The demand and employment opportunities for registered nurses (RN) will continue to grow over the next decade due in part to the health needs of a large, aging, and longer living baby boomer population. Enrollment in RN to BSN (bachelor’s of science in nursing) programs has increased accordingly. A small but growing number of hospitals across the country are starting to require their nurses hold a BSN, and some states are considering bills that require hospital staff nurses have a bachelor’s degree. Although one can become an RN with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a diploma from an accredited nursing program, hospitals generally favor job candidates with a BSN.
Graduate nursing programs in research, consulting, and teaching require applicants hold a BSN. RNs with a BSN are also eligible to pursue a master’s degree to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). A BSN is also necessary for a career in an administrative or teaching position in the field of nursing.
Many community and traditional four-year colleges now offer RN to BSN degree programs 100% online. In addition to patient care, nurses study subjects that include public health, critical thinking, communication, and leadership. Given the current need for qualified nurses and changes in the hiring practices of many hospitals, RNs with a BSN will enjoy higher job prospects and greater opportunities for career advancement.