Oklahoma City University Online Nursing Blog
RN to BSN programs: Advancing your nursing education and career

RN to BSN programs: Advancing your nursing education and career

Portrait group of diverse female nurses standing together.

In the health care industry, change is the norm; therefore, health care professionals need to understand the latest industry trends and technological advancements. Through continuing education, nurses can acquire new skills and knowledge to enhance their clinical expertise. For example, registered nurses (RNs) dedicated to patient care can advance their education and career by earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

The bridge from RN to BSN is more than an academic transition–it's a transformative leap forward. Earning a BSN will help you increase your knowledge, broaden your skillset, and enhance your clinical acumen. In addition, you'll position yourself for leadership roles and greater earning potential while shaping the future of nursing.

Earning a BSN can be a pivotal step in your career. Read on to explore the benefits and opportunities available to you with a BSN degree.

The current state of BSN-prepared nursing

During the pandemic, the health care industry experienced a paradigm-shifting moment that transformed the nursing profession. With the increasing complexity of patient care and the rapid evolution of the health care system, the demand for BSN-prepared nurses has surged.

There are nearly 5.2 million RNs in the U.S., which makes nursing the nation's largest health care profession. Of all licensed RNs, 89% are employed in nursing jobs.1 As of 2022, 71.7% of the RN workforce had earned a baccalaureate or higher degree as the pinnacle of their nursing education.1

Career projections are also positive for BSN-prepared nurses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects about 193,000 RN job openings each year, and that the overall employment of RNs will grow by 6% between 2022 and 2032.2

While these projections highlight the growing need for RNs, the need for BSN-prepared nurses is also expected to grow as the health care industry evolves. In fact, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) reports that 28% of employers now require nurses to have a BSN and 72% strongly prefer it.1 These statistics demonstrate the positive effect that a BSN degree can have on your career opportunities.

The BSN advantage in modern health care

The health care landscape is changing, with a growing emphasis on holistic patient care, interdisciplinary collaboration, and evidence-based practices. As an RN, earning a BSN can advance your career in several key ways.

In addition to foundational nursing skills, BSN programs including the Oklahoma City University RN-BSN bridge program explore areas like public health, nursing research and theory, and health care policy. This robust curriculum ensures graduates can offer the best patient care possible.

By earning a BSN, you can expand your health care career opportunities. For example, you can apply to be a charge nurse, nursing manager, or chief nursing officer, allowing you to oversee nursing operations and influence administrative decisions.

Finally, many health care institutions now prefer or even mandate BSN degrees for certain roles. Some states even require that all RNs obtain a BSN. For example, in 2017, the New York State Senate passed legislation requiring that all RPNs get a bachelor's degree within 10 years of initial licensure.3

Financial benefits of an RN to BSN degree

In today's competitive job market, a BSN sets you apart and provides tangible financial benefits such as increased earning potential, job security, and career longevity.

One of the most tangible benefits of a BSN is the potential for a higher salary. An RN with an ADN (associate degree) earns an average salary of about $76,000 per year.4 On the other hand, a BSN-prepared RN earns about $92,000 per year.5

Other notable benefits include job security and career longevity. BSN-prepared RNs are highly praised and in great demand. According to the AACN, nurses with a BSN are more skilled in critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion, and they have the flexibility to practice across a wide variety of settings. In addition, organizations throughout the health care industry, including federal and military agencies, nursing organizations, health care foundations, Magnet hospitals, and minority nurse advocacy groups, recognize the value of BSN-prepared nurses.6

Expand your horizons with a BSN

A BSN lays the foundation to enter a variety of nursing specializations, including pediatric care, oncology, and cardiac nursing. Furthermore, if you ever aspire to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), a BSN is a foundational step.7 It also sets the stage for further education, such as a master's or doctoral degree.

Beyond clinical care, BSN-prepared nurses are often at the forefront of health care research. A BSN allows you to participate in clinical trials and contribute to academic journals. Your newly-gained insights and expertise can also influence health care policies and protocols, ensuring patient care is always at the forefront.

Elevate your nursing career with OCU's RN-BSN program

With the right mindset, transitioning from an RN to a BSN can be a rewarding journey. With bridge programs like RN-BSN and the flexibility of online learning, the RN to BSN transition is efficient and seamless.

At Oklahoma City University (OCU), we've tailored our RN-BSN program to meet the unique needs of aspiring nurses. Our robust curriculum, designed by expert faculty, ensures you're equipped with the latest knowledge and best practices in nursing. Convenient online learning and the option to attend part-time or full-time help you balance your education with your other commitments, making the path to a BSN as seamless as possible.

OCU's convenient RN-BSN program is taught by experienced faculty and features a low 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring that you get the expert guidance you seek in a nursing bachelor's program. You can increase your knowledge and elevate your professional value with a choice of elective courses on topics including wellness, communications, math, statistics, and more.

Beyond the classroom, the networking opportunities available through OCU can connect you with professionals and thought leaders in the field, further enhancing your career prospects. Our unwavering commitment to excellence is evident in our streamlined application process and RN-BSN bridge program. In addition, you can pursue your BSN without the added pressures of clinical hours.

Oklahoma City University provides all the knowledge and resources you need to advance your nursing education and the flexibility to integrate your studies with your life. If you're ready to elevate your nursing career with OCU, reach out to an admissions outreach advisor and transform your future.

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