Having been a registered nurse (RN) for 34 years, working as a staff nurse and nurse educators, the simple answer to this question is “yes.” Of all of the positions in healthcare, nursing is the most versatile. There are many employment opportunity offering a reasonable salary. RNs can work full-time, part-time, or per diem, and choose 8-hour, 10-hour, or 12-hour shifts.
RNs can work in a variety of healthcare specialties and settings ranging from acute care hospitals to skilled nursing facilities to home health care. Additional opportunities exist with nursing education, insurance companies, nursing research, to name a few. But to access these opportunities, most employers are looking for RNs who have, at minimum, a baccalaureate degree.
RNs with baccalaureate (BSN) degrees are considered to be professional nurses. This is because the BSN program places a stronger emphasis on leadership training and community nursing. While associate degree and diploma programs may touch upon these topics, there aren’t enough hours in the program to provide the in-depth training necessary for each area. Master’s degree programs develop these skills even further, teaching the BSN administrative and leadership skills as well as developing an area of nursing specialty.
I have worked with diploma nurses, ADNs, and BSNs and personally, I feel each nurse is a professional. But part of being a professional is participating in life-long learning. Therefore, I do want to encourage you to continue your education – at least to the BSN level. What you will learn will help you contribute to nursing as a whole, helping it to become the standard of excellence for all healthcare professions.
Dr. Evelyn Shinn is the Associate Dean of Healthcare Administration and Nursing for Stevens-Henager College Online. She has a baccalaureate degree in nursing, a master’s degree in teaching and a doctorate in educational leadership. She is currently enrolled in a master’s of nursing program.