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Nursing today is very different than it was in 1860 when Florence Nightingale opened her training school for nurses at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Nightingale established nursing and midwifery as a profession by introducing the concepts of sanitation, ventilation, nutrition and comfort. Nurses in the 21st century have to integrate technology and evidence-based research to make critical decisions about providing care to patients with complicated illnesses. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) prepares nurses for the complexity of modern healthcare.

How Does a BSN Prepare Nurses for the Delivery of Patient Care?

A BSN degree program focuses on nursing science and critical thinking skills, so nurses are prepared for medical situations that occur in a high tech environment or any healthcare setting. While routine nursing tasks are still part of the practice, a BSN-prepared nurse can handle multiple patients who may have more than one serious medical condition.

The intensive preparation in a BSN program teaches nurses how to set priorities, problem-solve and collaborate with other healthcare professionals. A BSN-prepared nurse also learns to be a patient advocate, healthcare educator and case manager.

What Are the Benefits?

A BSN allows nurses to have mobility in their nursing careers. They can choose to pursue jobs that entail providing direct patient care, educating future nurses, conducting research and working in leadership positions. In addition, BSN-prepared nurses have an advantage in salary negotiations so they tend to earn a higher wage than nurses with a two-year degree.

Some healthcare organizations, such as all branches of the United States military and the U.S. Public Health Service, require at least a BSN. Many hospitals prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses, especially if they are a teaching hospital, children’s facility, or want to be awarded magnet status, which is based on a large proportion of nursing staff having baccalaureate and graduate degrees.

Nursing Job Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 16 percent increase in job growth for the years 2014 to 2024. The demand for more nurses remains strong because of an aging population with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and obesity. According to, registered nurses (RN) with a BSN degree earn an annual median salary of $61,436 as of April 2017.

Where Can Nurses Work?

BSN-prepared nurses can work in a variety of healthcare settings. You can find them in the following locations:

  • Government agencies.
  • Hospitals.
  • Nursing homes.
  • Private residences.
  • Physician’s offices.
  • Schools.
  • Urgent care centers.

What Types of Jobs Are Available For Nurses With a BSN Degree?

Nurses with a BSN have numerous career options in a wide range of nursing fields. For some specializations, nurses may need to complete further preparation through on-the-job training or by enrolling in continuing education classes. Here are some positions for BSN-prepared nurses.

Nursing Positions Responsibilities Annual Median Salary 2017
Critical Care Nurse Nurses work in hospital ICU departments. They monitor and provide care to patients with burns or heat and lung problems $64,721*
Geriatric Nurse Nurses take care of elderly patients with long-term ailments such as cancer, arthritis, dementia and osteoporosis. $65,521**
Hospice Nurse Nurses deliver end-of-life care to patients. $61,796*
Informatics Nurse Nurses collect, interpret and analyze a healthcare organization’s medical data. They also introduce staff nurses to new technology. $75,518*
Obstetrics Nurse Nurses provide care to women and their babies during pregnancies and after delivery. $67,740**
School Nurse Medications and ensure that students are up to date with vaccinations and immunizations. $45,198*

*, **, as of April 2017

Nurses with an associate degree who want to compete for top nursing jobs can improve their chances of employment by obtaining a BSN. They can enroll in an online BSN degree program. Mississippi College (MC) offers an RN to BSN program that is 100 percent online. The flexible and affordable program is a good fit for working nurses. In as few as 12 months, students can graduate with a BSN and move ahead in their nursing careers.

Learn more about the MC online RN to BSN program.


The Nightingale Home and Training School for Nurses, St. Thomas’s Hospital

Nurse Journal: 20 Best Nursing Career Specialties

Nurse Journal: 5 Best-Paying BSN Nursing Jobs and Careers The BSN and Career Mobility Becoming a School Nurse Becoming an Obstetric Nurse

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Outlook for Registered Nurses

PayScale: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree Average Salary

PayScale: Nurse, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Salary Staff Nurse – RN – Geriatric Salaries

PayScale: Hospice Registered Nurse (RN) Salary

PayScale: Informatics Nurse Salary Staff Nurse – RN – Obstetrics

PayScale: School Nurse Salary

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