Nurses who have completed an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and are already working in the field may be hesitant to further invest in their education. Between demanding job schedules and family responsibilities, they likely have little free time for self-care, let alone pursuing another degree.
However, the lack of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may limit one's career opportunities, as employers have a growing preference for the knowledge and skill sets BSN-prepared nurses bring. An online RN to BSN program offers a flexible format for working nurses interested in advancing their education and career.
Why Should You Consider a BSN?
Although an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) prepares you for well-paying jobs, your career prospects and opportunities for advancement are often limited. This is mainly due to a shift in entry-level nursing requirements over the past decade.
In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), called the National Academy of Medicine since 2015, issued a report called The Future of Nursing. The IOM offered a series of recommendations to ensure that the nursing workforce would be adequately prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.
These recent changes in healthcare are a result of aging Baby Boomers who are expected to place substantial demands on the system due to their longer lifespans and high prevalence of chronic conditions. Similarly, a considerable number of nurses (an estimated 500,000) are nearing retirement age. Roughly one out of every eight RNs is expected to leave the workforce by 2022, according to the American Nurses Association (ANA).
Additional challenges include the need for nurses to provide culturally competent care to a more diverse patient population in the coming years, as well as equitably distribute healthcare services in the face of widening health disparities.
To help nurses succeed in the emerging environment, the report recommended that 80% of the nursing workforce earn a BSN by 2020. As a result, schools of nursing have revamped baccalaureate-level nursing curricula to incorporate critical subjects such as research, leadership and population health topics. The primary goal of advancing education beyond an associate degree is so nurses can function at the fullest scope of practice.
Is an Online RN to BSN Program Right for Me?
Although an RN to BSN online program may not be the perfect fit for every nurse, it can be a viable option for many. Plus, since 82% of healthcare employers strongly prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses and 43% now require the degree, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), those who wish to remain competitive in the workforce and reach their career goals have much to gain by earning a BSN.
Here are some additional advantages of an online RN to BSN program:
Flexibility. With all classes conducted virtually, you will not need to commute or significantly rearrange family responsibilities. Choose to login from anywhere and coordinate a study plan that works with your lifestyle.
Affordability. Another significant consideration for an online RN to BSN program is cost. With total tuition under $9K, the online RN to BSN program at William Paterson University (WP) offers an affordable option for working nurses. Since you can remain employed while completing the program, you also retain access to potential employer-sponsored benefits, like tuition reimbursement, which may further minimize out-of-pocket expenses.
Accelerated pacing. Adult learners already have many other obligations, so juggling multiple classes simultaneously is not usually an ideal format. In an online degree program, you can choose to focus on just one or two courses at a time, with each course lasting seven weeks. You can complete the entire RN to BSN online program at William Paterson University in as few as 12 months.
As a working nurse, you may face the challenge of finding an educational pathway that complements your lifestyle and wallet. An online degree program may be a great fit for nurses who are seeking flexibility and affordability so that they can quickly earn a BSN and remain competitive in the field.
Learn more about William Paterson University's online RN to BSN program.
Sources:The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: The Future of Nursing
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