December 8th, 2009
If you are currently working as a registered nurse (RN) after completing an accredited diploma program or an associate degree program, you may want to consider going back to school and getting your bachelor's degree. Not only can doing so potentially improve your job prospects down the road, but the degree may also pave the way for advancement in your current career.
If your current RN position isn't in your long-term plans and you wish to pursue a nursing position at a better-paying health care center, you will want to make yourself as marketable as possible. Aside from experience, which you have already built, the second thing employers look at is an applicant's education level and what types of nursing certifications he or she holds. By completing your BSN, you help set yourself apart from the competition.
If you're happy with your current RN position, but would like to eventually become a charge nurse or a nurse manager, then a BSN can certainly help get you there. That's because nurses with a BSN receive additional training in leadership, communication and critical thinking, all skills that are vital to the modern nursing profession, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau also suggests that advancement opportunities may be more limited for RNs who hold associate degrees in nursing (ADN) or a nursing diploma than for RNs with a bachelor's or graduate degree in nursing.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you will not necessarily have to press the pause button on your nursing career just because you decide to pursue your BSN. A large number of RN-to-BSN programs are available fully online through accredited online universities for the benefit of working adults, allowing you the flexibility to complete your coursework on your own schedule. This is a great fit for nurses, as they often work irregular shifts that would make it difficult if not impossible to attend regular classes in a university classroom setting.
Finally, it is important to remember that many hospitals that employ nurses offer tuition reimbursement benefits for full-time nurses who wish to finish out their BSN. As an RN, you may want to speak with human resources about getting all or part of your tuition reimbursed to you. After all, today's hospitals and clinics want their nursing staff to have all the credentials they can get so that they can best serve the facility's patients.