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Arkansas State University

Why Earn a BSN?

Working as a registered nurse (RN) is becoming more challenging as the U.S. population ages. Patients admitted to the hospital often have multiple conditions that must be managed. Those in outpatient settings need education and support to manage chronic health conditions in order to avoid hospitalization. Preventive care is becoming the primary focus of many healthcare facilities. These trends all demand that RNs be equipped with an extensive set of skills in order to improve the health of the population they serve.

If you earned an associate degree in nursing (ADN), you may be wondering how earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree might benefit your career. The time commitment and cost associated with furthering your education may have kept you from pursuing a BSN, but there are several factors that make it a sound investment for your future.

Improved Patient Outcomes

Associate degree and diploma programs allow RNs to enter the workforce and gain experience in less time than it would take to earn a BSN degree. However, many healthcare facilities are beginning to give preference to BSN-prepared RNs in light of research that shows improved patient outcomes related to advanced nursing education.

A Nursing Education Perspectives study found that “Hospitals employing higher percentages of BSN-prepared nurses have shown an associated decrease in morbidity, mortality, and failure-to-rescue rates.” A Journal of Nursing Administration study showed that hospitals with a greater number of BSN-prepared nurses had lower rates of hospital-acquired pressure injury and postoperative DVT/PE, along with decreased length of stay.


Since the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine or NAM) released The Future of Nursing report calling for 80 percent of nurses to be BSN-prepared by 2020, enrollment in BSN and RN to BSN programs has increased.

However, as of 2017, between 55 and 60 percent of nurses hold a BSN. In light of the shortfall, several states are considering adoption of “BSN-in-10” legislation that would require newly licensed ADN and diploma RNs to earn a BSN within 10 years of initial licensure. The deadline set by NAM is quickly approaching.

While legislation requiring BSN preparation may not be in place yet, the next few years could see widespread implementation efforts arise. Beginning the RN to BSN journey now places you at an advantage for the changes around the bend.

Professional Development

Regardless of improved patient outcomes and legislation requiring BSN preparation, one of the greatest benefits of completing a BSN or an RN to BSN program is professional development.

“BSN nurses are prized for their skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion, and for their ability to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings,” says an American Association of Colleges of Nursing fact sheet.

BSN programs include all of the coursework of diploma and ADN programs, with the addition of nursing research, community health, nursing management, and more in-depth coverage of physical and social sciences — all of which increase the appeal of BSN-prepared nurses to healthcare organizations. Additionally, earning a BSN presents the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in advanced nursing practice, leadership, education, research and a variety of other fields.

Online education presents a convenient opportunity for you to pursue completion of an RN to BSN program without the pressure of attending on-campus classes. The flexibility offered by these programs makes them an appealing option as you continue to gain experience in your current job.

Improved patient outcomes, legislation requiring completion of a BSN program and professional development are just a few of the reasons why you should consider earning a BSN. Now is the time to invest in your future in nursing.

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


American Association of Colleges of Nursing: Fact Sheet: The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice

Journal of Nursing Administration: Baccalaureate Education in Nursing and Patient Outcomes

Nursing Education Perspectives: Perceived Benefits, Motivators, and Barriers to Advancing Nursing Education: Removing Barriers to Improve Success New York’s ‘BSN in 10’ Law and the Push for 80% of Nurses to Hold a BSN by 2020

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