Does going back to school for an RN-BSN degree seems like an ideal career move? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing industry is growing much faster than average. Although the occupation may seem straightforward, being a nurse is complex. Going to school for an RN-BSN degree can give you the edge you’ll need to maintain a strong career. If you already have the motivation, compassion, and desire to get a BSN, you’ll find that you also need a few more things to get the ball rolling.
1. Strong Academic Performance
If you already have your associate’s degree and have passed the exam to be an RN, you might want to further your career. You have experience and a great deal of education. However, you want to earn a higher salary, have more opportunities, and learn more than clinical skills.
RN-to-BSN programs can be extremely competitive. You can boost your qualifications by demonstrating strong academic performance. Although many schools require you to have a GPA of 2.0 or higher, some only accept candidates with a minimum of 3.0. Others only require a specific GPA in science and math. The GPA requirements vary from program to program.
You’ll need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam to enter an accredited RN-to-BSN degree program. Some schools also require you to take the HESI Admission Assessment. This exam reflects your aptitude in reading comprehension, math, grammar, general language and vocabulary, biology, chemistry and anatomy.
3. Ability to Work With and Lead a Team
Nurses are often part of a team of medical professionals. Therefore, you must be able to work well with others when you go back to school for your RN-BSN degree. Show your leadership skills in your current job so that they can be highlighted in your letters of recommendations. When you’re preparing for your interview or application questions, come up with specific examples of instances where you excelled when working with a team.
One of the reasons many RNs don’t go back to school is a lack of time. If you’re already working at a full-time job, the rigors of earning an RN-BSN can be especially demanding. Look for a degree program that works around your schedule. Some nurses prefer to work the night shift so they can go to school during the day. Others seek financial aid or scholarships so they can cut back their working hours while taking classes.
5. Employer On Your Side
The Institute of Medicine published a report that indicated that at least 80 percent of nurses should hold a bachelor’s degree by 2020 to provide the best care to the U.S. population. Because a higher degree is recommended, many employers will support your choice to go back to school. Consult with your employer to find out if you can get tuition reimbursement, reduced hours or pay for taking classes.
In addition to these requirements, RN-BSN candidates should have strong communication skills. Nurses are the liaisons between doctors and patients, and they must have a good bedside manner. You’ll need to be able to handle multiple tasks at once and be flexible. If you have all of these skills, you’ll be more likely to be successful when you go back to school for your RN-BSN degree.