Why should RNs complete a BSN program?

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a goal that is being set by more and more registered nurses across the country, especially those who want to climb the career ladder and ensure employment in the coming years. While there are still those who debate the necessity of a BSN, experts agree about the advantages of earning a bachelor's degree. Online RN to BSN programs are an ideal way for working nurses to earn that degree.

Why is a BSN an important credential?

As the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now known as the National Academy of Medicine, noted in its 2010 report, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," that patient care in hospital and outpatient settings has become more complex in recent years. Nurses must be able to coordinate care among many providers and community agencies, help patients manage chronic illnesses and use the latest technology. A more highly educated nursing workforce is better equipped to meet the demands of an ever-changing health care system. The IOM's aim is for80 percent of registered nurses to have a BSN by 2020. Online RN to BSN programs now play a critical role in achieving this goal.

Hospitals want nurses with BSNs

It is now common practice for hospitals to require registered nurses have a BSN degree in order to be hired for many clinical areas. Many hospitals and other healthcare facilities also require current employees who do not have BSNs to earn the degrees within a certain amount of time. Online RN to BSN programs are an ideal way for working nurses to earn a degree while staying employed.

Magnet designation makes having a BSN imperative

Many hospitals are seeking or want to maintain Magnet status. A Magnet hospital is one that has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for demonstrating excellence in patient care in more than 35 areas of focus throughout the entire hospital. The term "Magnet" refers to the ability of the facility to attract and retain nurses with exceptional credentials and work records. In order to acquire or renew Magnet designation, 100 percent of a hospital's nurse managers must have at minimum a bachelor's degree. This requirement, combined with the IOM's recommendation for a more educated workforce, means more hospitals are searching for nurses with BSN degrees and beyond.

Patients are the winners when nurses have bachelor's degrees

In 2008, Health Services Research, a publication of Health Research and Educational Trust, published an article stating that "moving to a nurse workforce in which a higher proportion of staff nurses have at least a baccalaureate-level education would result in substantially fewer adverse outcomes for patients."

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses has stated that hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare institutions with a higher percentage of BSN-degreed nurses report more successful patient outcomes, including shorter hospital stays, lower inpatient mortality rates and higher levels of patient satisfaction. A BSN translates to better patient outcomes because the bachelor's level curriculum focuses on integrating evidence-based research into clinical practice.

Personal benefits of having a BSN

Does getting a BSN make financial sense? Absolutely, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and recent studies of nursing salaries. The median salary for a nurse with a BSN is more than the median salary for registered nurses with nursing diplomas or associate degrees.

Nurses who have earned a BSN can also look forward to professional advancement. They are qualified for managerial positions such as head nurse, department chief and administrative manager, and are prepared to enter programs for advanced degrees to become nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse managers and nurse practitioners.

A nurse who earns a bachelor's degree though an online RN to BSN program is well prepared to become a leader in the health care industry. Most importantly, though, nurses who have a BSN are instrumental in providing superior patient care and effecting better outcomes.

Learn more about LSUA’s online RN to BSN program.


Pérez-Peña, R. (2012, June 23). More Stringent Requirements Send Nurses Back to School. Retrieved May 5, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/education/changing-requirements-send-nurses-back-to-school.html

The Future of Nursing: Focus on Education – Institute of Medicine. (2011, January 26). Retrieved May 5, 2015, from http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2010/The-Future-of-Nursing/Future%20of%20Nursing%202010%20Report%20Brief.pdf

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