You likely landed on this page because of your recent decision to change career paths to nursing and your interest in the educational avenues that could make that possible for you. Rest assured you’ve come to the right place!
If you’ve spent any amount of time exploring nursing schools, odds are you’ve discovered a myriad of degree programs that would put you on a path to become a nurse. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, though, an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) may be an ideal fit for you.
Why is a BSN important?
Among several other reasons, nurses with this credential have more job opportunities available to them than nurses who do not and are respected among employers looking to hire highly qualified candidates.
Below we examine why a BSN degree is important, specifically through the 12-month University of St. Thomas Houston second-degree Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program.
What is a BSN?
While several degree options that grant entry into the nursing profession exist, the BSN is the one that opens the most doors. That’s because it goes beyond basic nursing knowledge, taking a deeper dive into health policy, research and evidence-based practice and leadership development.
Unlike an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, BSN programs include aspects of:
- Community and patient education.
- Management and leadership.
- Health promotion.
- Clinical, scientific and decision-making skills.
The 12-month accelerated BSN program offered through University of St. Thomas, called ABSN@UST, was designed to help students graduate as confident, compassionate nurse leaders. ABSN@UST offers students the following interdisciplinary courses geared toward leadership, management, research and holistic nursing practice:
- Health Assessment
- Clinical Inquiry/Evidence Based Practice
- Foundations of Holistic Nursing Practice
- The Art and Science of Holistic Nursing
- Holistic Nursing: Foundation for Clinical Leadership
- Holistic Nursing: Caring for the Community
Top Reasons to Earn a BSN
When thinking about the different routes available for pursuing a new career as a registered nurse, knowing the advantages of having a BSN in nursing is important. If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, for example, one of the benefits of ABSN@UST is that you can earn your degree in as few as 12 months and choose from one of three start dates per year. This gives you earlier access to all the advantages a BSN offers over your peers who pursue a traditional BSN program.
Here are some other reasons why having a BSN in the nursing profession is important:
Improved patient outcomes
It’s no surprise that registered nurses who hold BSN degrees with an interdisciplinary education focus on clinical research and the delivery of compassionate patient care stand to have better patient outcomes for those under their care. In fact, studies completed over the past decade have concluded that:
- “A 10% increase in the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses on hospital units was associated with lowering the odds of patient mortality by 10.9%.”
- “A 10-point increase in the percentage of nurses holding a BSN within a hospital was associated with an average reduction of 2.12 deaths for every 1,000 patients.”
- “Hospitals with a higher percentage of RNs with baccalaureate or higher degrees had lower congestive heart failure mortality, decubitus ulcers, failure to rescue, and postoperative deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism and shorter length of stay.”
For all the ways listed above that BSN-educated nurses can generate better outcomes for their patients, it only makes sense that more and more hospitals require a bachelor’s in nursing as a minimum requirement for applying for open nursing positions. It’s because of these facts that many hospitals are held to higher standards with the highly influential Institute of Medicine 2011 study The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health recommended that 80% of the nurses on staff hold a BSN by 2020, although currently only about 57% do.
Even if you’re considering a healthcare career in which a BSN isn’t a requirement, having a BSN degree can give you a leg up over other candidates with associate’s degrees in nursing.
With a BSN, many more career paths become available to you that aren’t possible or as easy to pursue if you have an associate’s degree in nursing. For example, inside the hospital, you can work in such specialty areas as:
- Intensive care
- Emergency room
What’s more, through the University of St. Thomas ABSN program, you’ll have the opportunity to “try on” these and other specialty areas through hands-on clinical rotations at top area healthcare facilities. For that reason, we like to consider clinicals as a “12-month job interview” because this aspect of our program can lead to lucrative job prospects after graduation and valuable networking opportunities with some of Houston healthcare’s best and brightest.
In addition to the more specialized nursing positions within a hospital that you become eligible for with a baccalaureate degree, a BSN offers plenty of career opportunities beyond the bedside. Many of the below career options require a BSN:
- Legal nurse consultant
- Public health nurse
- Home health nurse
- Travel nurse
- Nurse manager
Career advancement opportunities
Besides the career opportunities that open up to you, a BSN is the first step toward pursuing an advanced nursing degree should you choose to do so. With a master’s degree in nursing (MSN), for example, you qualify yourself for such high paying specialized nursing careers as a nurse practitioner — one of the most in-demand careers currently available — nurse anesthetist and nurse-midwife. To qualify to enroll in MSN programs, however, you must first earn your BSN.
Higher earning potential
A BSN sets you up for a stable and steady income stream for the length of your nursing career, even more so than if you enter the workforce with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN). Starting salaries for BSN-educated nurses can be similar to ADN-educated nurses, but because baccalaureate-educated nurses receive more extensive education, they’re able to take on more complex tasks and are afforded more autonomy on the job than their associate’s degree-holding counterparts. As a result, research shows BSN-educated nurses have higher earning potential over time.
You can earn a degree in as few as 12 months
An ABSN program like ABSN@UST not only helps you receive a quality, in-demand degree that sets you above the competition — it helps you start your new nursing career sooner. If you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and meet our other academic requirements, you may qualify to apply to ABSN@UST.
Find out if you’re a good fit for our program by contacting one of our dedicated admissions counselors, who will help you take the next bold steps toward earning a BSN through the program. Seats are available now!