One of the strongest proponent for nurses obtaining their BSN comes from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the 2010 Future of Nursing report. The report recommends for an increase in the percent of nurses having a Bachelors degree. Currently there are a little over 50% of clinical registered nurses who have a BSN in the United States. The IOM recommends this proportion to increase to over 80%. The IOM states that today’s dynamic health care system, the increase in complexity of healthcare patients require, necessitates the need for highly educated nurses. These recommendations are supported through multiple studies which have examined the impact of BSN prepared nurses and patient outcomes. These studies show that there are lower mortality rates in hospitals which have a higher portion of BSN nurses working compared to hospitals with a higher portion of diploma or ADN nurses. The IOM has set forth specific recommendation to help achieve RN in obtaining their BSN degrees are:
- Require Nursing School to offer seamless pathways to higher education
- Encourage healthcare organizations to actively encourage and provide incentives for diploma and ADN nurses to obtain a BSN within 5 years of graduation
- Engage private and public stakeholders in providing more opportunities for funding
Career Advancement for BSN Registered Nurses
One major incentive for getting a BSN is for the many career advancement opportunities. Hospitals and healthcare organizations are now listing a BSN as a requirement for many positions including some entry level positions. This is a major change from previous positions “preferring” nurses with a BSN and now many “requiring” a BSN degree.
As this change occurs registered nurses with a diploma or an ADN degree will have a much harder time obtaining positions than an RN with a BSN. Nurses with a BSN degree will be able to apply for a greater number of positions and have a much easier time getting a position. This will soon change the landscape of where nurses can work and soon fewer
Diploma and ADN nurses will be working in hospitals and will be working in other healthcare sectors, such as skill nursing facilities and nursing homes. Having a BSN also can mean a difference in pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income for a registered nurse working in a hospital $71,640, and the average annual income for a registered nurse working in a skilled nursing facility is $62,440.
Another serious concern for non-BSN nurses are fewer job options, even in a hospital. If hospitals and healthcare institutions are moving towards having available positions requiring a BSN degree in nursing, then nurses without a BSN may be stuck in their current position and not able to change departments or specialties. Issues with morale can occur because BSN nurses with only a few years’ experience may be chosen for specific positions over nurses without a BSN despite their years of experience.