Careers for BSN-Prepared Nurses

Nursing Careers with Bachelor's of Nursing Degree
Nursing Careers with Bachelor's of Nursing Degree

Nursing jobs are some of the most in-demand and competitively paid positions in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that the need for nurses will continue to increase, with the number of jobs for registered nurses (RNs) growing by 6 percent over the next ten years. With so many educational paths to nursing, it can be difficult to figure out the best steps to take to become a licensed provider.

When you’re weighing the different choices for pursuing a nursing education, it’s important to understand how your decision will impact your opportunities. Nurses who are prepared with a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) have career options that others in the field don’t have access to. Let’s take a look at how Associate Degrees in Nursing (ADN) and BSNs compare when it comes to getting hired for desirable positions.


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What Kind of Nursing is Available for BSN Degree Holders that ADN Nurses Can’t Do?

Nursing diplomas and ADNs were entry points into the nursing profession for decades. However, expanded responsibilities for nursing professionals have led to rising educational expectations by employers. The BSN has evolved from a useful degree for career advancement to a necessity for new nurses.


Why Do Employers Prefer BSN-Trained Nurses?

There is an increasing number of employers who won’t hire nurses who haven’t earned four-year undergraduate degrees in nursing or higher — regardless of that nurse’s experience in the field. You might hit a salary plateau or a limit to how much you get promoted within your organization if you don’t hold a BSN.

The BLS reported that a BSN was already required for 49.1 percent of nurse’s roles in 2022. A 2020 Journal of Nursing Regulation article found that 65 percent of nurses in the workforce already have a BSN or higher, and statewide data collected in 2019 showed rates of BSN-prepared nurses rising quickly nationwide, progressing toward a goal by the ANA of 80% of all nurses being educated to a Bachelor’s degree.

The BSN may soon become a requirement for nurses working in certain states. For example, New York passed a law called the “BSN in 10” that requires newly graduated registered nurses to obtain a BSN within ten years of becoming licensed. If you are currently a nurse or considering nursing as a career, pursuing a BSN before it becomes a state requirement would make it one less (big) thing to worry about.


What’s the Difference Between ADN and BSN Degrees?

ADN and BSN graduates are qualified for some entry-level nursing roles across the country. You may wonder why the BSN has surpassed the ADN as the most popular degree for new nurses. The preparation achieved in a BSN program proves more valuable to employers than ADN training.

ADN programs focus on the practical skills needed in a nurse’s day-to-day work. Prospective nurses learn the introductory levels of pharmacology, health promotion, and clinical practice. BSN programs combine these areas of study with courses on leadership, informatics, and research.

The difference in curriculum depth and breadth leads to a longer timeline for BSN programs compared to ADNs. BSN degrees typically take four years to complete, while associate programs often take two years of study. Accelerated BSN options designed for career-changing professionals require much less time than their traditional competitors.


Impacts of BSN Training

Nurses who continue to further their education in the medical field demonstrate their commitment to caring for patients. A study published in 2021 showed that patients in hospitals with a greater proportion of BSN-prepared nurses had lower risks of readmission as well as shorter hospital stays. An additional study published in 2022 further underscored how care from a BSN-prepared nurse contributes to fewer hospital readmissions, to the point where hospitals should be economically motivated to hire nurses with higher education levels.


Clinical Nursing Roles for Nursing Program Graduates

The nursing profession isn’t limited to a single clinical role with many career paths available. The BLS projects an estimated 193,100 annual job openings for registered nurses from 2022 to 2023. BSN graduates can consider the following specialties as they look for satisfying careers in nursing.


Charge Nurse

Charge nurses are experienced registered nurses who oversee nursing units in hospitals and clinics. They develop work schedules, answer patient care questions from staff nurses, and collaborate with doctors and other nursing units. A charge nurse may also handle patient assignments, providing opportunities to demonstrate their advanced clinical skills.


ER Nurse

Emergency room (ER) nurses assist patients of all ages with the treatment of acute health problems. Professionals in this clinical environment may work in roles including:

  • Trauma nurses who assist patients arriving by ambulance and helicopter
  • Triage nurses who evaluate and determine appropriate responses for patients
  • Code nurses responsible for patients with critical illnesses and injuries

There is consistent demand for ER nurses with 139.8 million patient visits to emergency departments in 2021 alone.


Geriatric Nurse

Geriatric nurses work with senior patients to manage chronic conditions and avoid injuries in their daily lives. This nursing role involves supporting patient independence, educating caregivers about health conditions, and coordinating care with physicians. Twenty-three percent of the U.S. population will be aged 65 and older by 2050, ensuring demand for specialized care.


Home Health Nurse

Home health nurses visit patients limited by disability or age in their homes. These visits may include administering medication, testing for health changes, and monitoring living conditions. Registered nurses interested in working outside of clinical environments may find employment with more than 11,800 agencies registered with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.


ICU Nurse

Intensive care unit (ICU) nurses treat patients of all ages with long-term or life-threatening conditions. They monitor vital signs and ensure that medical equipment ranging from incubators to ventilators properly function. Professionals in this nursing role evaluate changes in patient conditions and revise treatment plans in coordination with doctors.


Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse

Psychiatric-mental health nurses support patients with behavioral health and substance use disorders. Their work includes initial screening for new patients, carrying out treatment plans set by therapists, and providing mental wellness education. More professionals are needed for this nursing role with only 44% of adults and 20% of children receiving necessary care in 2021.


Oncology Nurse

Oncology nurses specialize in evaluation, treatment, and side effect management for patients with cancer. BSN-trained nurses also provide emotional support for patients struggling with life-altering and terminal illnesses. This nursing specialty will grow in importance with an estimated two million new cancer cases in 2024 alone.


Pediatric Nurse

Pediatric nurses work with children and their parents or guardians in doctors’ offices and hospitals. Their daily work includes physical exams, vaccine administration, and health education. BSN programs provide the foundations for communications and care appropriate for each patient’s developmental stage.


Telehealth Nurse

Telehealth nurses assess patient conditions through online chats, video calls, and other virtual settings. They answer health questions in environments friendlier to those with mobility concerns or lack of access to transportation. BSN graduates entering this nursing role will assist with the estimated 50% of healthcare services provided virtually by 2030.


Impacts of BSN Education on Salary

The career horizons opened by BSN degrees mean graduates can earn more than ADN graduates in the same role. A 2023 report on registered nurse salaries found that BSN graduates earned an average salary of $88,000, while ADN-trained nurses reported salaries averaging $82,000. This salary difference adds up as BSN graduates build experience in nursing careers.

BSN programs also raise the ceilings on potential earnings for experienced professionals. The BLS found that the top 10 percent of salaries for registered nurses exceeded $129,400 per year. While associate degrees can be career entry points, there’s no substitute for a BSN for long-term career development.


What Jobs Can You Do with a BSN Besides Nursing?

A bachelor’s in nursing prepares you for a career as a bedside nurse caring for patients. Coursework will typically emphasize how to help maintain and restore health to patients of all ages, and your clinical hours will provide you with the hands-on experience you need to do that with confidence.

However, nursing in a hospital or traditional healthcare setting is not the only thing you can use your education for. The following are jobs you can get with a BSN that aren’t centered on traditional hospital environments.


Clinical Research Nurse

Clinical research nurses work with patients participating in clinical trials and university studies. They evaluate participants throughout their participation and gather data needed for new treatments. Additional responsibilities include communicating patient needs to researchers, setting up trial stages, and ensuring adherence to ethical standards.


Healthcare Manager

BSN graduates with relevant experience can direct departments and clinics as healthcare managers. They balance patient needs with available resources and personnel daily. Healthcare managers also handle budget development, staff scheduling, and other operational tasks.


Health Writer and Editor

Health writers and editors use their clinical knowledge to prepare documentation throughout the healthcare industry. Clinical study reports, promotional materials for medical equipment, and public health pamphlets are among the materials produced by these experts. Employers in this non-clinical specialty range from pharmaceutical companies to state health agencies.


Nurse Case Manager

Nurse case managers work with patients and care providers on personalized care plans. Professionals in this administrative role connect patients to health and social service providers in their communities. They frequently follow up with those in their care for plan adjustments based on changing health conditions and economic circumstances.


Public Health Nurse

Public health nurses implement community-level preventative and education programs. They work with government agencies, schools, and community clinics to identify solutions to emerging health problems. Nurses in this specialty connect vulnerable populations to relevant services and lower barriers to health information.


How to Get Started in a BSN Program

Holy Family University’s Second Degree Distance Hybrid BSN (ABSN) opens doors to nursing careers for those with non-nursing undergraduate degrees. This innovative program requires a GPA of at least 3.0, a bachelor’s degree in any discipline, and five prerequisite courses for admission. You can complete your ABSN at HFU in as little as 14 months of full-time study.

The ABSN requires the completion of 59 credit hours in entirely online course settings. Students learn from faculty members with experience in clinical nursing roles. HFU’s rigorous ABSN curriculum includes courses on:

  • Foundations of Nursing Practice
  • Medical-Surgical Nursing
  • Nursing and Older Adult Health Promotion
  • Nursing Care of Children

ABSN students receive free placement assistance as they complete 504 clinical hours in their communities. Every student completes hands-on learning exercises during a one-week residency at HFU’s Philadelphia campus. This commitment to experiential learning leads to an NCLEX-RN pass rate of 91.3% compared to the national average of 80%.

HFU’s strong reputation is confirmed by its placement on U.S. News & World Report’s Nursing and Regional Universities North rankings. The ABSN program also provides good value for your educational dollars with more affordable tuition than other online nursing degrees in the region. You get a great return on your investment in a nursing degree when you attend HFU.

Learn more about how HFU’s ABSN program is the right choice for your educational and career needs.


Complete The Form to Access My ABSN Program Guide