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Arkansas State University

Leadership With an RN to BSN Online Program

Nurses today are helping redesign the nation’s healthcare system, with patient access and customized care at its center. These new roles are more complex, and they rely on nursing leadership and management skills. A Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) can help prepare nurses to assume these new roles and be essential partners in systemic transformation that will lead to healthier organizations and better patient outcomes.

The Importance of Nursing Leadership

According to The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity, a compiled by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), the nation’s healthcare system is undergoing dramatic changes in order to address long-term, chronic disease and the issue of access to quality healthcare for all. An increase in chronic illnesses and conditions — such as obesity, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes — calls for managing complex care. 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 (ACA) has increased the demand for quality healthcare; Statista reports that 31 million Americans have benefited from the ACA, and more than 4.6 million people access to healthcare in the last year alone. 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 by reducing health disparities and preparing nurses for the challenges of complex care. 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. Nurses who earn their BSN are prepared for in higher stakes situations. BSN-prepared nurses may develop care treatment plans, serve as patient educators and advocates and supervise other nurses in positions of leadership in their organizations.

An example of a specific nursing management position is . 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. Curriculum helps strengthen evidence-based practice skills, which help students to evaluate and apply scientific evidence. Nursing management curriculum 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 Arkansas State’s online RN to BSN program.

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