Why You Should Consider an RN-to-BSN Nursing Program

Updated By Staff Writer on August 31, 2020

A common route to becoming a nurse is to complete an associate’s degree in nursing and take the exam you need to become a licensed registered nurse (the National Council Licensure Exam, or NCLEX). Once you’re already a registered nurse (RN) with some experience under your belt, one of the best ways to open up new job options is to get a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN).

What is an RN-to-BSN program?

Simply put, this type of nursing program is for people who are already registered nurses and want to further develop their skills. A BSN is sometimes called a completion degree; it usually takes two to three years to finish. You’ll still be an RN when you’re done, but the additional knowledge you gain helps you qualify for a wider range of career possibilities.

Why do it?

You’re likely to earn a higher salary over time. As with most jobs, more education opens the path to better pay. data from 2014 suggests that nurses with a BSN may earn more than nurses with an associate’s degree (however, the amount of increased earnings varies by field and degree). In addition to the financial benefits, you can help educate new nurses.

As an RN, you’ve learned how to be an awesome nurse and help your patients. With a BSN degree, you can be part of training and supervising new nurses. As the US population ages, the demand for excellent nurses will continue to increase, according to the American Association of Collegiate Nursing; you can help meet this demand.

Lastly, you’ll have more job options. While there’s no shortage of nursing jobs, some prefer or require a BSN. The number of RNs returning to school for a BSN has been steadily rising, according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A BSN program helps you stay competitive, whether you want to continue working in direct patient care at a hospital or branch out to other areas of medicine.

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What you’ll learn

An RN-to-BSN program will cover topics like community health and nursing management. In an associate’s program, you learn about uses of medicine, how to care for infants and children, nutrition, physical problems that arise from illness or injury, and other essential skills for nurses.

The BSN will build on this knowledge, teaching you how to educate communities about staying healthy, incorporate new nursing research into your practice, and evaluate treatment plans. Evidence-based nursing, which is part of a BSN program, is particularly important in the rapidly changing medical field. This practice involves blending your clinical skills with knowledge of research and clinical guidelines to choose the best treatments for your patients.

The nursing completion degree also covers disease prevention and community health, which will prepare you to help people take more control of their health. Disease prevention includes helping patients to prevent, treat, and manage illnesses (this is sometimes called primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention).

3 jobs you might get

  1. Nurse Supervisor

As a nurse supervisor, you may help organize the nursing staff to make the best use of time and skillsets and oversee ongoing training of your nursing team. In this position, you’ll work with other health care experts to plan long-term patient care. You may also be responsible for developing standards of care based on your organization’s rules and regulations for treating patients. This is a good career choice if you’re interested in management.

  1. Public Health Nurse

After completing a BSN, you may also find a job as a public health nurse. In this role, you’ll focus on health at a community level more than at an individual level. Instead of treating patients, you may educate people about local healthcare programs, help a community find access to healthier food (for instance, by being involved in establishing urban gardens), or work with towns to create support systems for people with HIV. If you have a passion for a specific health condition, this career is a great way to work with people affected by that condition.

  1. Nurse Researcher

Do you love the scientific method? Working as a nurse researcher gives you the opportunity to study certain health conditions and uncover new developments in prevention and treatment of disease. You may coordinate other health professionals and people taking part in a study, as well as write about the results of your studies for journals. These jobs often offer a high level of autonomy. These are just a few of the job options you may find after completing a BSN degree. Find out more about our online BSN program at