As a registered nurse, your biggest goal might have been to graduate and earn the right to practice, to deliver quality care and improve the lives of patients. Finishing up the associate’s degree in nursing is a great accomplishment. Passing the licensure exam and snagging a job within months of completing your degree is a testament to your ability to complete the course. But now that you’re employed, you’ll realize how important continuing education is to success in nursing. Nurses never stop learning. New research to improve care, changing policies and the incorporation of technology in all areas of practice demand continued growth. Nurses must improve their skills, knowledge, and technical abilities for growth and professional development.
Registered nurses must keep an eye on future trends, especially those that involve continuity in practice. The Institute of Medicine, in The Future of Nursing Report, recommended that 80 percent of the workforce hold a bachelor’s degree or higher by 2020. This recommendation increased enrollment in the bachelor’s degree in nursing and graduate nursing programs as RNs sought to stay ahead of the curve. Graduates are better able to keep up with advances in practice and use critical thinking by the examination of evidence to make informed decisions in practice.
The IOM’s recommendation raised awareness among health care employers, and a direct consequence is a rise in demand for nurses who hold a BSN degree. The RN to BSN program facilitates the seamless transition, enabling nurses to complete the BSN in one year. Graduates are prepared to meet the new standards of care and increase their prospects, salaries, and likelihood of completing graduate study.
Benefits of Progressing to a BSN Degree
As lifelong learners, nurses pursue opportunities to increase their knowledge, experience, and expertise for professional growth. For more than 65 percent of nurses in Wyoming, a career as a nurse began with the associate’s degree in nursing program. This foundational program grants graduates the eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN, but it should increase the desire for more learning. The BSN completion program is more complex as it covers pharmacology, pathophysiology, public health, communication, and leadership that will support the nursing process. The learning broadens and deepens to develop nurses who can communicate, adapt to changes, and lead.
If you’re contemplating achieving your BSN, know that you’re not alone. Enrollment is increasing in RN to BSN programs as RNs seek to build on their initial education gained at the associate degree or diploma level. There are numerous reasons to overlook the challenges and reap the benefits that holding a BSN affords. For many graduates, better compensation, job satisfaction, greater respect, leadership opportunities, and the confidence to pursue graduate studies are just of the rewards of higher education.
Almost a decade after dropping recommendations for the educational requirements for nurses in the complex health care system, associations such as the Institute of Medicine and the American Association of Colleges of Nurses are joined by experts and who recognize the need for better-educated nurses. Countless publications based on research confirm the need for increasing the education of nurses practicing in the complex health care environment. Mortality rates and errors decreased, and positive outlook increased when the majority of the patient care team held a bachelor’s degree or higher. Employers are well aware of the correlation between a nurse’s education and patient outcomes and are taking steps to boost the education of their workforce. Soon, keeping your position at a leading hospital may depend on your wiliness to go back to school.
Like many other states, Wyoming’s health care system is being crushed by a severe shortage of nursing in the workforce. Many ADN graduates begin working within a few months of licensure; some receive employment offers before they even graduate. While the market is favorable for nurses at this time, the outlook can change at a moment’s notice. As the state takes steps to increase the workforce, the eventual surplus can increase demands for a larger representation of BSNs within the workforce. When that time comes, those who took the time to complete the BSN will have a distinct advantage over those who are complacent.
In some situations, nurses who hold a BSN degree may command higher salaries. Both BSNs and ADNs carry the title of a registered nurse, and though employers prefer BSNs, they rarely make a distinction in the salary. A registered nurse who holds a BSN can take on additional responsibilities, lead teams, and improve patient outcomes to such an extent that he or she can use the degree for negotiating a better salary. Backed by a year or more of experience, there’s a good chance that employers will pay more to a BSN nurse who has the ability to function as a team leader in the coordination of care.
The emphasis of the RN to BSN curriculum lies in developing tomorrow’s leaders who can use technology to improve patient outcomes, play an active role in public health, go into communities and educate on the prevention of disease and promotion of health, and embrace continuous learning to improve the profession. Graduates can continue working in traditional clinical settings or transition into roles beyond patient care. Patient care can be rewarding, but the shortage of nurses often places staff in positions where they are overworked from long shifts and managing more than their share of patients. Over time, burnout can set in and a position away from the floor may be desirable. Registered nurses who hold a BSN degree can leave the clinical setting and assume a position in teaching, patient advocacy, healthcare recruiting, and others.
Advanced practice registered nursing provides another alternative to the nursing floor. While APRNs still have a vital role in clinical care, they do so from ad administer or managerial level. Nurse practitioners form one category of advanced practice registered nursing. They assess, diagnose, and treat specific groups for which they’re trained and certified. To qualify for certification and licensure as an APRN, a master’s degree in nursing or a doctor of nursing practice is a necessity. The bachelor’s degree serves as a stepping stone to enrolling in these graduate level program. APRNs are in demand as they can help relieve the burden of primary care in rural communities. Those who complete graduate study can see a significant jump in their salaries, earning as much as $98,450 annually in some areas.
Nurse education has a significant impact on the existing shortage of nurses. The ability to build the workforce depends on the capacity to produce new nurses. While colleges and universities seek to increase their capacity to admit more students, the shortage of faculty has been slowing down the process. Nursing schools turn away thousands of qualified candidates each year because they do not have suffiicent faculty to meet demands. Graduates of the BSN program can teach lower-level courses or complete a graduate program to take a more significant role in nurse education.
Requirements for Enrollment in an RN to BSN Program
The ReNEW curriculum is a revolutionary program that helps to boost the percentage of the nursing workforce practicing with a BSN degree in Wyoming. The RN-BSN program at the University of Wyoming provides an alternative for those students who are not participants in the ReNEW program to complete the BSN degree. It is open to registered nurses who have completed an associate degree or diploma in nursing and want to further their education to the baccalaureate level.
Since the RN to BSN is a rigorous program, students must have a strong work ethic and a desire to succeed. The program is delivered in an online format to give students the flexibility to balance their profession with their educational needs. The curriculum is designed to prepare students to provide evidence-based practice, manage information and technology in the delivery of practice, demonstrate leadership through the application of quality improvement processes, and emphasize the promotion of health and the prevention of diseases in the care of clients, families, and communities.
General overview of the requirements for admission:
- A diploma or associate’s degree in nursing from an ACEN/NLNAC accredited program.
- Ability to meet the technical standards that are unique to each program.
- Demonstrate English Language proficiency.
- Official transcripts of all college courses.
- A grade C or better on the prerequisite courses.
- Meet the health requirements.
Tuition per credit for students enrolled in the nursing program at the University of Wyoming is $129. Non-tuition expenses include textbooks, background check, name tag, liability insurance, and graduation fee.
Wyoming RN to BSN Programs:
Laramie, WY RN-BSN programs:
University of Wyoming
1000 East University Avenue, Laramie, Wyoming 82071