This article was provided by TNAA Healthcare.
More leading healthcare organizations are pushing for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to be the industry standard, citing an increased quality of patient care. According to The Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety, nurses with BSNs were better prepared in evidence-based practice, data analysis, and project implementation than those who only held an associate degree in nursing (ADN). There was even a push to increase the number of nurses with a BSN to 80% by 2020, though recent data shows the United States hit just 59% in 2019. Still, the effort to increase the number of BSNs continues, so if you don’t have this degree, there may be a reason to consider enrolling in an R.N. to BSN program.
The good news is life on the road as a travel nurse shouldn’t hold you back from continuing your education. You can pursue both! R.N. to BSN programs can typically be completed in two years or less.
Besides the fact that it could soon be required, there are definitely other perks for travel nurses who get a BSN.
A 2021 survey by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) found that nearly 41% of hospitals and other healthcare settings require a bachelor’s degree, and approximately 77% of employers prefer it. NursingProcess.org further emphasizes that point with its findings on job openings for nurses. It estimates that there will be about 105,600 job openings for BSN nurses and approximately 65,500 for ADN nurses each year.
The career advancement opportunities are wide-ranging for nurses who earn their bachelor’s degree. Those with BSNs can apply to Magnet hospitals, a designation from the AACN that recognizes the best healthcare facilities in the nation, to serve as nurse managers and nurse leaders.
PayScale shows that R.N.s with an ADN make an average of $64,786 while nurses with a BSN make $68,328. While entry-level positions for nurses with an ADN or BSN have close pay rates, nurses with BSNs are eligible to apply for higher-paying jobs not necessarily available to nurses with just an ADN. So, when taking this into consideration, the pay gap between the two degrees widens.
The AACN Fact Sheet says BSN programs teach students all they would learn for an ADN and more in-depth studies. These in-depth studies include the physical and social sciences, research, public and community health, management, and more – preparing the nurse for a broader scope of practice and helping them understand issues that affect patient care in the United States.
There are several traveler-friendly R.N. to BSN programs out there, and there are also grants, scholarships, and programs to help cover the cost.
TNAA partnered with Aspen University to offer a BSN degree program available entirely online, and it’s open to travelers anywhere in the country. That means you can learn and study from anywhere and on your time. Through this program, students can earn their degree in as little as 12 months or up to 24 months. Students must pay all tuition and fees up front, but TNAA will provide 100% tuition reimbursement once the program is completed and documentation has been submitted proving all eligibility requirements have been met.
TNAA also offers a $2,500 scholarship twice a year for nurses working to earn their BSN degree and plans to add a scholarship for students in full-time programs pursuing a career as an allied health professional next year.
Cross Country Healthcare has relationships with various academic partners to offer discounts for nurses going to school to receive their BSN or higher degrees. R.N. to BSN discounts are available with Capella University, Chamberlain College of Nursing, Oklahoma Christian University, and others. The discount amount and the program length vary by university.
Aya gives $1,000 scholarships to up to 10 people each year. To apply, you have to be in good academic standing, volunteer or be involved in extracurricular activities, and not be a current Aya nurse.
Nurse.org offers a Healthcare Leaders Scholarship of $1,000 for students pursuing a degree in nursing or medicine. To qualify, you have to be at least 17-years-old, have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and be a U.S. citizen.
If you are interested in earning a higher degree, know that your unique skill set acquired from working as a travel nurse in various hospital settings will only enhance your studies. Ask your agency what perks, like scholarships or tuition reimbursement, are available to you when you pursue your BSN.