Why Hospitals Require Nurses to Get a BSN Degree

Nursing student speaking with a nurse educator in a hospital roomIf you have an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and are thinking about getting a bachelor’s of science in nursing, or BSN degree, you’re not alone. As of 2012, over 50 percent of nurses nationwide opted for a BSN over an ADN for the first time in history.

This shift in degree preference is due, in part, to an increasing number of RN-to-BSN education programs. It’s also driven by the need for hospitals to improve the quality of patient care as the American population ages and the healthcare system becomes increasingly complex.

If you are an RN and thinking about pursuing the BSN degree, here’s what you need to know.

Why Hospitals Require a BSN Degree

Over the last decade, there has been increasing pressure on hospitals to employ nurses with a BSN degree. Why? Because foundational nursing skills are no longer enough to serve a population that is getting older, sicker and more diverse. As hospitals continue to focus more on chronic and preventive care, they need more nurses with skills in leadership, research, critical thinking, teamwork, evidence-based practice, and areas of specialty, such as community health or geriatrics.

In 1993, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) established the Magnet Recognition Program to recognize healthcare facilities for nursing excellence. It quickly became a way for hospitals to market themselves as providing the highest quality of care. Based on years of research, the ANCC found that the quality of nursing leadership was one of several factors that contributed to improved patient outcomes at magnet hospitals. According to a recent study, there is a direct correlation between the number of nurses that have a BSN within a hospital unit and decreased mortality rates.

The Institute of Medicine, an independent advisory group, has called for 80 percent of working nurses to have a BSN by 2020. Since 2013, in order to qualify for magnet status, 100 percent of a hospital’s nurse managers must have a BSN or advanced degree. Now, some hospitals won’t hire you unless you have a bachelor’s in nursing while others require that you complete a BSN degree within three to five years of being hired.

The Benefits of Getting a BSN

While an ADN focuses more on foundational nursing skills and preparing you to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), a BSN curriculum can provide you with the knowledge and skills to advance your nursing career. BSN degree requirements usually include coursework in leadership and management, nursing theory, healthcare policy, critical thinking, research methods, communication skills, statistics, and general education, such as English and history.

As a result, getting a BSN degree can help prepare you to work in any healthcare setting, from critical care to public health. It can also make you eligible for case management and supervisory nursing positions or to become a nurse educator, which has a shortage of qualified candidates.

In terms of earning potential, nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing earn higher average incomes than those with an associate’s degree. Payscale.com reported that the median annual salary of nurses with a BSN was $75,000 while the median annual salary of nurses with an RN was $59,130.

If you’re looking to earn more and advance your nursing career, consider enrolling in the Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program at Anna Maria College. To learn more, request information or call 877-265-3201.


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