A nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is equipped to manage and care for patients in a rapidly changing and increasingly complex healthcare environment. A BSN is quickly becoming the minimum level of education required for hiring nurses, and leading nursing organizations recommend that the majority of nurses have a BSN by 2020.
Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN)
Typically, it takes students two years to finish an ADN program at a community college. For enrollment, you need a high school diploma or GED. The ADN curriculum focuses on the fundamentals of nursing and generally includes the following courses:
- Technical skills.
- Healthcare informatics.
- Hospital/clinic administration.
Graduates with an ADN then take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Once they pass the NCLEX, they can practice as a registered nurse (RN). With an ADN, nurses are qualified for entry-level nursing positions at healthcare facilities and can continue their education by earning a BSN.
Some colleges and universities offer four-year BSN programs. Acceptance into a BSN program requires students to pass one or more prerequisite courses such as:
- Human anatomy.
- Healthcare ethics.
The BSN program emphasizes leadership, communication and problem-solving skills to help students move forward in their careers. BSN graduates must also take the NCLEX to become a RN. Nurses with a BSN can work in management and supervisory positions as well as at the bedside.
Nurses Can Transform the U.S. Healthcare System
In 2008, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) produced an initiative to address the future of nursing. As a result of the RWJF Initiative, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” in 2010. The IOM called for nurses to take on leadership roles wherever they are employed and recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce obtain a BSN by 2020.
Nursing in Louisiana
From 2013 to 2014, 1,285 out of 2,081 nurses graduated from baccalaureate programs in Louisiana. That translates to 62 percent of the nurses earning a bachelor’s degree. The number of graduates from accelerated BSN programs in Louisiana increased by 90 percent in 2014. While the number of nurses is increasing across the country, Louisiana is experiencing a nursing shortage due to low salaries, limited funds, and a lack of educators, clinical sites and classroom space.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the national mean annual wage for RNs is $71,000 while nurses in Louisiana earned an average salary of $62,450 in 2015. The statewide shortage of nurses is predicted to last through 2020. However, the shortage may be regional within the state.
Prepare for 2020
Why wait to earn a BSN? You can start an online RN to BSN program now, and in as few as 14 months, you can complete the program. Multiple start dates are still available. In the RN to BSN program, you will learn about caring for vulnerable populations, identifying and analyzing symptoms and conducting patient health assessments.
Nurses tackle all aspects of healthcare on a daily basis. Successful healthcare outcomes depend on nurses effectively interacting and communicating with patients, physicians and other healthcare professionals. Nurses know what techniques and procedures are best for patients. Nurses can inform government, businesses, healthcare organizations, professional associations and the insurance industry on ways to provide excellent, affordable and accessible care to everyone. They are a good resource for improving our healthcare systems, and that is a significant reason why nurses should earn a BSN by 2020.
Learn more about the LSUA online RN to BSN program.
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