In the modern healthcare system, advancing beyond an RN program can be great for your career.

Smiling nurse in scrubs with stethoscope.From 2016 to 2026, an estimated 440,000 new nursing positions will become available in the United States.* And that’s not even counting positions for APRNs and nurses in other fields. What’s driving such high demand? For one, the U.S. healthcare system is massive, with every region in the nation needing healthcare professionals. For another, the U.S. population is aging and many nurses are reaching retirement faster than new nurses are entering the profession. The question is: How can you, as a nurse, take advantage of all these new opportunities.

The answer: Continue your education with a bachelor’s-level nursing degree.

The Times Are Changing

It used to be that becoming a nurse meant completing an RN program and then getting a job. That may be how you started—but an RN may not be enough for long. That’s because the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) in 2010 suggested that 80% of the nursing workforce hold at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) by 2020.

Why the push? The main reason is that medicine is becoming more complicated and specialized every day. In order to have the knowledge base to keep up with modern medical technology, take advantage of electronic medical records, and treat patients in the most effective, efficient, and culturally appropriate ways, nurses need education that goes beyond RN training. And the best way to get that education is to follow the National Academy of Medicine’s recommendation and earn a bachelor’s degree.

A Nursing Degree Can Open New Career Opportunities

One of the benefits of nursing is its many career paths. While that’s true for RNs, it’s even more true for those who hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

When you earn a BSN degree, you’ll gain higher-level nursing and professional skills that you can parlay into a higher-level nursing career. For example, a BSN can help you qualify for leadership roles such as heading up a team of nurses or working in healthcare administration. Even if you aren’t interested in a leadership role, a BSN can help ensure you remain employable, giving you the freedom to pursue opportunities with new employers or move to a new city.

If you want to advance your career even further, you can do so with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). In fact, an MSN degree can qualify you for some of the top nursing jobs and highest nursing salaries. Additionally, an MSN can allow you to become specialized, which can help you enter the field of medicine that’s perfect for you.

Some of the most popular specializations within MSN programs include Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Leadership and Management, Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics, Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Public Health Nursing.

Earning a Nursing Degree Is More Possible Than Ever

Advancing your nursing career has never been so convenient, thanks to online learning. Rather than having to take night classes or disrupt your work schedule to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing, an online nursing school allows you to complete your coursework from home and on a schedule that gives you the power to choose when in the day you want to attend class. These advantages have made online nursing programs popular among working adults.

If earning your nursing degree online sounds like the right choice for you, consider Walden University. Walden doesn’t just offer online BSN completion programs and online MSN programs; it has built a reputation for providing top-notch online education and has become the leading provider of advanced nursing degrees in the U.S.

If you’re already an RN, you can enroll in Walden’s online RN program to go from RN to BSN. Or, if you’re interested in pursuing a master of science in nursing, you can choose the RN to MSN online program, which provides a path from RN to MSN even if you don’t currently hold a bachelor’s degree. If you do have a bachelor’s, you can apply directly to the master’s in nursing online program. But no matter which nursing degree path you take, you’ll learn from a teaching faculty that’s 100% doctorally prepared.

Advancing your nursing career can help ensure a more successful and satisfying professional life. And an online nursing degree from Walden could be your next step to a more fulfilling nursing career.

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


*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, on the internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm.

†Mararac, M., “New York’s ‘BSN in 10’ Law and the Push for 80% of Nurses to Hold BSN by 2020,” Nurse.org, on the internet at http://nurse.org/articles/155/BSN-initiative-80-2020.

‡Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Retrieved July 2017, using CIP codes 51.3801 (Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse); 51.3808 (Nursing Science); 51.3818 (Nursing Practice). Includes 2016 preliminary data.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

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