In 2010, the Institute of Medicine released a report called, “The Future of Nursing.” The IOM made a strong recommendation in this report that 80% of practicing registered nurses should have their Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing by the year 2020.
While no amount of schooling is a substitute for hard-earned bedside experience, the BSN degree provides additional education in evidence-based practice and quality improvement tools that facilitate improved patient care. To this end, many medical centers are only hiring new employees with their BSN and are requiring their employees to obtain one in order to remain employed. Because of this hiring mindset shift, earning your BSN will open many doors for your career.
Take advantage of an Online RN-BSN Degree Program
Online RN-BSN degree programs allow busy practicing registered nurses to earn their BSN from home while remaining in the nursing workforce. Your current employer may even help with the cost of obtaining your BSN, especially if they are requiring it.
Hospitals boast a BSN differential – an extra dollar or more per hour simply because you earned your BSN. The Our Lady of the Lake College Online RN-to-BSN Degree Program costs $11,439. Depending on how long you plan to remain in the workforce, earning your BSN could pay for itself five to eight times! With all the opportunities your BSN will offer you, how do you decide which career path to take?
Which nursing specialty is right for you?
1. Your answer might be, the one you’re in! That’s fantastic. Your bedside experience is invaluable. Earning your BSN in an online RN-BSN degree program may help you keep your current position if it’s required by your employer.
However, it could also help you find opportunities in your current specialty that offer more responsibility and greater financial reward, as well. Perhaps you’d like to take on an educator or management role for your current unit. Additionally, earning your BSN makes you eligible for further schooling to become an advanced practice nurse, or nurse practitioner, in your chosen specialty.
2. Are you an adrenaline junkie? Completing an RN to BSN program online will open up opportunities for you in emergency departments and intensive care units in trauma centers and other large hospitals. Your days could revolve around titrating life-saving drips, maintaining artificial airways, and managing care for critically ill patients.
Another high-octane career opportunity is the field of transport nursing. You’ll drive or fly to an off-site location with only what’s in your pack to stabilize and transport heart attack, motor vehicle accident, or gunshot victims back to the hospital. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get hired into an ICU or emergency department without already having your foot in the door. To set yourself up for success following your RN to BSN program, be sure to shadow on your desired unit; also, you could get an RN position in the same hospital or system and apply for a transfer once you graduate.
3. Are you raising a family? Is the idea of having summers, weekends, and holidays off just too good to pass up? Perhaps a career as a school nurse is the right choice for you. Out of the grind of the hospital, as a school nurse you’ll treat headaches, bumps and bruises, and assist with health screenings for the children of your school, among other things.
4. Are you ready to leave the bedside but want to still help patients in the hospital? With the increasing complexity of U.S. healthcare, many hospitals are turning to care coordination to help keep patients from falling through the cracks of the system. They are utilizing BSN-prepared nurses to work with patients, their families, their providers, and their insurance companies prior to discharge to secure the necessary supportive services for them.
As a Care Coordinator, you’ll learn the resources that are available in your area and help patients return home successfully. Discuss with your nurse manager any care coordinator positions that may be available in your unit and hospital.
5. Do you want to stay at the bedside but want a change from caring for adults? Pediatrics could be the perfect option for you! Pediatric nursing requires an entirely different set of skills than adult nursing, since kids aren’t just tiny adults. You will be challenged in entirely new ways, but making a sick kiddo smile is incredibly rewarding. Volunteer as a camp nurse or assist with local pediatric health screenings to make your resume even more impressive to hiring managers.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on a career path. Earning your bachelor’s degree in an online RNBSN degree program is the perfect opportunity to move ahead on your current career path or forge a new one. Research the requirements, job opportunities, and salary potentials of your prospective career paths to determine which one is right for you Visit the Our Lady of the Lake College Online RN-to-BSN Degree Program to learn more about enrolling in an RN-to-BSN Program online and landing your dream job.