The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is a conduit for registered nurses with their Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) to move up the ladder into nursing management positions. But, it's not only that; many of the courses required for BSN degrees are focused on heightening the level of care nurses provide.
While management potential is certainly a perk of earning a bachelor's degree in nursing, there's much to be said about the resulting improvement in bedside care.
Nurses: Natural Helpers
If you ask any nurse their "why" for entering the nursing field, you'll rarely, if ever, hear them answer, "I just needed to get a job." Nurses possess special characteristics that make them natural caregivers. They are invested in helping their patients feel better.
One of the most difficult areas of care is hospice, which Deborah Kosior had her sights set on after completing the online RN to BS in Nursing program at the University of Rhode Island. "I love to help and care for people," she shared. "I'm a helping person. That's the reason why I chose to become a nurse."
Working with the senior population thus far has been very rewarding for Kosior, and she was offered the chance to give a fall risk prevention presentation at local senior centers. She credits the RN to BS in Nursing program for leading her to this opportunity.
"What I have learned in the nursing courses at the University of Rhode Island has created many opportunities to improve my nursing skills," she stated. "Because of the positive response with the seniors after my presentation of fall risk prevention, I now have the opportunity to revisit the senior centers and introduce additional topics of interest."
From Construction Worker to Go-To Nurse
Sometimes, the desire to immerse oneself in providing care doesn't surface until later in life, which was the case for Michael Montefusco. After witnessing his wife experience complications during the birth of their son, he realized just how special nurses are. He wanted to harness his own "super powers," as he called them, and ultimately left his career in the construction industry behind.
After earning his ADN at Gateway Community College in New Haven, Connecticut, Montefusco chose to attend the online RN to BS in Nursing program at URI.
"I always had it in the back of my mind that in order for me to stay current, to stay up to recommendations, to pursue other ventures in nursing than just staff nursing, it was imperative that I go back to school for a bachelor's degree," he said.
Little did he know the extent of the benefits that earning his BSN would bring. "The education at the University of Rhode Island accentuated, heightened and developed my practice in ways I can't even describe," Montefusco noted. "I've had physicians I work with approach me or my management team saying they want me to take care of certain patients because of the way I do physical assessments. That's all based on the advanced assessments course I took at URI."
After 20+ Years, There's Still Room to Learn
Montefusco's journey to earning his BSN and was a relatively short path. For other registered nurses, the decision to pursue the degree comes after years of success in the nursing field.
Ellyn Schlageter completed the ADN program at Community College of Rhode Island in 1997 and has worked for Visiting Nurse Association of Southern Connecticut (VNA) since 2005. Still, she knew that earning a BSN could open up new opportunities.
Schlageter also realized the direction the nursing field is headed, with its goal to increase the number of working RNs with BSN degrees. When it came time to make the leap, she didn't need much convincing, but her husband wasn't quite as certain.
"My husband said, 'What do you need to do that for?' I said, 'Well, they are pushing all of the nurses to do this. If for some reason I lost my job, any potential new employer is going to want me to have a BSN. I might as well do it now.'"
Since completing the online RN to BS in Nursing program at URI, Schlageter has appreciated the knowledge and skills she learned that make her a better nurse.
"I have taken something away from every single class, and I have been a nurse for [more than] 20 years," she shared. "I found myself paying more attention to my assessments and listening to lungs in more places than I was before and noticing more. That's what going to school does — it wakes you up."
Learn more about the URI online RN to BS in Nursing program.
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