Though you can become a registered nurse with an associate degree in nursing (ADN), a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) can help your career in many ways. This baccalaureate nursing degree can:
- Make you a more desirable candidate to hospitals, clinics, and other medical institutions
- Qualify you to command a higher salary
- Give you greater depth of knowledge, enabling you to perform your work with more confidence and skill
- Help you progress in a particular nursing specialization
- Prepare you to further your education as an advanced practice nurse
What can you do with a BSN? A whole lot more than you can do without it!
Types of Nursing Careers and Specializations
Nurses with BSNs and MSNs (master of science in nursing) can specialize in their area of interest. With these degrees, you can go beyond serving as a registered nurse in a hospital or clinic and pursue a track toward one of these gratifying roles:
- Neonatal nurse
- Pediatric nurse
- Critical care nurse
- Psychiatric nurse
- Pain management nurse
- Nurse educator
- Nurse midwife
- Oncology nurse
- Nurse anesthetist
- Geriatric nurse
- Nursing administrator
- Hospice nurse
Is a BSN Required for Nursing?
The United States has a shortage of nurses, but the demand for nursing quality has not gone down—in fact, the opposite is true. A BSN, though it’s not always required, is becoming more and more important to employers—with good reason.
Healthcare continues to become more specialized and complex, and the healthcare needs of our nation are changing. The more educated and capable nurses are, the better the outcomes for patients and the institutions delivering their care.
A study reported in The Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety found that nurses with BSNs reported being significantly better prepared than those with associate degrees in 12 out of 16 areas related to quality and safety.
It’s no surprise that more education provides better qualifications, and that a BSN represents a demonstrable advantage.
More Than Half of US Registered Nurses Have a BSN
More and more aspiring nurses are opting for BSN careers.
- Nationwide, the percentage of registered nurses who hold a bachelor of science in nursing or above is at an all-time high of about 56%, up from about 49% in 2010.
- In Michigan, more than 50% of registered nurses now hold bachelor’s degrees, which has increased by more than 5% in the past decade.
“BSN in 10” Laws
In 2017, New York State enacted a “BSN in 10” law. It requires registered nurses graduating from associate degree or diploma nursing programs to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing degree within 10 years of their licensure.
Rhode Island and New Jersey have worked to pass “BSN in 10” laws as well, and other states likely will, too, in an effort to raise the quality of their nursing workforce overall.
How Long Does It Take to Earn a BSN?
Typically, a bachelor of science in nursing takes four years to complete. But if you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree, it’s possible to earn your BSN in as little as two years in an accelerated program.
Whichever route you take, you can feel confident that plenty of BSN jobs will be awaiting you when you finish your degree.
Rosseter, R. (2019, April). The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing. https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/Impact-of-Education
The College for the People. (2018, October 25). Will a BSN Degree Be Mandatory for RNs? Find Out All the Nurses Qualifications, Laws & Requirements by State. Nightingale College. https://nightingale.edu/blog/rn-bsn-requirements-by-state/