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The return for the BSN

Sunday June 22, 2014
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Many nurses are going back to school to earn their BSNs. We discussed nurses going back for more education with Jill Price, RN, PhD, MSN, CCRN, assistant dean of the RN-to-BSN online option at Chamberlain College of Nursing.

Q: Since joining Chamberlain in 2007, have you seen more students interested in pursuing the RN to BSN degree path? If so, why?

A: Yes. Since joining I have seen a greater interest, and I feel the reason why is twofold. One is regulatory, and the second one is personal. From the regulatory standpoint, institutions such as the IOM have pushed policies to recommend nurses to obtain a BSN degree with the 80/20 campaign. Also from a regulatory standpoint, nurses who work in Magnet accredited hospitals need to have an entry-level BSN. So a lot of the associate degree nurses, because the hospitals are becoming Magnet accredited, are forced to go back to school. From a personal standpoint, they want to further their education and go into more advanced nurse practice roles such as nurse practitioner and then moving onward such as obtaining their DNP.

Q: How has earning your BSN degree benefited you, both personally and professionally?

A: Personally it fulfilled my dream of wanting to have at least a BSN degree. I was the first person in my family to even obtain a college degree. Professionally, at the time that I chose to go back to get my BSN it was for a promotion. As for how that affected my career, going back to get my BSN opened up many more doors. I not only realized the value of continuing my education as a nurse, but I had more job opportunities so I continued on that path and I eventually went back for my masterís and my PhD.

Q: What advice have you given to students who are considering pursuing their RN to BSN, but are unsure whether this is the right path for them?

A: First, I ask them their reason. Is it professional or personal? Itís interesting because we do get quite a few students who have to go back and donít want to be there, but have to in order to maintain or get an entry-level job. For those students, I try to give them a picture of the value of the education and how it will open up more opportunities for them. It will improve their professional practice. In the BSN program, theory is taught. There, a lot of nursing theory is reinforced, and it really gives meaning to the nurseís professional practice. Thereís meaning behind the practice now.

Q: What advice have you given to students who are graduating from the RN to BSN program in terms of nursing experience and future education?

A: I continue to reinforce the importance of education and encourage them to not stop with their BSN. I encourage them to go on to their masterís degree whether they have an interest in nursing education or advanced practice roles. And I encourage them to pursue those dreams.

Q: What nursing roles do you see the RN to BSN students most interested in pursuing after they graduate from the program?

A: I would say nurse manager roles and community health nursing roles. There are a lot of states that require a BSN to work in the community. And staff development roles prefer a BSN.

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


Joe Grace is special topics editor. Send thoughts to specialty@nurse.com.