The Importance of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Explained

The Importance of a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Explained

Do you want a rewarding healthcare career that offers high job security and ample advancement opportunities? One of the best ways to increase your odds of making that your reality is by pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. Why?

Today’s rapidly evolving healthcare landscape and the increasing complexity of patient care continue to add to the responsibilities of the nursing profession, making the demand for highly skilled nurses in the workplace even greater than ever.

We outline those and other reasons that highlight the importance of a bachelor’s degree in nursing below.

What is a B.S. in Nursing?

A bachelor’s degree in nursing such as the one offered through Utica College’s Accelerated B.S. in Nursing (ABSN) program encompasses a broad, interdisciplinary approach geared toward helping students bolster their writing and research knowledge.

Besides receiving standard nurse training in clinics and hospitals, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing cites many baccalaureate-level nursing programs also include aspects of:

  • Community and patient education
  • Management and leadership
  • Health promotion
  • Clinical, scientific and decision making skills

A B.S. in Nursing from Utica College

Through our blended curriculum model, you can expect to receive a well-rounded education that prepares you to enter the workforce a confident, practice-ready nurse.

“Our students learn about leadership, the financial aspect of healthcare and the complexity of the industry. All are important for them to deal with the patients coming in the door in today’s hospitals as well as in the future as potential leaders in healthcare systems,” says Kimarie Jeffreys, director of nursing academic services for Utica College’s ABSN program.

As a student enrolled in our program, you’ll take the following interdisciplinary courses geared toward leadership, management and research:

  • NUR 326: Health Assessment
  • NUR 346: Care of Populations and Communities
  • NUR 312: Leadership and Informatics in Professional Nursing
  • NUR 411: Management in Professional Nursing
  • HLS 445: Clinical Research
  • NUR 412: Trends in Professional Nursing

Why earn a B.S. in Nursing?

What makes pursuing a baccalaureate nursing education, as opposed to another nursing degree, so worthwhile?

Better patient outcomes

Patient care continues to become more and more complex, leading nursing leaders to push for more baccalaureate-educated nurses in clinical settings. Why? Research supports the idea of education correlating with the quality of patient outcomes. According to a 2013 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study, hospitals with more baccalaureate-educated nurses reported lower rates of:

  • Pressure ulcers
  • Post-operative deep vein thrombosis
  • Hospital acquired infections
  • Post-surgical mortality

Changing industry demands

Healthcare employers and industry associations have taken notice of these outcomes in concert with the growing demands of the nursing profession, causing them to investigate the importance of a bachelor’s degree in nursing further.

The Institute of Medicine’s 2010 “Future of Nursing” report found “the ways in which nurses were educated during the 20th century are no longer adequate for dealing with the realities of health care in the 21st century,” and recommended 80 percent of nurses earn their B.S. in Nursing by 2020.

Higher job security

For many of the reasons above, more healthcare employers are seeking out baccalaureate-educated nurses. With a B.S. in Nursing, you’ll be in high demand as a job candidate. A 2015 employer survey conducted by the Florida Center for Nursing, for example, reveals 70% of Florida hospitals prefer to hire nursing school graduates with bachelor’s degrees.

More career advancement opportunities

Not only will a B.S. in Nursing increase your odds of getting hired, having such a degree sets a great foundation for further education for those who want to pursue advanced nursing specialty roles. Whether you desire a leadership position or advanced nursing specialty job such as nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist or nurse educator, more doors open for you — and that happens once you earn a bachelor’s of science in nursing.

That fact was a motivating factor for Utica College alumnus Terence, ABSN class of December 2017.

“I chose to earn my bachelor’s in nursing because having a B.S. in Nursing gives you a leg up over someone who has an associate’s if you’re trying for a management position,” he says.

Higher earning potential

Not to mention, while there’s a high upfront cost with pursuing a baccalaureate degree in nursing, you’ll have a high return on your investment once you graduate and start working. As of May 2017, RNs with a B.S. in Nursing can earn up to a mean annual wage of about $73,550, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many hospitals also offer incentive programs to encourage nurses to advance their education, so that could help defray some of the cost of paying for advanced credentials, too.

More states may soon mandate it

Career advancement opportunities aside, some states have set ratio standards for hiring nurses with bachelor’s degrees for many of the reasons outlined above. That means you may soon have to earn a B.S. in Nursing if you want to be a nurse.

The most publicized example is New York’s so-called “BSN in 10” legislation, which became law Dec. 19, 2017, and requires nurses in that state to earn their B.S. in Nursing within 10 years of working as a nurse.

What is BSN in 10?

The law states: “In order to continue to maintain registration as a registered professional nurse in New York state, (nurses must) have attained a baccalaureate degree or higher in nursing within 10 years of initial licensure,” effective immediately.

What does BSN in 10 mean for me?

For licensure in New York: Going forward, RNs working in New York state who don’t receive a B.S. in Nursing within 10 years will have their license suspended. Right now, RNs with a New York license are grandfathered in regardless of degree level. Current nursing students enrolled in nursing programs within New York are also exempt from the bill.

For licensure in other states: While BSN in 10 is not the law in other states, many, including New Jersey, are considering the value of passing similar legislation. As of May 2018, laws similar to BSN in 10 have the support of the American Nurses Association, all the state action coalitions, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, so it’s looking likely similar legislation soon will be up for consideration elsewhere, too.

Are there online accelerated BS in nursing programs?

Yes and No. Nursing programs that are “online” are made up of three elements: online coursework, in-person simulation and skills labs, and clinical rotations that take place at area healthcare facilities. These programs offer online flexibility but are not 100% online.

Earning a B.S. in Nursing is more accessible than ever

As you can see, a B.S. in Nursing can only help your career in the end. The good news is you don’t have to wait to earn it. If you qualify for Utica College’s accredited ABSN program, you can earn your degree in as few as 16 months. And with three start dates a year, you can skip a waitlist and get on the road to nursing sooner.

If you have a prior bachelor’s degree (or at least 65 undergraduate credits completed if you’re considering one of our Florida site locations), we can help you determine if our program is the right fit for you. Contact one of our admission representatives today to find out!

Don't Wait on Your Nursing Future

Our ABSN has three start dates a year, so you can begin nursing school whenever you're ready.

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