Here’s How a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Can Help Achieve Your Goals
Learn more about career opportunities for BSN graduates.
What can I do once I earn this degree?
After earning your BSN, the jobs search begins. You may find opportunities in a variety of settings, from home health care programs to hospitals.
While the crux of a nurse’s role remains the same wherever they work, some tasks may differ depending on the facility they work in. Many nurses with a BSN work in leadership roles, advising nurses with associate’s degrees or certification. If you have a BSN, you may also be expected to play a bigger role in high-stakes situations, like major surgeries.
While this isn’t an all-encompassing list, this will give you an idea of a typical set of responsibilities for a nurse with a BSN:
- Developing nursing care treatment plans
- Treating patients for illnesses, injuries, and other medical condition
- Providing support to patients and their families in coping with a specific illness or medical condition
- Educating patients—and the public at large—about how to improve their health habits
- Supervising other nurses and assign hospital tasks based on patient care plans
- Administering medications and injections
- Assisting doctors during surgeries or major procedures
- Performing routine lab work
Where can I work?
With a BSN, your workplace options are likely to vary. Many nurses begin their careers in a hospital setting, where they’re met with a wide range of patients and medical situations. However, skilled nurses are needed in all areas of health care. Common places for RNs to work include:
- Private medical and surgical hospitals: 48 percent of nurses work in private hospitals. In this setting, you’ll treat a broad spectrum of illnesses and injuries. Some of the most common areas nurses are needed are in surgery, the maternity ward, and the emergency room.
- Physicians’ offices: Working in a physicians’ office generally means less emergency situations and better regularity in hours. Nurses’ duties in a physicians’ office include prepping patients, overseeing records and giving injections.
- Public medical and surgical hospitals: Public hospitals are now less common in the U.S., so fewer nurses are employed there. Working in a public hospital includes assisting in the maternity ward and emergency room, as well as keeping patient records and administering medications.
- Home health care services: You’ll work to make sure your patient receives the medication and care that he or she needs. Patients might be children with medical needs that their parents can’t meet, or they might be adults who are unable to care for themselves.
- Nursing care facilities: Nurse duties in these facilities may include providing elderly patient care, including bathing and assisting in daily activities. Other nursing care facilities provide rehabilitation care for patients who were recently released from the hospitals.
Will I need more certification or continuing education units to continue to practice?
Upon earning your BSN, you’ll need to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination, otherwise known as the NCLEX-RN. While the test is challenging, your bachelor’s degree in nursing program is set up to prepare you for the examination.
If you’re already a registered nurse and you earn your BSN by completing the RN-BSN degree, you will not have to retake the NCLEX-RN exam. If you decide to practice in a different state than where you first certified, you’ll need retake the NCLEX-RN.
Depending on the state in which you practice, continuing education hours may need to be fulfilled at certain intervals of your career. While some states require you to take continuing education classes each year, other states may not have any requirements at all. Always check with your state nursing board to get the latest requirements.
How do I advance in my career? What are my next steps?
Plenty of RNs work for decades holding a BSN and enjoy great career success. However, there are other opportunities to go further by earning your MSN or doctorate in nursing. The primary advantages that come with earning an advanced degree include higher salary opportunities and broadened career paths, such as nurse practitioner or nurse administrator roles.
Working toward an MSN or doctorate in nursing means that you may one day be eligible for opportunities in educating other nurses or conducting funded research.
If you’re considering pursuing a higher degree, find out from your employer if they offer tuition assistance. In many cases, hospitals and other medical facilities help nurses pay their tuition so they can return to school while working.
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