Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN) is a major accomplishment that opens up career paths in hospitals, doctors’ offices and other healthcare settings as well as in non-clinical settings such as pharmaceutical companies. Like any profession, however, the level of education you have makes a difference in your ability to move into certain positions and settings and make more money.
If you’ve already earned an associate degree in nursing (ADN), you’ve taken the first step towards a career where the demand is high and projected to continue to grow. It also allows you to return to school to obtain a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) with Sullivan University’s RN to BSN program.
Why the BSN matters
Healthcare has changed in the past few decades, explains Carla Carter, MSN, BSN, RN. Carter, the dean of nursing at Sullivan University, has been a nurse for 33 years and she’s seen the transformation firsthand. “Initially, the focus was on taking care of the sick, but the current focus is on prevention,” says Carter.
In part, the shift was driven by an aging population that is expected to grow significantly in the United States over the next few decades. Helping keep people healthier not only benefits older Americans, it also helps reduce overall healthcare costs. Nurses play a critical role in preventive care, educating patients of all ages on how to care for themselves and have a healthier lifestyle.
Nurses of today also are caring for an increasingly diverse population. “Nurses need to take into account their patients’ cultural background and beliefs,” says Carter. In Sullivan University’s RN to BSN program, the emphasis is on providing students with a holistic perspective, including the cultural, social, economic, community and leadership issues that impact patients and shape nursing care.
Carter also notes that studies show that nurses with a BSN produce better outcomes for their patients. Research found that hospitals scored higher on overall quality of care when they had a higher number of nurses with bachelor’s degrees, which helped drive the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 recommendation to increase the number of nurses with a BSN from 50 percent to 80 percent by 2020.
She also adds that having a BSN may be a requirement if you want to work at a hospital with Magnet status. The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program® is granted to hospitals that meet rigorous standards for nursing excellence, including job satisfaction and professional growth. In 2015, Magnet status was held by only 8% of U.S. hospitals, many of which are regularly recognized as some of the best hospitals in the country. One of the Magnet requirements is for all nurses in leadership roles, such as the director of quality, to hold at least a BSN.
Whether you want to advance your career or build on your ADN foundation, the RN to BSN program at Sullivan University’s College of Nursing can help. As a registered nurse who has earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, Carter knows the challenges of pursuing a degree while working.
“Our RN to BSN program is completely online, so students can fit their schoolwork into their work schedules and other responsibilities” she says. And the program isn’t limited to those in the Louisville area. “We have RNs from other cities in Kentucky and from other states who are earning their BSN at Sullivan.”
It’s not just the online flexibility that helps RN to BSN students; it’s also in how quickly they can earn their bachelor’s at Sullivan. “If they have all their prerequisites, students can complete their core classes in only 15 months,” Carter explains. Because the program is for students who already have an ADN and are licensed in their state, they are given “60 block credits right off the top,” she adds, which helps expedite the process.
The nursing courses are accelerated with a focus on team-based learning, but without sacrificing the quality of the education. “The courses are taught by experienced professionals, most of whom hold a master’s degree,” says Carter. The cost of the program has been lowered as well by reducing the credit hour rate, she says, but with no loss of academic rigor.
“Our program is dynamic and adapts to the emerging needs of students today, but it is written to comprehensively cover the nine BSN essentials outlined by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing,” she notes. AACN Essentials are national standards for curriculum content and expected competencies for bachelor’s, master’s, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.
If you’re an RN who already has an ADN, earning your BSN is an important next step to further your career and earn more money. Take charge of your future now and you could earn your bachelor’s degree in less than two years. And, take note, the tuition for Sullivan’s core nursing classes has been reduced to $175 a credit hour for those pursing their BSN.
Find out more information on Sullivan University’s RN to BSN program, click here.