An RN-to-BSN degree can help advance your career and allow you to explore a variety of new healthcare occupations by providing a fast track option to upgrading your skills. This program is designed for nursing professionals who are either finishing up their nursing degree or are already practicing as a Registered Nurse (RN). In both cases, an RN-to-BSN program can help you earn a bachelor’s degree faster.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for registered nurses with a BSN are likely to be much better than for those without a bachelor’s degree. If you want to learn more about this qualification, the following guide provides a comprehensive overview of the RN-to-BSN degree.
Job Outlook with a BSN Degree
Nursing professionals with a BSN degree can become Registered Nurses (RNs) in various healthcare capacities. According to latest data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Registered Nurses are expected to experience a steady 7% growth in jobs from 2019 to 2029 with an addition of 221,900 new jobs.
The increasing older population segment will drive this high demand in nursing careers, since aged people typically have more health-related problems. Nurses will also be needed to care for patients who have chronic illnesses such as dementia, obesity, diabetes and arthritis.
Besides that, there is a lot of financial pressure on hospitals to discharge patients as early as possible, which might cause more people being admitted into long-term healthcare facilities and outpatient care centers, which are largely staffed by nursing professionals. Registered Nurses are also expected to be high in demand in home healthcare settings where long-term medical assistance is required for aging members of the society.
Careers for RN-to-BSN Graduates
RN-to-BSN graduates can find employment in several healthcare sectors, depending on their passion. For instance, qualified RN’s can become Pediatric Nurses, ICU Nurses, Surgical Nurses, Physician’s Office Nurses, School Nurses, Research Nurses, Legal Consultancy Nurses, Diabetes Management Nurses, Nurse Case Managers, Cruise Ship Nurses, Prison Nurses, Pharmaceutical Nurses, Public Health Nurses, Home Health Nurses and so on. Some of these career paths may require additional certifications or specializations.
How Much Can I Make With a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing?
The amount you earn after completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) would depend on the career path you choose. On average, Registered Nurses (RNs) in the US made an annual median income of $75,330 per year in May 2020.
The top paying industries for Registered Nurses were Business Support Services, with an annual mean wage of $106,670, Pharmaceutical and Medicine Manufacturing industry, with an annual mean wage of $96,230 and Office Administration Services, with an annual mean wage of $89,490.
The top paying states for Registered Nurses were California, with an annual mean wage of $120,560, Hawaii, with an annual mean wage of $104,830, Massachusetts, with an annual mean wage of $96,250, Oregon, with an annual mean wage of $96,230 and Alaska, with an annual mean wage of $95,270.
All salary figures above have been extracted from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for May 2020.
How Can You Complete an RN-to-BSN Program?
In order to complete an RN-to-BSN degree, aspiring nurses will have to follow certain steps and fulfill several education and experience requirements. The following steps will clarify the path to completing an RN-to-BSN program.
A high school diploma is the basic requirement for any nursing degree. We advise students to focus on subjects like math and chemistry while in school.
This is a 2-year long qualification that provides a fundamental knowledge of the vast field of nursing.
After completing your ADN, students will have to clear the NCLEX-RN exam and get their license to practice.
This 1-year-extensive program can help you fast-track your nursing education and move into more advanced career roles.
Different Kinds of Bridge Degree Programs in Nursing
Nursing professionals have a considerable variety of bridge degree programs to choose from. Have a look at the following bridge degrees available to nurses in the US.
- RN-to-BSN Programs
- RN-to-MSN Programs
- RN-to-DNP Programs
Benefits of an RN-to-BSN Degree
With an increase in demand for nursing professionals in the US, the job market for Registered Nurses has become increasingly competitive. This has made it more important for aspiring nurses to go for more advanced degrees with better career options and higher pay scales. There are several benefits of getting an RN-to-BSN degree, as discussed below.
- More Career Opportunities: An RN-to-BSN degree would open up a wide realm of careers for nursing professionals. Bachelor-level nurses can find employment opportunities in administration, leadership, clinical nursing and nursing education.
- Higher Employment Rates: BSN graduates can typically find employment quicker than RNs, with employers showing a strong preference towards hiring nurses with at least a BSN degree.
- Preparation for Higher Education: The next step for RN-to-BSN graduates can be an MSN degree. Do note that all MSN degree admission requirements include the completion of a BSN program.
- Fast-Track Option: An RN-to-BSN degree typically takes just 12 months to complete, as opposed to the 4 years that a traditional BSN degree would require.
Admission Requirements for an RN-to-BSN Program
Admission requirements for an RN-to-BSN program would vary according to past education credentials, experience, and nursing school you are applying to. Students entering BSN programs through this path might finish their degrees in around 9 to 12 months, depending on the number of prerequisites they have already cleared.
The most common admission requirements for an RN-to-BSN degree would be a minimum GPA of 3.0 in courses completed previously, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, completion of prerequisite coursework in science and statistics, personal statement, updated CV, criminal background check and complete vaccination records.
Curriculum of an RN-to-BSN Program
A BSN degree is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the field of nursing, along with coursework in other sciences and liberal arts. Typical coursework involved in an RN-to-BSN degree would be on the lines of Health Assessment and Communication, Community Healthcare, Management, Leadership and Healthcare Administration, Advance Nursing Theory, Applied Nursing Research, Evidence-Based Practice and Population-Focused Nursing. These courses would be besides foundation-level subjects such as physiology, microbiology, pharmacology and chemistry.
Clinical and Lab Components in an RN-to-BSN Program
In addition to theory-based coursework, RN-to-BSN programs also focus on clinical and lab components to enable students to grasp the concepts of nursing comprehensively. These components are usually completed through simulation labs or clinical work.
Simulation labs are clinical experiences created to enable nursing student to learn in a risk-free environment. Clinical work, on the other hand, is highly supervised field experience that enables nursing students to learn about patient care skills, implementation of nursing concepts and community care.
What Can You Expect from an Online RN-to-BSN Program?
An online RN-to-BSN program would typically last around 9 to 12 months, depending on your previous qualifications and experience. In this one year, you can expect to get a comprehensive understanding of the field of nursing and its many subject areas.
Students looking for a flexible study schedule can opt for an online RN-to-BSN degree, while working full time as a registered nurse or keeping up with personal responsibilities. However, do note that online or distance learning can be challenging for some students. Therefore, careful consideration must be taken before enrolling in an online RN-to-BSN program.
Some online RN-to-BSN programs would also include compulsory on-campus classes, while all programs would require students to complete clinical hours at a local healthcare facility or lab. Clinical hours can be completed in the facility where the students already work or in healthcare centers identified by the institute.
How do Nursing Bridge Programs Work?
Bridge programs is a term used to define accelerated degrees that provide a fast-track option to complete a specific nursing qualification. These programs usually cater to the needs of students who are already working as Registered Nurses or aspiring nurses who want to build on their previous degrees to move on to more advanced qualifications.
ADN vs BSN: How are they Different?
The American Associate of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics have both identified BSN degrees as the minimum qualification for better nursing opportunities. While employers continue to hire those with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), there is a notable shift in preference towards BSN graduates. The following list helps outline certain differences between an ADN and a BSN degree.
- Years of Study: An ADN degree requires two years to complete, while a BSN requires 4 years to complete. Registered Nurses can complete a BSN in two or fewer years as well.
- Focus of Study: An ADN degree would largely focus on basic clinical skills and general healthcare education, whereas a BSN would provide a more advanced and detailed insight into nursing.
- Employment Opportunities: A BSN degree would offer a bigger variety of career options along with better salary figures, as compared to an ADN.
- Employer Preferences: An increasing number of employers now choose to hire BSN degree holders over ADN graduates.