The benefits of continuing your nursing education
As a busy RN, finding the time and resources to continue your education may be the last thing on your mind. But it’s something that you should be giving serious consideration. Whether or not your already have your bachelor of science in nursing degree, choosing to further your education can have a number of benefits on your career.
Provide the best patient care
As in any field, furthering your education can help improve your performance in the workplace. But unlike most jobs, when you’re a nurse your ability to do your job can have life or death implications. Consequently, making sure your knowledge and abilities are up to par is critical.
This can be especially true if you’ve been working in the field for many years. Returning to school to pursue your education will get you up to date on the latest and greatest best practices in the health care field. With health care reform rapidly increasing the importance of quality care and patient safety, being trained in and familiar with new methods, technology and legislation can have a significant impact on your ability to care for your patients effectively.
Based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, the nursing field is aiming to dramatically increase the number of registered nurses with BSN degrees through 2020. You may not need the degree to keep your current job, but if you plan to apply for a new position within your organization or transfer to somewhere new, lacking a bachelor’s degree could significantly hurt your chances of receiving that new position.
However, if you’ve already earned your BSN, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider furthering your education. Because of the increase in nurses with bachelor’s degree, a BSN will keep you competitive, but it will no longer set you apart from the crowd in the same way that it used to. If you want to be considered for management positions or other leadership roles, you may find that a master’s degree is a worthy investment.
Increase your prospects
Ultimately, making the decision to further your nursing education will increase your options in the workplace. As the health care field shifts toward value-based care, nurses are playing an increasingly important role in patient care. Consequently, there are a growing number of options for those who want to further their career in nursing. In addition to general management roles, you can choose to pursue positions in areas such as patient safety or quality assurance. You can also became a nurse educator and instruct the next generation of health care workers. Because of the increased levels of responsibility, most of these roles call for a formal degree, usually a bachelor’s or master’s.
Having a degree, whether it’s a bachelor’s or a master’s, will also likely increase your salary prospects. For example, according to research from PayScale.com, the median annual salary for a BSN-holder was nearly $30,000 more than an RN without a formal degree.