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What Is a BSN?

Learn about what a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) entails and how earning this degree can prepare you to impact the field.

As a registered nurse, you probably chose your career because you wanted to make a difference in the lives of patients and the health of communities. Many registered nurses who want to acquire additional skills in leadership, case management, and health promotion to boost their nursing career often go on to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. But what exactly should you understand about this degree, and what does earning a bachelor’s in nursing mean for your future in the field? Below, we outline five things worth knowing about this degree and your potential career path.

Nursing organizations are advocating for a more highly educated nursing workforce.

The National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP) is calling for at least two-thirds of nurses to hold baccalaureate or higher degrees in nursing,1 and in 2010, the Institute of Medicine issued a report recommending that 80% of the nursing workforce hold a BSN degree by 2020.2 Though progress has been made, that goal has not been met. In 2018, 57% of nurses held degrees at the bachelor’s level or higher.3 In order to meet the challenge to take the lead in improving the healthcare system, RNs are expected to further their skill sets and education. This means that earning a BSN degree is vital to nursing professionals who want to advance their career and improve patient care. Several universities and nursing schools have begun working toward this goal by adding new programs to facilitate academic progression.

What Is a BSN?

The demand for registered nurses is expected to grow.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028.4 And though this occupational outlook is good, it has been met with an increase in nurses entering the labor market. That means it’s more important than ever to set yourself apart as competition for jobs in the field surges. One way to do this is by earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing, as more job prospects will be available to RNs with a BSN degree over those without.

Some nursing careers are only available to BSN degree holders.

Certain roles within the field of healthcare and nursing can only be pursued once you’ve acquired your bachelor’s in nursing. For instance, if you want to practice as an active-duty RN in the U.S. Army, Navy, or Air Force, you must hold a BSN.5 In addition, certain states have begun to promote legislation that requires RNs to obtain a BSN for relicensure within 10 years’ time.6

Registered nurses who hold a BSN are prepared to pursue a variety of roles in inpatient and outpatient settings, including:

  • Nursing homes
  • Hospice care settings
  • Insurance companies
  • Hospital specialty units
  • Magnet hospitals
  • Healthcare foundations 
  • Community organizations
  • Federal agencies
  • Military healthcare organizations
  • Nursing organizations
  • Minority nurse advocacy groups  

BSN graduates offer better patient care.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “There is a growing body of evidence that shows that BSN graduates bring unique skills to their work as nursing clinicians and play an important role in the delivery of safe patient care.”1 For instance, a 2019 study featured in The Joint Commission Journal of Quality and Patient Safety reported that RNs with baccalaureates were significantly more prepared than nurses with associate degrees in 12 out of 16 areas. These areas were related to both quality and safety, including evidence-based practice, data analysis, and project implementation. Through this study, it was concluded that requiring RNs to earn their BSN could help safeguard the quality of patient care.

Expand Your Knowledge and Advance Your Career in Walden University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program

Position yourself to make a difference in the lives of patients and the health of your community by earning your bachelor’s in nursing at Walden. In the CCNE-accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program, you’ll have access to innovative virtual learning tools as you exchange valuable perspectives and insights with fellow RNs and continue to hone your leadership and practical skills. And at Walden, an accredited university, you can earn your degree online while you continue to work full time. That means you don’t have to put your career on hold while you work toward becoming a nurse. With online education, there’s no need to rearrange your schedule or commute to campus—you can take classes at whatever time of day works best for you as you earn your nursing degree and prepare to further your career and impact.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a suite of online nursing programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) Completion Program. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (