Have you thought recently about obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)? The BSN has turned into an essential degree for today’s nurses, as revealed by the growing number of highly educated nurses entering the healthcare workforce:
- Between 2001 and 2014, the percentage of first-time passers of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) with a BSN surged from 36 percent to 43 percent, according to data compiled by Health Affairs.
- Over that same timespan, the total number of test takers with a BSN increased 177 percent; the growth was more rapid even than the 130 percent jump among all first-time test takers in the U.S. since 2001.
- The share of NCLEX takers who were nurses with only associate degrees or diplomas ultimately did not change much in the 2000s; after rising from 2001 to 2006, it stayed roughly the same until 2010, when it began a decline that by 2014 had brought it back to 2003 levels.
These changes are the results of the broad expansion of the U.S. healthcare sector, evolving expectations for nurses and the need for at least a BSN to qualify for many of the most desirable and best-paying nursing jobs. All three of these trends should continue in the near term.
Nurses and the expansion of the healthcare sector
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected 16 percent growth – much faster than average – for registered nurses between 2014 and 2024. The BLS outlook for the profession also noted the high numbers of nurses with associate degrees or diplomas who eventually enrolled in RN-to-BSN tracks to expand their credentials.
For positions such as nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, and nurse practitioner – all of which require master’s degrees (MSNs) that are easier to obtain if you already have a BSN – the future looks even brighter. They are expected to see a 31 percent increase in overall employment from 2014 to 2024.
New expectations for nurses
In many states, nurses are authorized to perform a lot of the same tasks as medical doctors. This expanded authority is in part the result of a widespread shortage of physicians in the U.S., estimated to be up to 104,900 MDs by 2030, according to a 2017 IHS Markit report prepared for the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Nurses can help fill the gaps left by this dearth of doctors. With a BSN, they can deliver higher quality care with lower mortality and morbidity rates as well better diagnoses and interventions. As nurse practitioners, they can also prescribe medications and treat patients in some jurisdictions.
“Senior positions such as nursing manager require at least a BSN.”
Qualifications for the most desirable nursing jobs
Senior positions such as nursing manager require attainment of a BSN and passage of the NCLEX, prior to getting an MSN and being certified by the American Organization of Nurse Executives. Nursing managers enjoy a median salary of more than $90,000 in some metro areas. The road to becoming one – or seeking any similar job – starts with earning a BSN.
Get started on your BSN at Gwynedd Mercy University
At Gwynedd Mercy University, we make it as convenient as possible for you to acquire a BSN and expand your career options. The RN-to-BSN completion is even available online and provides the rigorous background in theoretical concepts and clinical practices you will need to excel as a modern today. To learn more about your nursing education options, including ones for RN-to-BSN, visit the GMercyU nursing programs overview page today.