For some, choosing to become a nurse is easy. Maybe they have always known what they want to do and wanted to reach that goal as soon as possible. However, some nurses who chose to pursue an associate’s degree in nursing are now returning to school to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Here, one of our guest bloggers shares her reasoning behind returning to school and earning her BSN and the difference between associates and bachelors in nursing.
Being a nurse is a lifelong dream realized. Not many people have the opportunity to do what they love and get paid for it. I am always grateful for this opportunity.
My Journey to Nursing
When I was younger, I knew what I wanted to be. I doubted myself and didn’t give myself enough credit. I delayed going to nursing school through much of my early 20s. This isn’t a decision I regret, however; it was just my journey to where I was supposed to be. I will tell you this though; when I got into nursing school at the age of 24, I was ready to be done and graduated before I even started. I was excited to get through my program and to start working and taking care of people. I chose a nursing school that offered an ASN, which means I have an Associates of Applied Science in Nursing. After successful completion of school I sat for my boards, and 75 questions later, I was a registered nurse. I was ready to begin my professional career.
“If you don’t love to teach others, you shouldn’t go into nursing.”
I have learned so much the last five years as a nurse, and I continue to grow every day. I am evolving as a leader and an educator, two things all nurses should strive to be. A physician told me once “If you don’t love to teach others, you shouldn’t go into medicine,” and I have learned he was very right. All day long I teach. You run to the grocery store after work in your scrubs, and the cashier has a quick question about her new diagnosis of hypertension; I teach the importance of taking her medication as prescribed. The doctor diagnosis an unconscious patient with a subdural hematoma; I teach the family what that means. A new nurse I am precepting needs to know how to set up an Art Line measurement; I’m there to teach and explain every step.
In doing all of this wonderful bedside care, all which goes hand in hand with teaching, I can see myself expanding my role to continue to serve others. I see myself going beyond the bedside role. I see myself in leadership roles, whether they be as a house supervisor or in the education department. In seeing this, I also see the need to expand and develop my education. I am working towards my Bachelor of Science in Nursing to accomplish this.
The Decision to Earn My BSN
Getting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing isn’t just something I want for myself; it is something I need of myself if I want to serve in these other leadership capacities. Most, if not all, leadership roles require nurses to have two things; years of experience and a BSN. This is the key difference between an associates and bachelors in nursing. A bachelor’s degree isn’t “just a piece of paper.” It is an education that allows you to expand your mind and thought process at the same time. It is an opportunity to better your education, and, in doing this, it helps you to better serve those you lead, which ultimately benefits the person that entrust his or her health and well-being to you.
There was a time when experience was a good replacement for a BSN, but those days are gone. I currently work with three nurses who each have over 25 years of bedside nursing experience, and all three are in school to obtain their BSN. They want to expand their roles as nurses, and they want to better serve the patients of our communities. I am relatively young, 31, but I don’t want to be 51 going back to school for a job I could have had at 41 with a great education behind me.
Going the ASN route was wonderful for me. It took two years, and I was at the bedside taking care of patients and learning so much. I now have a wonderful job that is paying for my BSN. For me, this was the perfect journey. For some, the perfect journey it’s starting at a four year university and starting a career with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. To each their own; you have to settle on your own path. And mine is swimming along just great.
If you are interested in learning more about earning your Accelerated BSN, contact an academic advisor today.