Registered Nurse? What You Need to Know about Taking Your Career to the Next Level
So, you are a registered nurse and you absolutely love what you do. However, lately you have been wondering how and where to progress your career. Here is everything that you need to know about taking your nursing career to the next level by moving from being a RN to a BSN prepared and qualified nurse.
What is a BSN?
Most registered nurses will progress their career by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The reasons why they might decide to do this is that BSN qualified nurses:
- Tend to receive higher salaries
- Are often given more responsibilities in their jobs
- Are often promoted to supervisory positions
The great news is that it is possible to obtain your BSN while you are still working as a RN. In order to do this, some nurses may opt to attend night school, take part time courses, or study an online BSN degree.
The benefits of studying a BSN degree online
There are many benefits to studying a BSN online degree. They include:
- Maximum flexibility: Most online education providers will offer a great amount of flexibility when it comes to your studies. Aside from adhering to various assignment deadlines, you will be able to work at your own pace. There will also be no need to attend lectures in person, which saves you time.
- Enhanced affordability. Online BSN courses are substantially cheaper than the BSN courses offered at colleges around the United States. They can prove to be hundreds of dollars cheaper per credit hour.
- Improved support. You will usually have a solid support structure and system in place to allow you to get in touch with the relevant authorities when you have questions, concerns, or require assistance.
Another notable benefit of studying a BSN degree online is that you will learn a number of great life skills in doing so, many of which will also contribute to making you a better nurse. For example, you will learn all about the importance of time management. When you are having to juggle working shifts, finding time to study, as well as setting some time aside for yourself, your friends, and your family, you will quickly have to become a master of the hours that are available to you. You will learn how to maximize your time and how to be as productive as possible in shorter bursts.
Sometimes, you simply will not have two straight hours in which to work on your assignment which has a deadline looming ever closer. However, you will have 15 minutes here and there throughout the day. Instead of using those 15 minutes to sit around and stress about your studies, you can put them to good use by doing as much of the assignment as you can in that short amount of time. If you grab 15 minutes a few times a day, you will be amazed at just how much you can actually get done.
Finally, studying for your BSN degree online will mean that you enjoy a notable boost in your self-confidence and self-esteem. This is due to the fact that:
- You will encounter a variety of obstacles and challenges throughout your studies and will need to step up to the plate in order to find viable solutions. When you do, you will feel empowered to continue forward and will be all the more confident that you can handle the next challenge that comes your way.
- You will prove to yourself that you are capable of doing more than you ever thought you could. Before you do it, working and studying at the same time may seem unrealistic. However, when you get started and build a workable routine for yourself, you will likely be amazed at your drive and dedication. This is likely to propel you further towards success and greater levels of confidence in your abilities.
- Your life will be endlessly productive. There is just something about being productive that works wonders for a person’s self-esteem. You will be productive at work and get to enjoy the contentment that comes from helping others, and then continue to be productive at home as you make your way through your coursework. You may even find that your life now has greater meaning than ever before.
Deciding if you are the correct fit for a BSN degree
Before you register to study a BSN degree, whether online or at a formal institution, it is hugely important and helpful to be 100% certain that it is the path you wish to take. In order to establish whether or not you are a good fit for this sort of program, especially if you will be working at the same time, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I consider myself to be relentlessly passionate about what I do?
- Do I feel that I am capable of making more of a difference in my patient’s lives?
- Am I ready to go back to studying again or would I prefer to spend a bit more time racking up experience with minimal distractions?
- Do I have an adequate support structure at home?
- Do my superiors and colleagues support my decision to further my studies?
- Do I believe that I will have the time necessary in order to work and study simultaneously?
- Am I willing to make sacrifices in order to make this happen?
- Am I in a good enough financial position to pursue a BSN degree?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to the majority of these questions, the chances are quite high that you will thrive by taking a BSN course and furthering your career as a result.
What will I learn when studying a BSN degree?
The BSN course that you choose to study will differ in content in some instances depending on which educational provider you sign up with. However, in general, the course will cover the following:
- Caring for patients in emergencies
- Diagnostics and health assessment
- Community and family based care
- Global and public health
- Research for practice based on evidence
You will also likely venture into a variety of areas within the specialized nursing realm, which is wonderful news if you intend to continue your education after being awarded your BSN degree. You are likely to dabble in areas such as gerontology, psychiatrics, critical care, and disease management, to name a few. This will provide you with a good idea of which direction you want your career to head in and may help to outline your future career path.
Along with discovering your personal interests within the field of nursing, you will also likely uncover where your talents actually lay. Some nurses are incredible when it comes to working with psychiatric patients to the point where they may even feel as though it is ‘their calling’, while other nurses will excel in disease management or diagnostics.
Most BSN courses and programs will also have a strict focus on teaching the various aspects of healthcare industry ethics and policy. While this may sound a bit less exciting than the other potential course material as mentioned above, it is arguably some of the most important information you will be exposed to. It is essential that you fully grasp these ethics and policies in order to avoid making dangerous mistakes while in practice which could end up costing you your job.
Finally, you will almost certainly learn all about community health. This places a slightly different perspective on learning when compared to how your initial nursing course was approached. Now, instead of focusing on treating patients on a one on one basis, you will learn what you can do to uphold the health and wellbeing of an entire community.
How long does the process take?
How long it will take to obtain your BSN will depend on whether or not you are already a registered nurse. If you are not a registered nurse, you can expect to have to study for four years. If you are a registered nurse, this length of study time will be vastly reduced. In most cases, RNs will be able to complete their degree in two years. These estimations are likely to vary from institution to institution, however. So be sure to speak to the institution in which you are interested ahead of time to learn more about how you can transfer your credits and obtain your BSN degree as quickly as possible. Most institutions will be happy to assist you with this information either in person, over the phone, or via email.
While it will require dedication and hard work on your part, there are so many reasons as to why it would be worthwhile to obtain your BSN, especially in terms of advancing your career and seeing a vast improvement in your salary. If you are sure that you can afford it and you are up for the challenge, then go for it. You will be fully qualified sooner than you think.