Now more than ever, nurses are vital to keeping communities healthy and safe. If you’re not a nurse but have ever thought about transitioning into the field, there’s never been a better time.
And odds are — if you’ve spent any amount of time exploring nursing schools — you’ve discovered myriad degree programs that would put you on a path to become a nurse. If you already have at least 60 non-nursing credits or a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, specifically Averett University’s 16-month ABSN program, may be your best option.
Why is a BSN in nursing important? For starters, BSN-educated nurses have more job opportunities available to them than nurses who do not. Nurses with baccalaureate degrees also have greater job advancement possibilities than their peers who hold an Associate Degree of Nursing (ADN). We’ll delve into these reasons and others below.
What Is a BSN?
You have multiple educational routes to consider if you want to transition into the nursing field — each with its own merits — but it’s strongly encouraged for those who desire a career as a registered nurse to pursue a BSN.
The primary reason? Baccalaureate nursing programs go beyond the basic nursing skills training covered in associate nursing degree programs, covering key leadership, management and community health nursing concepts. As a result of their more in-depth nursing studies and critical thinking skills, BSN-educated nurses are in a much better position to advance in their careers (more on that below).
The ABSN Program at Averett University
You can expect to receive just as comprehensive a nursing education through the Accelerated BSN program at Averett University as you would in a traditional, classroom-based BSN program. What sets it apart, however, is the amount of time it will take to earn your degree. Most traditional BSN programs take four years to complete, while the Averett ABSN program can be completed in as few as 16 months.
Because our program leverages your existing non-nursing college credits or bachelor’s degree, our accredited hybrid curriculum dives right into nursing coursework from the very start. Over four, full-time semesters, the Averett ABSN program comprises:
- Online courses that set the foundation for your nursing theory knowledge via an interactive e-Learning platform.
- Skills and simulation labs at our Norfolk ABSN program site, where you’ll apply your online coursework and hone your clinical judgment in a safe, state-of-the-art mock clinical setting.
- Clinical rotations at top Hampton Roads health care facilities, where you’ll have access to valuable real-world patient care scenarios.
Why Earn a BSN?
Pursuing a BSN requires a certain level of commitment (and rightfully so, as being a nurse takes major dedication), so it matters to know why putting in all the extra effort into earning a BSN is important. We cover just a few of the reasons below.
Numerous studies conducted over the past decade point to the fact that BSN-educated nurses produce better outcomes for their patients (mainly because of the in-depth nursing study that defines BSN degrees mentioned above), so it comes as no surprise that more and more employers are making a BSN a job requirement for registered nurse positions. The Institute of Medicine even recommended that 80 percent of nurses on hospital staffs should hold a BSN by 2020. The health care industry has made great strides toward reaching that ambitious goal, continuing to improve the lives of patients nationwide.
As mentioned above, so many more doors open for you when you earn a BSN compared to an associate degree in nursing. Thanks to your comprehensive nursing education, with a BSN you’re much more likely to be considered for specialized positions and supervisory or nursing leadership roles.
During your clinical rotations as an Averett ABSN student, you’ll gain valuable opportunities to interact with patients in a variety of specialties, including care of well and ill adults, women and children, the community, the critically ill and those with mental health disorders.
Clinical rotations in our program also grant you access to networking and career opportunities at some of the top health care facilities in Hampton Roads. Not only will you get to “try on” a variety of diverse nursing specialties, you’ll also work alongside fellow nurses and health care providers who could potentially extend you a job offer once you graduate. For that reason, we recommend always putting your best foot forward, treating every clinical shift as part of a 16-month job interview.
If you don’t find your exact fit in a hospital setting, as a BSN-educated nurse, you have plenty of other career options that go beyond the bedside. While by no means an extensive list, just a handful of them include:
- Psychiatric mental health nurse
- Physician’s office nurse
- Nurse case manager
- Nursing informatics
- School nurse
- Legal consultancy nurse
- Research nurse
Career Advancement Opportunities
While it’s true an associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the minimum educational credential needed to work as an RN, BSN-educated nurses typically earn more responsibility, supervisory roles and, therefore, higher salaries over the course of their careers.
You’ll also need a bachelor’s degree in nursing if you ever decide to earn a master’s degree in nursing (MSN) — the minimum educational requirement for such high-paying advanced nursing positions as nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist and nurse midwife. Here are the average salaries for these roles in Virginia as of May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Nurse practitioner: $105,170
- Nurse anesthetist: $187,320
- Nurse-midwife: $89,870
Leverage Your Existing Education to Make it Happen Sooner
There’s no denying a BSN degree is important for your future career. Just as vital is the ability to earn your nursing degree and enter the profession as soon as possible. The health care industry continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid clip; perhaps no one is needed more than nurses are to ensure the quality of patient care.
The good news for you — if you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 non-nursing college credits and meet our other academic requirements — is you may qualify to apply to the Averett ABSN program. Reach out to one of our dedicated admissions counselors to determine whether our ABSN program is the right fit for you and your professional goals. Seats are available now!