialing Center requires hospitals to have 100 percent of their nurse leaders to be BSN-prepared if they want to achieve Magnet status.
- Nurses practicing in the U.S. military are required to hold a BSN.
- The AACN and the American Organization of Nurse Executives have called for all RNs to have a BSN to "adequately prepare clinicians for the challenging, complex roles."
- The Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching recommends the BSN as the minimum education level for entry into nursing practice.
- The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the largest U.S. health-focused philanthropic organization, cited the Institute of Medicine's 2020 goal to increase BSN nurses in the workforce to 80 percent after finding a correlation between BSN-prepared nurses and improved patient outcomes.
- Other countries are also shifting to BSN-dominated healthcare: Canada, Sweden, Portugal, Brazil, Iceland, Korea, Greece and the Philippines all require a BSN as the entry level to nursing practice or will soon do so.
A Program for Working Nurses
With a degree program designed for working nurses, such as La Salle's RN to BSN online, nurses don't have to put their careers on hold until graduation. Not only will they still be at the bedside to provide patient care, but they will be able to apply what they are learning each day on the job.
Once you've discovered that adding to your nursing education may greatly enhance your practice and long-term career, earning a BSN is an easy choice.
Learn more about La Salle University's online RN to BSN program.
Sources:Shearwater Health: Why Nurses Need a BSN
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