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BSN Benefits for Nurses

One Nurse’s Journey

Published May 17, 2016 2:30 PM by Beth Hogan
It was fall of 2010; the Institute of Medicine released their recommendations for the future of nursing. One recommendation they made was to increase the ratio of BSN prepared nurses to 80% by 2020 to help meet the increased demands in nursing to care for the increasingly complex patients.

By 2011, like many other facilities across the nation one large rural hospital in upstate New York started to make changes. One particular announcement was that any nurses practicing in the professional advancement program would not be eligible for a level 4 if they had not acquired their BSN by 2016. For those staff members that had been in the program for decades, there was frustration, fear, and anger. As a diploma graduate with three decades of experience, I was amongst them.

Over the next year, there was a half-heartedly review of BSN programs. Doing the math on tuition costs versus income, time commitment, and fear resulted in digging in of heels. It was easy to argue there was there was no time to return to school, family obligations and job would make it too challenging.

In 2012, I stumbled on a program that seemed very affordable when considering tuition reimbursement, tax benefit, and ebooks were included in costs. The commit to try one five-week class seemed doable; one can do anything for five weeks. Online programs allowed self-scheduling. If I was struggling, got nothing out of it, I had only committed five weeks and promised myself I did not have to continue.

What the Institute of Medicine did not report was how personally stimulating returning to school was going to be, how rewarding it would be to be interacting with nurses across the country, and how fast the classes would go by. Five weeks were not enough. Eleven classes were not enough. In 2013, I enrolled in a masters program. The 2016 deadline has come and gone and two degrees later, I am looking for my next challenge. My goal for 2015 was to make it easier for my colleagues to get started, to encourage them, and to motivate them. My goal for 2016 is to share that same knowledge with you so that you might be inspired or share the information with your colleagues to help motivate and inspire them.

Do I have any regrets? Yes, I am disappointed I did not start sooner. Be a role model to your children and colleagues. Take the journey, have no regrets, do it for your patients, but more importantly do it for yourself.

Respectfully submitted,
Beth Hogan MSN, RN, CNOR, CRN

20 comments

I found they tried to tell me I had to commit to a complete program but on further questioning, I was allowed to take a class every six months without having to reapply.  Worst case scenerio, if I went longer than six months the application process was simply and there was no charge.

Beth Hogan January 13, 2018 3:27 PM

I choose GCU after extensive research.  A tool that I actually put together for my colleagues at Glens Falls Hospital.  I found I was asking the same questions of every program and if all of us were doing the same thing, why shouldn't I make that aspect easier.  

Beth January 13, 2018 3:24 PM
Glens Falls NY

Congratulations Sandra, certainly ahead of the curve and smart to have done it before it was required.  Have you worked with encouraging any of your colleagues on the importance?  2020 is just around the corner!  

Beth Hogan June 5, 2016 4:20 PM

I graduated in 1984 with my ASN - then in 1997 with my BSN - so glad I went back as it came in handy after moving from another state in 2003 - now many of my coworkers are scrambling to get their BSN  as our facility is working towards Magnet status - I find in general that the BSN prepared nurse is a more professional coworker - as nursing is so much more than many make it out to be - can't wait till 2020!

Sandra Haston, SDS/PACU - staff RN, Harrison Medical Center June 2, 2016 8:21 PM
Bremerton WA

Hello Christine,

Kudos to you on two associates degrees and a certification.  You do not provide direct care currently, do you expect to be in the same role until retirement?  It is not just the larger hospitals but as hospitals across the country are looking toward meeting the the IOM recommendation, increasing numbers of facilities looking to achieve magnet status, and states are looking toward legislation requiring BSN more and more facilities are looking for BSN either prior to even offering an interview or within a certain time frame of hire.  The one thing I might offer is that it is would be easier to acquire now and be glad you have it later than wish you had achieved it down the line.  

Does your facility offer any tuition reimbursement or financial incentive for a Bachelors degree?  I see it as free money and not taking advantage is a no brainer.  

That said, the decision is a very personal one but to assume we know what our futures might bring is presumptuous in what is a can be a  turbulent environment.  Not sure I answered your question, but unfortunately, I don't think it is a simple answer.  

Beth Hogan June 1, 2016 8:44 PM
GLens Falls NY

Thank you for your story! I'd love to talk with any prospective BSN nurses who are looking for options for online programs. Lewis-Clark State College has a wonderful RN-BSN program that is flexible and has one of the lowest tuition rates in the state of Idaho. We have have nurses in our program living all across the country, making life-school-work a reality. Don't wait! Fall semester is only a couple months away!

Tiffany Pilon, Nursing & Health Sciences - Program Advisor, Lewis-Clark State College June 1, 2016 7:41 PM
Lewiston ID

I have an associate degrees in both business and nursing, but I am board certified. I really have no interest in obtaining a BSN as I do not provide direct care. Is the fact that one just has a bachelors good enough or are these larger hospitals specifically requesting the BSN? In Florida, some facilities are even requesting non -clinical staff have these degrees. In the ever changing employment world, you never know where you may end of up.. so any advice for me?

Christine Gilli, Mental health - Clinical coordnator, managed care June 1, 2016 6:00 PM
New Port Richey FL

I have an associate degrees in both business and nursing, but I am board certified. I really have no interest in obtaining a BSN as I do not provide direct care. Is the fact that one just has a bachelors good enough or are these larger hospitals specifically requesting the BSN? In Florida, some facilities are even requesting non -clinical staff have these degrees. In the ever changing employment world, you never know where you may end of up.. so any advice for me?

Christine Gilli, Mental health - Clinical coordnator, managed care June 1, 2016 4:56 PM
New Port Richey FL

Thank you all for your insightful comments, we may not all agree on perspective but it did open a dialogue and that is so important.  There are clear reasons the Institute of Medicine made its recommendations.  Whether we agree or disagree, there are states across the nation that are pushing to see BSN in 10 legislation so clearly BSN as a minimum is on our horizon to remain competitive in the market place.

Hello Valarie, Daissy, Tina,

I attended Grand Canyon University for both my BSN and my MSN.  I was able to take a class and not have to re enroll as long as there was not more than 6 months between the finish of one class and the start of the next.  Not necessarily what they wanted but with tuition reimbursement and tax break it meant little to no money out of pocket... I will explain that in my next blog!  

Joanne, I have no idea what program you attended, but wondering if your choice in programs.  My diploma program had no emphasis on evidence based practice, nor was I able to interact with nurses from around the country on how so many things are different than my little world in upstate NY.  As for cost, I did two degrees for little to no money out of pocket and the ink is not dry on my MSN and I have been offered a tremendous management opportunity.  

Carla, I would question how the nurse choose the program for ones needs and budget.  

Ava congratulations!  That is awesome.  In full disclosure, I did not see the benefit until after the fact.  

Kudos Linda, you are the type of nurse that gets it!  I have to question anyone that went through a BSN and got nothing out of it could not have been a full participant.

Curt, your response was interesting and a bit confusing.   I am a diploma nurse of 30 plus years when I returned to school.  I in no way said experience is not important but I do feel that my education has broadened my perspective and certainly my opportunities.  

Jan, thank you.  I attended Grand Canyon University but I actually researched what programs my colleagues attended in the past few years and there are some very well recognized economical choices available across the country.  

Congratulations Lorraine!  That is great!  I know many of my colleagues questioned why I would bother at my age.  I started my BSN for all the wrong reasons but got so much out of it, I completed my MSN for me!

Beth Hogan May 31, 2016 11:34 PM
Glens Falls NY

Hi Beth,

What a great accomplishment. Way to Go! I also just completed my BSN in December 2015 with an online program, and it gives me great satisfaction to have done so, especially working full time. I was a graduate from an Associate degree in 1989. I acquired such a tremendous amount of knowledge from the BSN program which is improving my leadership skills.

Thanks for such great inspiration.

Lorraine Halliburton, ASU - BSN RN , SNCH May 31, 2016 8:50 PM
Oceanside NY

Beth,

Please tell us the college you went to. Yes the big company are firing ADN nurses so they can go magnet. Then when you look for another job BSN only apply. Love your blog.

Thanks Jan

Jan, Postpartum - RN, AMN Healthcare May 31, 2016 6:19 PM
Riverside CA

I have a BS in business and an ADN in Nursing and a masters in another field.  For the past 10+ years, I have held management positions.  I can find no difference between ADN, Dipolma or BSN graduates.  It is very personalized and I have found stars and duds in each educational choice.  I am currently finishing my BSN and I am convinced that the BSN will not make me a 'better nurse".  I support having a BSN because a four year degree should be the entry level for nurses, but do not and will not jump on the BSN bandwagon that BSN's are better nurses.   I do believe that any type of professional (ie- educators, accountants, engineers, etc.) should have a four year degree.  I also know that ADN nurses do go to school four years, in California,  two years to get their pre-req's and then two years in a Nursing program.   Why not convert all ADN programs to BSN programs?  Some of the best nurses I have ever worked with were ADN and diploma nurses.  I'll take experience over education any time!!  

Curt Cabral, Urgent Care - Director May 31, 2016 6:08 PM
Bakersfield CA

I attended the University of Illinois BSN completion program.  Best decision I ever made.  My only regret was not pursuing the APRN program at Illinois.

leslie , Insurance - Utilization Review Mgmt RN May 31, 2016 4:18 PM
IL

Which school did you attend?

Tina, , LPN Family Practice May 31, 2016 3:02 PM
Fair Bluff NC

To those who believe that a BSN is/was a waste of time and money.  First, why did you choose a program that did not include courses that interested you?   With so many options, you should be able to find one that provides a good education and interesting classes.   If you just chose the one that was easiest, quickest, and/or cheapest ... then the poor quality should not have surprised you.    Second, the benefits of education depend on what you put into it.  If you go into it with a bad attitude, you'll get much less out of it.  Go in with a good attitude, and your'll get a lot more out of it.

Linda, Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters May 31, 2016 2:53 PM
Norfolk VA

Hi Beth, your sentiments are shared. My only regret was that i did not start my MSN right after completing my BSN. I am now halfway through my online MSN and having so much fun challenging myself. I do it for myself, or my patients and for the profession. A charge nurse who is very comfortable and feel more at home with being a staff nurse. The value of what I'm now learning is priceless!!

Ava May 31, 2016 2:49 PM

I read JoAnn's comment with great interest, as, before I retired, I heard my former LPN, Diploma and ADN colleagues reiterate the same sentiments. One former coworker, who had been an excellent LPN, graduated from an ADN program prior to obtaining her BSN, as the hospital kept pushing her and others, to do so. However, she stated that her studies in the LPN program plus her vast experience was much more valuable even than her ADN, and certainly the BSN program. Each program was expensive, and for the BSN, not money well spent except in the eyes of the college..

Carla Skidmore, Patient Education - RN, now retirre May 31, 2016 2:34 PM
Pittsfield MA

Recently completed my BSN and feel that it is a waste of time. It does nothing for the bedside nurse and offered no education for future in management positions. Money would have been better spent being put away for retirement. That fact that experience no longer holds value is sad. The education system is far removed from the reality of the bedside nurse.

JoAnn Balnis, RN May 31, 2016 2:13 PM

Which online school did you choose for your BSN?

Daissy Garzon May 31, 2016 1:49 PM
Woodside NY

I am interested in the program you choose.  Most of the programs I have reviewed require that you commit for the long term rather than just 1 class.  

I am a ADN prepared nurse but also have a BS in another field.  I'm interested in something that will look at all my courses and not have to retake core subjects if possible.

Valerie, Occupational - Health Services Manager, Center for Occupational Medicine May 31, 2016 1:31 PM
Augusta GA

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