HealthApril 30, 2017

Nursing educators: Stress the importance of a BSN in nursing, your students will thank you

In order to successfully face the challenge of an increasing aging population and pending nursing shortage, nursing education programs need to increase the number of nurses they are graduating with BSN degrees.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a shortage of more than 1 million registered nurses by 2022. Between 2010 and 2030, one in five Americans will be a senior citizen - an aging population that will increasingly require skilled health care.

With that aging general population also comes an aging nursing workforce. Around 1 million registered nurses are currently older than 50, meaning one-third of the current nursing workforce will reach retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years.

The statistics are startling, painting a picture of a health care system pushed to its limits. But that's not all.

Nursing education programs are regularly turning away viable nursing candidates because they lack sufficient numbers of professional nursing instructors. There are huge supplies of students wanting to be nurses to help alleviate these health care stresses, but the fabric of our nation's nursing education system simply can"t handle the numbers.

The solution? Increase the proportion of nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree.

The imperative to nurse educators? Evolve our current nursing educational programs and encourage nurses at all levels of educational achievement to continue as life-long learners.

Approximately 60 percent of new nurse graduates are currently educated in associate degree programs. In 2010, the IOM recommended that the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degrees be increased to 80 percent by 2020.

Since that report was released, many colleges and universities with nursing schools adopted new programs to facilitate academic progression. A number of these nursing education programs have aligned with online instruction and simulations such as those offered by Wolters Kluwer to boost the number of BSN degrees.

Understanding the limited ability of many existing nursing education programs to meet this demand under more traditional classroom methods, nursing education can conceivably accommodate a larger number of students with current professional nursing educators by aligning with online resources available.

What are the benefits of a BSN Degree vs RN?

Equipped with the right resources to boost the number of BSN degrees, nursing education programs can highlight the expansive benefits of continuing education for all nurses.

There is compelling evidence that a BSN education benefits all related stakeholders - patients and their families and communities, healthcare centers, and the nurse him or herself.

1. BSN Holders Make More Money finds that there are large differences in salary for people with only an RN, compared to a BSN. 2014 data shows that an RN earns a median of $39,100, while a BSN holder earns $69,000.

2. Some Nursing Careers Open Only to BSN Holders

With a BSN, nurses will have many more options with higher responsibility to correspond with that higher pay. People with a BSN can choose to be a nurse educator, a public health nurse, or to specialize in specific age groups or diseases.

A BSN also is a stepping stone to the best nursing jobs, such as nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist and clinical nurse specialist. All of those jobs require a master of science in nursing, or MSN.

3. Research Shows That BSN Holders Offer Better Patient Care

The American Association of the Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has collected extensive research that indicates that higher nursing education makes a major difference in clinical outcomes. Nurses with a BSN have better patient outcomes, including lower mortality rates, lower failure to rescue rates, lower medical errors and higher proficiency in making good diagnoses.

A BSN education broadens student competencies in such arenas as health policy and health care financing, community and public health, leadership, quality improvement, and systems thinking.

4. Hospitals Seek ‘Magnet” Designation, and Want Higher Educated Nurses

The ‘magnet” designation, awarded by the American Nurses Association, is highly coveted by hospitals. One of the key requirements of earning the designation is the education level of the nursing staff. The greater the percentage of nurses with either a BSN, MSN or other graduate level degree, the greater the strength of the application for magnet designation.

5. Earning a BSN May Be a Requirement in the Future

Nurses are being strongly encouraged to get their BSN within five years of earning a diploma or an associate's degree as a result of the IOM report findings.

The AACN is following the recommendations of the IOM and is making the recommendation that nurses get their BSN within five years of earning a diploma or an associate's degree. Following these large, respected medical institutions, employers in the health care field could require that their nurses earn their BSN by 2020 or face termination.

Lippincott RN to BSN Online is designed to help both existing and new RN-BSN programs provide the quality of education that is needed to not only fill the nursing shortage gap, but also bring well-deserved benefits to those achieving higher levels of nursing education.

Lippincott RN to BSN was developed with the practicing nurse in mind, with self-paced modules that capture the learner where they are in their career, and exceptional instructional design strategies - including storytelling, modeling, case-based, social, and collaborative learning - to achieve higher outcomes in an online environment.

Because RN to BSN students are already practicing nurses, the resources were developed to capture that learner where they are in their career. The resources build upon students” existing knowledge base and transform them into thinking like a baccalaureate-level nurse, which requires actively engaging in higher level critical thinking and application.

It's not just the student who is set on a successful path to achieving higher outcomes. Lippincott RN to BSN Instructor Resources ease the way for nurse instructors to reach each student effectively. The Instructor Resources contains overarching course resources such as:

  • Guidelines for Successful Online Instruction
  • Individual and Group Assignments
  • Competency Maps
  • Scholarly Writing in Nursing: Best Practices

Additionally, each Major Learning Outcome includes the following Instructor Resources:

  • Case Studies
  • Discussion Board Questions and Grading Rubrics
  • Journal Articles and Literature Assessment Activities

Our innovation elevates RN to BSN online courses to the next level.

Click here to learn more about Lippincott RN to BSN Online.

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