What makes for an outstanding registered nurse? Is it education or compassionate caregiving? Unquestionably, it is a combination of both, but education is becoming an increasingly critical part of the equation. Many hospitals are requiring new hires to have a bachelor's degree and for current staff to further their education in order to improve patient outcomes. However, some nurses think obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) may be expensive, time-consuming and not worth the trouble. Here are some common misconceptions nurses have about enrolling in an RN to BSN online program.
- "An online RN to BSN won't make me a better nurse."
You may already be a great nurse, but healthcare is rapidly evolving, and earning your BSN can improve your practice and empower you to take on new challenges. You will gain greater knowledge and a better understanding of the complex role nurses play as an integral part of the healthcare team, a patient educator and advocate, and a vital figure in improving public and community health. Multiple research studies conducted over the last 20 years show a dramatic improvement in patient safety and outcomes when patients are cared for by BSN-prepared nurses.
- "An online RN to BSN won't change my salary."
Completing an online RN to BSN may not immediately translate into a higher salary, although some employers will offer increased compensation. However, a baccalaureate degree will give you access to more opportunities for career advancement. Most hospitals and healthcare employers require a minimum of a BSN for promotions to management and leadership roles. Additionally, a BSN prepares you to work in public health, military and K-12 school settings.
- "I don't have time to attend classes."
Most nurses have unpredictable work-life schedules that make it difficult to attend an on-campus program while maintaining a full-time career. However, online RN to BSN programs allow you the flexibility to watch lectures and complete your coursework anytime, anywhere. Online programs also eliminate the commute to campus, which allows you to use the time you would have spent traveling on studying.
- "My employer won't think my online RN to BSN is valid."
While there are "diploma mills" out there, many highly respected, well-established universities offer accredited, online nursing programs. In fact, there is no difference in the value of a degree earned online or one earned on campus.
- "Earning an RN to BSN online is too expensive."
Many employers, recognizing the value of a BSN-prepared nursing staff, view tuition assistance for RN to BSN degrees as an investment in productivity, patient safety and satisfaction, and the efficiency of care delivery. Magnet® designated hospitals in particular often offer many types of incentives to help RNs earn a bachelor's degree. There are also many scholarships, grants and loan forgiveness programs available to stem the nursing shortage, so you may be eligible for considerable financial aid programs.
- "I don't want to do unpaid clinicals."
Many RN to BSN online programs allow you to complete your clinical requirements through simulated experiences or through relevant work assignments within your current job. Because RN to BSN programs focus on expanding critical thinking and interpreting research and integrating it into practice, there are no skill-based clinical requirements like those completed in pre-licensure programs.
Not only is completing a BSN program feasible, but in the increasingly complex 21st-century healthcare environment, it is a necessity. The National Academy of Medicine, formerly the Institute of Medicine, has called for 80 percent of registered nurses to hold a bachelor's degree by 2020. In addition to the knowledge you will gain, earning your RN to BSN online builds a sense of accomplishment and confidence that can only enhance the outstanding care you provide.
Learn more about the Purdue Northwest RN to BSN online nursing program.
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