Why Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing?

Grad cap that reads "Dear future, I'm ready. Veni vidi vici.".

In an increasingly complex and evolving health care environment, nurses must be prepared with critical thinking, case management, leadership and health promotion skills. Baccalaureate-educated nurses are prepared to meet these demands, playing a crucial role in the delivery of safe care — and standing out among their peers.

There is a high demand for bachelor’s-prepared nurses.

  • Bachelor’s-prepared nurses are recognized for their critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion skills, as well as their ability to practice across a variety of settings (AACN: The Impact of Education on Nursing Practice).
  • Seventy-one percent of nursing directors identified differences in practice between BSN-prepared RNs and those with an associate degree or hospital diploma; baccalaureate-prepared nurses demonstrated stronger synthesis and application of knowledge and leadership skills (Goode, et al., 2001).
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections for 2016-2026, the RN workforce is expected to grow 15%, from 2.92 million to 3.36 million. This is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, which is 7%.

They provide high quality care.

A bachelor’s degree in nursing opens more doors.

  • Health care is shifting to primary and preventative care.
  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing gets registered nurses on track to pursue nursing education; pharmaceutical and medical devices sales; genetics/genomics studies; high-demand specialties such as geriatrics, pediatrics, psychiatric/mental health and informatics; systems improvements; military careers; case management; and administration.
  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing is the first step toward more advanced nursing roles, such as nurse practitioner, nurse executive, nurse leader and nurse researcher.

Bachelor’s-prepared nurses make more money.

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for registered nurses is $71,730 (2018). An RN with an associate degree makes an average annual salary of $68,000, while an RN with a bachelor’s degree makes an average annual salary of $82,000 (according to payscale.com).
  • A bachelor’s-prepared RN can expect to make more than an associate-prepared RN; their earning potential increases even more with opportunities to take on managerial, administrative and specialized nursing positions.

A bachelor’s degree in nursing is becoming standard.

  • The Institutes of Medicine recommends that 80% of all nurses should hold a BSN degree by 2020. This recommendation reflects the increasingly complex health care arena in which nurses practice; high competency levels and skills in health policy, system improvement, research, collaboration, evidence-based practice and leadership empower nurses to meet the demands of this complex environment.
  • Magnet hospitals require that all nurse managers, chief nursing officers and nurse leaders have a baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing (see ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program eligibility requirements).
  • New York’s BSN in 10 legislation now requires registered nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree within 10 years of initial licensure.
  • The ANCC’s Magnet Recognition Program, the Institutes of Medicine report, RWJF report and some state legislatures are increasing the momentum for increased education for the United States nursing workforce.