In the most recent report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor, registered nurses, or RNs, make up the largest workforce in the healthcare industry, with more than 2.6 million nurses working nationwide in 2008. From this figure, about 60% of RNs were employed in hospitals. About 8% worked in physician offices, 5% in home health services and about 5% in nursing care facilities. Moreover, the employment of RNs is expected to grow by as much as 22% through 2018, which makes its growth rate much faster than the average. About 581,500 new job positions will be available until that year, and compared to other occupations, the expected number is the largest for any occupation in the U.S. The increasing demand for nurses may lead to significant shortage of nurses in the next decade. It is expected that the shortage for RNs may reach between 260,000 to 500,000 by 2025.
Of particular interest is the growing demand for nurses with baccalaureate degrees in nursing, or BSN. The Federal Division of Nursing estimated that demand for BSN graduates will increase almost as twice as fast as the expected increase of demand for the entire workforce in the U.S. by 2020. Many factors are attributed to the increasing preference for nurses with baccalaureate degrees. The development of increasingly complex medical and technological advances occurring at a rapid rate, the wide-ranging reforms in the health care delivery system, the creation of areas of specialization and the expanded roles for nurses call on the need for health care professionals with higher education levels and sharp critical or analytical skills. The expected increase of retirement of BSN trained nurses in the next decade has further increased the demand for BSN-RNs. Nurses, who play an integral role in the health care system, must step up to the needs of changing world.
Registered nurses who have associate degrees or diplomas in nursing may maximize their financial and personal opportunities in the field of healthcare by acquiring BSN degrees. Online RN-to-BSN programs developed and offered by various colleges and universities are ideal for RNs who want to maintain employment as they achieve higher nursing education.
RN-to-BSN online programs include courses that prepare nurses for managed care and population-based cases. These programs include classes that develop and strengthen the analytical skills and critical reasoning of RNs who are set to engage in managerial, supervisory or administrative positions in the future. The online RN-to-BSN programs are developed to equip aspiring BSN graduates with the necessary knowledge and skills as they encounter challenging situations that involve patient care and healthcare team management.
Courses completed online may include health services delivery, health policy, advanced nursing theory and practice and healthcare systems and management. RNs with BSN degrees are also responsible in managing patients with complex and complicated cases. For this reason, comprehensive and advanced classes are incorporated into RN-to-BSN programs as well. Some online RN-to-BSN courses include chronic illnesses, advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology, epidemiology, health promotion and disease prevention and pharmacotherapeutics. In addition, BSN students must also complete a certain number of hours on hands-on training. Clinical trainings are conducted in local medical facilities to help nurses apply theoretical knowledge to actual practice.