Nurses enter the profession in many different ways and for many different reasons. If you’re looking to advance your career, you’ve got options, but most of them require going back to school to earn an RN to BSN. Through online delivery, the RN to BSN program will help you reach your nursing goals. The national shortage of nurses prepares a haven for new and existing nurses to not only receive adequate compensation but also secure job stability. However, the shortage does not take away from employers’ preference for nurses that obtain a bachelor’s degree. The main reason that nursing organizations support employers in this venture is the need for nurses to have the competency to care for patients with increasingly complex healthcare needs. Medical advances, increased reliance on technology, and complex patient cases demand specialized skills to make sound judgment, use critical thinking, operate technical machinery, practice in non-traditional settings, and manage complex patient care plans.
According to several studies, morbidity and mortality rates decrease when the percentage of baccalaureate nurses on the unit increases. Registered nurses form the largest part of the healthcare team and have the most active role, so they must have the education and skills to positively impact patient outcomes. The BSN degree, acquired through the RN to BSN program, is designed to registered nurses to upgrade their skills and make valuable contributions to patient care. As hospitals seek to improve the quality of patient care in the complex healthcare system, the BSN will become and is becoming essential for employment in these settings.
The influx of RN to BSN programs is a response to the need for better-educated nurses. Registered nurses with an associate degree in nursing can enroll and improve on the foundational skills gained in their pre-licensure studies. Graduates will have skills in leadership, critical thinking, evidence-based practice, teamwork, community health, research, and other specialty areas to focus on chronic and preventative care in a variety of healthcare settings.
Benefits of Progressing to a BSN Degree
Whether you’re comfortable in your current position or seeking to advance your nursing career, you’ve probably heard that employers, especially hospital employers, and pushing to improve the education of their workforce. They are hiring more BSN-prepared nurses and requiring their current staff to go back to school. If you already have an associate degree and are doing well in your current position, you might be questioning the wisdom of going back to school. While you might have somewhat of a choice right now, future trends could take the decision out of your hands. Here are some reasons to enroll in an RN to BSN program right now and get ahead of the curve.
As mentioned earlier, research supports higher education for nurses. Hospitals and other healthcare institutions, consumers and nursing associations alike all want to reduce mortality rates. More than 20 years of studies reveal a close link between BSN-prepared nurses and better patient outcomes. As hospitals across the nation increase their BSN workforce, they are reaping the benefits of better patient outcomes, faster recovery post surgery, and a 2.12 percent reduction in deaths. The results are so convincing that it led the Institute of Medicine to recommend that hospitals pursuing Magnet Status, for recognition in their excellence in care, to have a BSN workforce of 80 percent or more by 2020.
Since research clearly demonstrates the relationship between higher educated nurses and fewer deaths, hospitals are taking the high road and making the BSN mandatory for frontline nurses. Patient outcomes and cost are factors that affect Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Employers want nurses to apply the principles of evidence-based practice and use vigilance in practice. The BSN prepares nurses for this level of practice and ensures longevity in the complex healthcare environment.
There are numerous opportunities for nurses to advance their careers. They can lead clinical teams or sit with executives and leaders to make decisions that will positively impact the profession and delivery of care. Advanced practice nurses can set up their own operations and bring relief to the hundreds of patients in rural areas. APRNs are RNs who complete graduate study for preparation in a specialized area of care. To enter graduate study or assume a role in management or leadership, a baccalaureate degree is essential.
Physicians, pharmacists, dietitians, therapists and other healthcare providers must have masters and doctorate degrees. Nurses need to up the ante to collaborate effectively with these vital members of the patient care team. They are the ones to coordinate the patient care plan, so it is increasingly essential that they have an education that is comparable to other members of the team.
Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC), demonstrates a hospital’s commitment to improving the quality of patient care, safety, and transparency. Staff development is just one factor in the designation, but it is a critical one as it influences hiring trends. Hospitals who receive the designation will have a higher volume of BSN nurses than those without the designation. Moreover, only nurses holding a BSN or above will qualify for supervisory positions. Through incentives and information, Magnet hospitals encourage their existing ADN staff to return to school, which reduces the presence of ADNs in traditional hospitals. Employer expectations contribute to the annual rise in RN to BSN enrollment.
Policies, technological advances, requirements, systems and such take away from the real issue, which is patients’ outcome. More than any other healthcare provider, nurses hold patients’ recovery and restoration in their hands. They way they manage patient care plans and communicate and collaborate with other professionals will determine the outcome. Their educational foundation and experience will direct how they respond to the unexpected, approach care, whether they have confidence in their decisions. The ADN provides students with basic clinical skills, but nurses need communication, leadership, research, and critical thinking to raise the standards to meet heightened consumer expectations.
BSN graduates receive more offers that ADN graduates at the time of graduation according to a poll published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The trend is not startling considering the information already highlighted earlier in this article. However, one would expect that employers would choose experience over education when filling vacancies left by retiring nurses. This is not always the case. Employers prefer to hire BSNs, even new BSNs, and give invest in additional training to improve the quality of their staff. Your best bet then is to complete the BSN to qualify for these positions when they’re available.
The popularity of online education paved the way for schools to deliver RN to BSN programs online and making them more accessible to working nurses. Students can work at their own pace and on their own time with an internet connection. Building on the nurse’s previous study, the curriculum can be completed in 12 months. The convenience of going back to school when combined with all the credible reasons for going back shows that getting a BSN is not just a good option but very likely the only one.
Requirements for Enrollment in an RN to BSN Program
The ADN focuses on foundational nursing skills to prepare students for success on the NCLEX-RN. In contrast, the BSN curriculum provides the knowledge and skills nurses need to assume leadership or management roles and advance their careers. It will feature coursework in communication, critical thinking, public health, healthcare policy, general education, research methods, leadership and management, and nursing theory. The extra coursework prepares nurses to practice in any healthcare setting, ranging from public health to critical care. RNs who complete the BSN will also qualify for supervisory, management, and educator positions. They will also increase their earning potential. According to Payscale.com, BSNs can earn up to $15,870 per year more than ADNs.
- A completed application and fee
- An unencumbered registered nurse license
- A diploma or associate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited program
- A GPA of 2.0 or higher on all college courses that are eligible for transfer
- Complete all prerequisite and general education courses with a grade C or higher
- Official transcripts of all college coursework
- Letters of recommendation
Baccalaureate degree students in West Virginia can expect to pay $452 per credit. The total cost of the degree will depend on the total credits transferred. The per-credit fee does not include fees or the cost of books and supplies. Financial aid packages are available to eligible students.
West Virginia RN to BSN Programs:
Bluefield, WV RN-BSN programs
Bluefield State College
219 Rock Street, Bluefield, WV 24701
Fairmont, WV RN-BSN programs
Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue, Fairmont, WV 26554
Huntington, WV RN-BSN programs
One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755
Morgantown, WV RN-BSN programs
West Virginia University- Morgantown
P.O. Box 9600, Morgantown, WV 26506-9600
Parkersburg, WV RN-BSN programs
West Virginia University at Parkersburg
300 Campus Drive, Parkersburg, WV 26104
Philippi, WV RN-BSN programs
Alderson Broaddus University
101 College Hill Drive, Philippi, WV 26416
Salem, WV RN-BSN programs
Salem International University
223 West Main Street, Salem, WV 26426
Shepherdstown, WV RN-BSN programs
P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV 25443
West Liberty, WV RN-BSN programs
West Liberty University
101 Faculty Drive, West Liberty, WV 26074
Wheeling, WV RN-BSN programs
Wheeling Jesuit University
316 Washington Avenue, Wheeling, WV 26003