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Prepare to Lead With an RN to BSN Online Program

Nurses today are helping redesign the nation’s healthcare system. These new roles are more complex, and they emphasize nursing leadership and management skills. A Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing can help prepare nurses to assume these new roles and be essential partners in system transformation.

The Importance of Nursing Leadership

According to The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, a report compiled by the Institute of Medicine (which changed its name to National Academy of Medicine [NAM] in 2015), the nation’s healthcare system is undergoing dramatic changes. For one, rising obesity levels have caused an increase in chronic illnesses such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Unfortunately, healthcare professionals are operating in a system originally designed to treat patients with acute illnesses. In addition, the passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 has increased the demand for quality healthcare; the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that 20 million Americans gained health coverage between 2010 and 2016. These major changes are occurring in the midst of a nursing shortage, which the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) says will only grow.

According to the Future of Nursing report, nurse leadership and management will be an essential factor in the healthcare system’s redesign process, and it will focus on quality care delivery to diverse groups. Once acting as followers and assistants, nurses are now full collaborators with other healthcare professionals. They help shape healthcare policy, design improvement plans, solve problems, utilize information technology and operate in a more complex system.

The Role of Nurses in Leadership and Management Positions

These new nursing roles emphasize leadership and management skills. DiscoverNursing says nurses who earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees (BSN) are prepared for greater roles in higher stakes situations. BSN-prepared nurses may need to develop nursing care treatment plans, assisting doctors, serving as patient educators and supervising other nurses.

An example of a specific nursing management position, according to DiscoverNursing, is Nurse Advocate. They act as liaisons between patients and doctors. Another is Informatics Nurse: someone who utilizes information systems technology to better help patients manage their care.

More advanced nursing leadership and management roles, such as Nurse Researcher, Clinical Nurse Leader and Health Policy Nurse require a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN), and a BSN can serve as a gateway to an advanced degree.

How an RN to BSN Online Program Can Prepare Nurses to Lead and Manage

The RN to BSN Online Program at Arkansas State University helps nurses build their clinical expertise, as well as other skills, such as decision-making and critical thinking. One course that helps strengthen these skills is the Evidence-Based Practice course, which teaches students to evaluate and apply scientific evidence. Another of the program’s core nursing courses, Nursing Management, focuses specifically on the managerial and leadership aspects of a nurse manager.

In a rapidly transforming healthcare system, it will be essential for nurses to assume roles that emphasize nursing leadership and management. BSN-prepared nurses are well-equipped to lead and manage in this new landscape. A BSN also serves as a solid foundation for those who plan to earn their MSNs and pursue more advanced opportunities.

Learn more about the A-State online RN to BSN program.


The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. (2001).

20 million people have gained health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, new estimates show. (2016, March 3).

Nursing Shortage. (2014, April 24).

Find Your Path In Nursing. (n.d.).

Nurse Advocate. (n.d.).

Informatics Nurse. (n.d.).


RN to BSN. (n.d.).

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