The Institute of Medicine (IOM) published The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health in 2010. (The IOM is now known as National Academy of Medicine.) One of the report’s recommendations was that 80 percent of registered nurses should have a bachelor’s degree (BSN) by 2020.
The IOM based its recommendation on research that shows that facilities that employ nurses who have at least a BSN see lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors and more positive patient outcomes. The IOM report states that, “Nurses are crucial in preventing medication errors, reducing rates of infection, and even facilitating patients’ transition from hospital to home.”
Another reason for the recommendation was the increasing complexity of the healthcare system and medical technology. According to the report, “Advances in medical science and technology, the changing practice boundaries between medicine and nursing, and the increase in the share of the population with multiple chronic health conditions create a level of complexity in health care that requires a more educated health care workforce.”
Progress Toward The BSN By 2020 Goal
The report states that, “Achieving this target will help meet future demand for nurses qualified for advanced practice positions and possessing competencies in such areas as community care, public health, health policy, evidence-based practice, research, and leadership.”
The nursing profession is making progress toward the IOM’s recommendation. From 2010 to 2014, the number of students enrolled in RN-to-BSN programs increased 69 percent, according to the Campaign for Action, an initiative to improve America’s health through nursing. The number of working nurses with a BSN or higher increased from 49 percent in 2010 to 51 percent in 2014.
With 2020 quickly approaching, now is a great time for registered nurses without bachelor’s degrees to earn one. Although completing any degree is a big commitment, it does not have to take years. You can complete the RN to BSN online program at Colorado Mesa University in 18 months.
How a BSN Benefits You as a Nurse
A BSN gives you knowledge that extends beyond basic patient care, potentially opening more job opportunities and improving your earning potential.
You will take courses that cover a wide range of competencies, including managing the care of diverse populations; evidence-based practice and research; and practical skills like teamwork, collaboration and practice. You may also examine health policy, healthcare financing, nursing leadership, quality improvement and systems thinking
Many employers now require their new hires to have a BSN. Nurses without a bachelor’s degree risk missing out on new opportunities, especially management and leadership positions. A BSN also gives you the option pursue advanced nursing education.
Beyond those benefits, earning a bachelor’s degree can be a source of personal enrichment and satisfaction. You have the opportunity to network with other nurses and encounter specializations you may be unfamiliar with.
If you would like to be part of the movement to earn a BSN by 2020, investigate the available options, including RN to BSN online programs, and find the best fit for you.
Learn more about Colorado Mesa University online RN to BSN program.
Creating a More Highly Qualified Nursing Workforce. (n.d.). American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Registered Nurses. (2015, December 17). BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook
Transforming Nursing Education. (n.d.). Campaign for Action
The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. (2010). The National Academies of Science
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