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Who Benefits From an Online RN to BSN Program?

A growing number of RNs holding associate degrees are realizing the benefits of earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through an online RN to BSN program. Historically, an associate degree was a common educational pathway into the profession of nursing. Advances in medicine and the evolving role of nurses have led to the push for a BSN to be the primary educational requirement for registered nurses.

Citing the increasingly complex role nurses perform, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) -- now known as the National Academy of Medicine -- said in a 2010 report that it "recommends that the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degrees be increased to 80 percent by 2020."

"Care within the hospital continues to grow more complex, with nurses having to make critical decisions associated with care for sicker, frailer patients and having to use more sophisticated, life-saving technology coupled with information management systems that require skills in analysis and synthesis," the report said. "A more educated nursing workforce would be better equipped to meet the demands of an evolving health care system, and this need could be met by increasing the percentage of nurses with a BSN."

More RN to BSN Programs

A Global Qualitative Nursing Research study correlates the rapid increase in the number of RN to BSN programs with recommendations by IOM and other medical groups to increase the percentage of nurses holding BSNs. The 2015 study placed the number of these bridge programs in the United States at 700.

A 2017 article by Inside Higher Ed described the recent increase in the number of online RN to BSN programs.

"The number of registered nurses who earned bachelor's degrees in nursing increased by 170 percent since 2010 because of the rapid expansion of online RN-to-BSN programs," the article said.

The article went on to quote Juliann Sebastian, dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Nursing, as saying that "for post-licensure BSN nursing programs, which often focus on leadership, safety, quality of care and communication, the transition to online education has been relatively smooth. Online courses allow many working nurses, including those with families, to earn BSNs and graduate degrees at their own pace." 

Benefits of a BSN

To many within the medical field, the advantages of a BSN are clear. A BSN comes with the benefits of increased earnings potential, greater access to advanced nursing specialties and the possibility of continuing to graduate school. According to the compensation website PayScale, nurses with a BSN earned $12,000 more per year on average than nurses with an associate degree.

Nurses aiming to advance their careers while continuing to work have a convenient and competitive option with Eastern Illinois University's online RN to BSN program. The CCNE-accredited program is taught by EIU faculty and is an affordable and convenient way for working nurses to earn a bachelor's degree in as few as 14 months. Build on the skills learned from years of nursing while gaining insight into pharmacogenomics, management, community health nursing practices and more.

A BSN is fast becoming the standard within the nursing profession. Stay ahead of the education curve by considering the online RN to BSN program at EIU.

Learn about the EIU online RN to BSN program.


Institute of Medicine: The Future of Nursing - Focus on Education

NCBI: The RN to BSN Transition Online Nursing Programs

PayScale: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree

PayScale: Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Degree

Inside Higher Ed: Addressing the Nursing Shortage

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