For Registered Nurses (RNs) who may be thinking about going back to school for their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), now is the perfect time. The growing need for nurse leaders in the changing world of health care, as well as the increasing availability of flexible BSN programs, have created a perfect storm of opportunity.
With the passage of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, the country took steps to transform our health care system, and nurses serve a fundamental role in this transformation. The groundwork for this change was established in 2008, when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) launched an initiative that would assess and re-envision the nursing profession. A RWJF committee on the Future of Nursing put forth an action-oriented blueprint for the profession and made the following recommendations:
- Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training;
- Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression;
- Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States;
- Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure (IOM, 2010).
Nursing education programs, like the Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing, have responded to this initiative by promoting seamless academic progression through the development of high-quality BSN completion programs and articulation agreements with Associate Degree programs at community colleges.
RNs have responded to these initiatives, as well. In the United States, the number of nurses who have enrolled in RN to BSN programs has jumped from 77,259 in 2010 to 130,345 in 2014, which is a 69% increase (AACN, 2015). In Oregon, the numbers of ADN and BSN graduates is growing. According to the Oregon Center for Nursing (2015):
- 39,454 Registered Nurses working in Oregon
- 47% have earned an Associate Degree in Nursing
- 43% have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
- 4% have earned a Master’s or Doctoral Degree in Nursing
However, even at the rate that nurses are being educated, there is evidence that the supply of RNs will still decrease in coming years due to high numbers of nurses planning to retire.
In 2010, the IOM recommended that 80% of RNs attain a BSN or higher by 2020, believing that a BSN will “introduce students to a wider range of competencies in such arenas as health policy and health care financing, community and public health, leadership, quality improvement, and systems thinking.”
In an effort to advance education for nurses, two faculty members in the RN to BSN program at Linfield College, Paul Smith and Melissa Jones, have joined the Education Work Group of the Oregon Action Coalition. This work group is charged with promoting BSN and higher levels of education for nurses in Oregon – a mission that both Linfield professors support.
“I began my nursing career as an associate degree nurse and went back to school in order to obtain my BSN. As a former associate degree nurse educator, I understand and value the knowledge that the students bring with them to the RN to BSN program,” said Professor Smith.
“As a faculty member in Linfield’s RN to BSN program, I view my role as not only a facilitator of education, but also a supporter of students as they transition not only in their professional role, but also in their transition to online education. I am always amazed at the growth that occurs with students once they enter the program and I am excited and rejuvenated when a student begins to entertain the thought of continuing his or her education in order to achieve an advanced degree.”
As the demand for baccalaureate-prepared Registered Nurses continues to grow in Oregon and across the county, there is no better time to start working toward the next step in your career.
Contact Linfield today to find out how you can start advancing your nursing education immediately. Linfield RN to BSN students benefit from an innovative, community-based curriculum, academic and faculty advising, financial aid assistance, and the flexibility of asynchronous online classroom attendance. Students know they are earning a high quality degree that is valuable and respected industry-wide.
Linfield-Good Samaritan School of Nursing provides an accredited online RN to BSN program. Linfield College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NCCU). The School of Nursing is accredited by the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the nation’s leading accrediting agency for baccalaureate and graduate level nursing programs.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2015). New AACN Data Confirm Enrollment Surge in Schools of Nursing. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/news/articles/2015/enrollment
Institute of Medicine. (2010). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Washington, DC: The National Academic Press.