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RNs discuss effect bachelor’s degrees had on their lives, careers

Sunday June 22, 2014
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Joshua Tippy, RN, BSN, a nurse manager at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, knew he wanted to move up within his organization. He credits going back to school for his BSN as the impetus behind reaching that career goal.

“My BSN helped me attain a leadership role in nursing,” Tippy said. “An opportunity such as this has been one of the biggest blessings because I strive for excellence and am committed to professional growth and development.”

He is by far not the only nurse who believes he or she benefited from returning to school to earn a BSN. Kathy Sacco, RN, BSN, CCRN, CHPN, is the director of the ICU and cardiopulmonary services at Simi Valley (Calif.) Hospital. Sacco already was in a leadership position when she went back for her BSN and said she felt the degree “legitimized” her position.

“Since I was already a manager, it didn’t directly influence my salary, but definitely provided me stability in keeping my management-level position, as well as leveraging me for future education and opportunity,” she said.

Sacco, who is halfway through an MSN/acute care nurse practitioner program, said earning her BSN influenced her practice.

“I did notice that it completely changed my way of thinking about nursing and healthcare problems,” Sacco said. “My BSN expanded my critical thinking and gave me a framework in searching for evidence-based practice rather than just throwing out common-sense solutions to problems. I became completely sold on searching for scientific literature for research on effective, proven strategies.”

Anna Lipira, RN,BC, BSN, a nurse clinician 3 in cardiac rehabilitation at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., noticed her job satisfaction changed after earning her BSN.

“I am happier,” Lipira said. “I was always happy, but now I think I feel like I am a better clinician because of my education. When you are serving your patients, it makes you feel better. Getting a BSN opens your eyes to things, and you see the big picture better.”

Chioma Okechukwu, RN, BSN, a nurse at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital in Baltimore, began her career in 2005 as a geriatric nursing assistant and became an LPN in 2006. She knew she wanted more, though, so she began taking classes to become an RN and earn her BSN at the same time, achieving both goals in 2013.

“Since I’ve become a BSN, I’ve noticed that I’m even more observant than I used to be,” Okechukwu said. “I am always very alert to everything that is going on with my patients and others. I use the clinical skills I have learned to provide timely care assessments and follow-ups.”

Anna Cardenas, RN, BSN, PCCN, a nurse at Chilton Medical Center in Pompton Plains, N.J., started working as a nurse in 2007 and earned her BSN in 2010. “Every nurse should have it,” Cardenas said. “It really opens up your mind to what the future of nursing is going to be.”

The following are quotes from other nurses from across the U.S. who earned a BSN after becoming a nurse:

"I have noticed a definite change when communicating with others. I feel that my communication skills have improved since finishing my BSN degree courses. Another important thing I noticed was how evidence-based practice is so important. It wasn't until I was in school and learning did I see how this influences nursing." ~ Karen Lee, RN, clinical manager of the med/surg unit and vascular access team at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster, Md.

"I really felt going for the BSN was the right thing to do. I set obtaining the BSN as a goal of mine to obtain it. I think now there is more external pressure because organizations are now advertising BSN preferred." ~ Jean Smith, RNC, MSN, manager of clinical operations for the NICU at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill.

"Since I received my BSN degree, I have been able to pursue different avenues not only in the inpatient setting, but also in the outpatient setting. It's very rewarding." ~ Mirian Guevera, RN, BSN, CWOCN, WCC, wound care coordinator/educator at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles

"Aside from leadership and better patient clinical assessment, my home health nursing and case management skills were my greatest improvements. We often send patients home with home health, but I never knew what happens after that. During my rotation, I realized how and what needs to be done on the unit to educate patients and families before they leave and what to expect with home health services as well as what equipment might be needed at home." ~ Filor Izanian, RN, MSN, pulmonary telemetry unit manager at Glendale (Calif.) Adventist Medical Center

"I feel that I owe it to my patients to be as knowledgeable and as skilled as possible when I have the opportunity to care for them. A significant part of my preparedness involved having a higher level of education, which armed me with the knowledge and critical thinking necessary to enhance my nursing care." ~ Andrew Baird, RN, BSN, clinical nurse 3 at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

To see what else is trending, visit www.Nurse.com/BSN-Education.


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