Online RN to BSN Degree
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Nursing is one of the fastest-growing and well-compensated careers in the United States. After completing an online RN-to-BSN program, graduates have many career opportunities. Designed to help with that process, the following information highlights some of the careers, specializations, and industries available to nurses.
While not all nursing positions require a bachelor’s degree, an online RN-to-BSN program provides additional training, skills, and career opportunities for nurses. Depending on your career aspirations, this degree might represent the most direct route, saving you time, money, and energy in the long run. Read on to discover what the BSN degree provides and what career and educational paths it offers nursing candidates.
What is an RN-to-BSN Degree?
A nursing degree provides graduates with entry into numerous specialties, careers, and industries, most with exceptional financial rewards and advancement opportunities. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15% employment growth rate for nursing occupations between 2016 and 2026, with median annual wages at $70,000. A nursing degree also provides a strong educational foundation that helps professionals transition into other degrees and careers.
During the online RN-to-BSN program, students benefit from specialization options not commonly offered in associate degrees. This advanced training allows graduates to access unique healthcare fields and subdisciplines, like gerontology, ambulatory care, and pediatrics. Some of the best online RN-to-BSN programs also provide training in leadership and case management, which delivers job opportunities in hospital and office management, particularly when combined with experience.
While most nurses receive access to career advancement opportunities, certain positions require advanced degrees and specialized training. With a BSN, nurses benefit from a strong academic foundation that they can later build on in a master’s degree, if they choose to pursue this credential. With an advanced degree, graduates can pursue advanced practice registered nurse positions, like nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. Not only does an online RN-to-BSN program substantially cut back on the additional education required, it also provides students insight on what each healthcare specialty entails and which subfield best matches their interests.
What Can I Do with an Online RN-to-BSN Degree?
The diverse nature of nursing and healthcare professions offers great flexibility to students; however, with flexibility comes choice and the need for difficult decisions. An RN-to-BSN online program provides access to the advanced training and unique skill sets required to enter specialized healthcare professions, fields, and industries. The following information highlights some of the career choices open to nurses with a BSN degree and the decisions students should consider when pursuing these fields.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
Within the online RN-to-BSN program, students gain access to different specializations and skill-based training. Based on their interests and career aspirations, students should fine-tune their degree path to include the courses and training that provide the necessary skills to enter their desired fields. While all RN-to-BSN students gain core skills in patient care, compassion, and acute medical care and treatment, in-depth knowledge in areas outside the core curriculum prepare graduates for more specialized careers.
Nurses with case management or administration dreams, for example, should explore courses in leadership, case management, and healthcare policy. In these courses, students will learn how to properly manage the staff, patient, and administrative requirements of a medical office or healthcare unit.
Though not always mandatory, specialized training provides easier access into unique nursing fields like pediatrics and geriatrics. Equipped with an understanding of age-specific patient development, common illnesses, and treatment plans, nursing students establish themselves as ideal candidates for these fields. Specializations also allow nurses to train in subfields like pediatric oncology or geriatric neurology, further strengthening their employability.
Students pursuing an online RN-to-BSN program should narrow their focus to the areas that interest them most, particularly if they wish to pursue a specialization in the nursing field. Consider what skills the desired nursing field requires for entry and look for courses that provide the requisite training.
Careers and Salary Potential
While many nurses hold positions in hospitals and medical centers, some nurses pursue careers in other health-related professions. In addition to medical care, nurses learn healthcare policy, compassion, and leadership skills that prepare them for various careers in the healthcare industry. The following list highlights some of the major industries and careers for nurses with BSN degrees.
- Hospitals: According to the BLS, 61% of nurses work in hospitals, acting as the liaison between patients and doctors. They deliver patient care and communicate with patients and their families. BSN degrees provide nurses with the skills and educational foundation necessary to advance through the nursing ranks.
- Ambulatory Healthcare Services: Approximately 18% of nurses work in ambulatory services, providing patient care in outpatient settings like physician's offices and clinics. These nurses assist physicians in delivering routine treatments to patients and performing medical procedures.
- Nursing and Residential Care Facilities: Nurses in residential care facilities typically work on site or on call, treating residents for a variety of illnesses and medical needs. Many nurses in these facilities possess specialized training in areas like geriatrics to better prepare them for residents' daily needs.
- Government: Though only about 5% of nurses work within the government, they benefit from many opportunities. A nurses' healthcare policy training qualifies them for positions within specific agencies, like the Department of Veterans Affairs and Indian Health Services, along with state and federal governments.
- Educational Services: Whether it requires teaching other nurses or students or working within a school, approximately 3% of nurses work in educational services. In addition to performing standard nursing in a school, a nurses' leadership skills and healthcare knowledge allow them to provide training for new equipment, techniques, and policies related to healthcare.
Annual Median Salary: $70,000
Registered nurses work with physicians and specialists to provide patient care and offer support, education, and advice to patients and their families. Registers nurses also work with specialized medical equipment and administer medicines and treatments to patients.
Entry-Level Nurse Case Manager
Annual Median Salary: $65,710
Nurse case managers work on the administration side of patient care and determine care strategies. They also work with insurance companies and other medical services to ensure they deliver proper treatment and coverage for the patient’s needs.
Annual Median Salary: $83,000
Directors of nursing supervise nursing units, overseeing staffing, equipment orders, and training. Directors ensure the unit’s organization and patient care operations run smoothly and meet the necessary standards.
Medical Case Manager
Annual Median Salary: $48,023
Medical case managers work with doctors, patients, and insurance providers to ensure that a patient’s treatment matches their coverage. Case managers also perform assessments and interviews to create adequate treatment plans based on the patient’s needs and medical coverage available.
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