Maybe your supervisor mentioned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Maybe a friend who works in a large hospital is pursuing a BSN. No matter the source, it is becoming evident that a BSN is increasingly necessary for new nurses looking for their first job or working nurses who are looking for promotions. Some hospitals are now requiring applicants to have a BSN or to complete one within a designated timeframe. Furthering your education may even be important in keeping your current job. This means that nursing education — online RN to BSN programs, for example — is key to both caring for your patients and advancing your career.
Changes in Healthcare
The recent emphasis on BSNs for nurses is driven by two factors. First, as a chief of nursing told The American Nurse, there is evidence that “having baccalaureate-prepared nurses positively impacts patient outcomes.” More education equals better patient care.
The second factor driving the push for BSN-prepared nurses is a nationwide initiative for more highly educated nursing professionals. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended major changes in nursing education in 2010. The IOM, recently renamed the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, called for 80 percent of nurses to have a BSN by 2020. Many individual health systems and hospitals followed suit.
The IOM’s recommendations are fueled by major changes in healthcare. Patient populations have more chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease or arthritis than they did 50 or 100 years ago, when acute care was more common. With these chronic conditions comes new technology and more complex treatment protocols.
In addition, the U.S. population is growing older. One in five Americans will be 65 or older by 2020. Older patients typically need more care, and their care may be more complex.
There are also large changes in how healthcare professionals practice medicine. Evidence-based medicine is becoming the standard of care. Teams of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and nutritionists are increasingly common. Technological systems such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are more sophisticated than previously used systems.
Changes in Nursing Education
Nurses are on the front lines of many of these changes. As a result, nurses need to take a more prominent role in U.S. healthcare.
Nurses must be prepared to treat patients in the changing healthcare picture. They need education in multiple areas, including the preventive care of chronic conditions, geriatrics and community health. They need specialized coursework to work as part of a medical team in evidence-based medicine and medical systems.
As medicine changes, nursing must change with it. Nursing education, including online RN to BSN programs, can provide the knowledge to help nurses master the changing environment.
How to Work Successfully with Change
When you first heard about getting a BSN, you may have thought the time it would take to earn the degree while continuing to work and have a fulfilling personal life would be unmanageable. An online RN to BSN program can be an effective solution. You can complete an online degree program at your convenience. Online programs do not require you to be in a particular place at a particular time. You can continue working while learning and earn your BSN in as little as one year.
The aging population and the advances in medical technology are continuing to affect healthcare in the U.S. These changes will continue to shape the future of medicine, and nurses will play a pivotal role. Nurses are being asked to further their educations to stay a relevant part of the new healthcare picture.
Learn more about the LSUA online RN to BSN program.
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