Monday, December 31, 2012

Career in Nursing - Advancing From RN to BSN

The decision to enter the healthcare profession as a registered nurse often comes years of careful reflection and with a deep desire to help our fellow man.  In most cases, individuals who pursue a career in nursing begin their education by obtaining an Associate's Degree in nursing, which generally takes 2 to 3 years to complete. After completion of the degree, RN's are of course required to pass their examinations before being allowed to practice their skills in a medical setting.

These degree programs are rigorous, the exams are tough, and at the end of the day those individuals who earn an Associate's Degree in Nursing are qualified to provide quality care to patients throughout hospitals and clinics all over America. Indeed, most nurses choose to end their formal educations at this stage and are quite content to continue their entire careers as RN's.

However, some nurses choose to further their education by pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN). In doing so, open doors into management, administration, leadership, and even Doctoral degrees in the nursing field. Effectively, they are taking the skills that they have obtained as RN's and honing them into finely tuned instruments of medical knowledge and expertise.

For those RN's who already have their Associate's Degree, there are many programs available to move from being an RN to BSN. These programs generally take between 18-21 months and include courses in nursing theory, research, and informatics. Combined, these courses provide nurses with the more advanced skills necessary in today's ever changing and rapidly evolving healthcare field. 

Furthermore, nurses who advance from RN to BSN are better equipped to adhere to professional practice standards and are more capable of utilizing critical thinking skills within the medical setting. This translates into a higher quality of care for patients based not only upon best practices, but also upon innovative decision-making and treatment suggestions.

Ultimately, the decision to advance from being an RN to BSN boils down to the individual's career goals. As an RN, nurses are able to provide rudimentary medical care and support. However, those nurses who obtain a BSN are able to assist in providing treatment, assist in the planning of treatment options and will work closely with doctors to monitor the progress and the effectiveness of treatment plans.

Nurses who obtain a BSN are also more likely to earn promotions into supervisory and case management positions that carry with them significant levels of responsibility. In time, many nurses with a BSN decide to continue their education and become Nurse Practitioners, Clinical Nurse Specialists, or even Nursing Educators themselves.

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