In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (now known as NASEM - National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine) released a report recommending that 80% of the nursing workforce achieve a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) by the year 2020. And while a growing body of research shows that BSN-prepared nurses help improve patient outcomes while keeping healthcare costs down, many nurses with associate degrees in nursing (ADN) are still employed in facilities across the country.
The IOM’s report, coupled with a growing preference for achieving ANCC Magnet® status, has resulted in a push for nurses to achieve greater levels of educational training. But ADN prepared nurses still skillfully provide valuable services to help patients achieve greater health. So how do you decide whether to return to school for your BSN? Looking at a few of the pros and cons of each degree type can be a good starting point for determining whether you should pursue further education.
An associate’s degree in nursing is the traditional benchmark for entry into the nursing profession. After completing this degree, nurses are free to practice in a variety of clinical settings and specialty areas. For some nurses, the ADN offers exactly what they’re looking for without the need for extensive schooling. But this degree type isn’t without it’s draw-backs.
After the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nurses have become responsible for providing high quality patient care in a technically advanced environment to people with increasingly complicated medical problems. As part of the healthcare workforce, nurses are also expected to closely collaborate with physicians, therapists, and other providers to achieve the best patient outcomes possible. In many healthcare facilities, this means nurses must achieve a higher degree of education and training to meet these needs.