Registered nurses with BSN degrees are marketable for a number of exciting career opportunities. The BSN degree is versatile, giving nurses the educational preparation to hold positions with greater responsibility and autonomy that may extend beyond the scope of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or registered nurse (RN) prepared with an Associate’s degree.
You may be a first-time student searching for a nursing school, an already licensed RN considering enrollment in a RN to BSN program, or an established professional thinking about a second career in nursing. Whether your goal is to be a staff nurse or attain one of the many careers available for BSN-prepared nurses, this blog will help you understand the jobs that may become available to you with this additional preparation.
So, what careers are available for nurses with a BSN? There are clinical practice jobs, education, informatics jobs, and still other options besides traditional patient care available with this type of degree.
Clinical Practice Jobs
BSN programs include coursework and clinical experiences in community health, evidenced based practice and leadership components which are not part of an ADN program. There are many clinical practice settings where nurses with a BSN degree can be employed. Nurses with a BSN degree may work in inpatient settings such as hospitals or outpatient settings such as health clinics. BSN-prepared nurses may also work in schools, prisons, public health departments, or out in the community.
Below is a list of clinical practice settings that employ BSN prepared RNs:
- Acute or critical care nursing
- Specialty practices such as dermatology, plastic surgery, or podiatry
- Oncology nursing
- Hospice nursing
- Faith parish nursing
- Occupational health nursing
- Home health
- Public health department
There are many other practice settings where nurses may be employed, but within those practice settings, you may find a variety of nurses with varying educational backgrounds. If there are nurses employed in these settings that have different levels of licensure and education, you may be wondering what makes the BSN degree so special?
Roles of the BSN Prepared Nurse
Case management is also a type of nursing where BSN preparation is advantageous in the job market. Critical thinking is utilized to develop and monitor care plans that may need adjusted over time as a patient or family’s health condition progresses. As an example, hospice nursing employs both skilled nurses and case management.
Travel nursing is another option where short and long-term contracts are typically taken in a variety of locations to fill temporary staffing needs in a variety of health care facilities. Hospitals aiming to attain Magnet status, a designation of esteem, often look for BSN prepared nurses.
Teaching in nursing and health professions is a career path that often begins with a BSN degree. Nurses who desire to teach in clinical instructor positions for undergraduate programs typically require a graduate degree (MSN, DNP, or PhD) and the BSN is a prerequisite for this graduate education.
Supportive coaching roles also exist for BSN degree holders who wish to assist in the teaching arena with grading papers and providing substantive feedback on student assignments. Likewise, there are employment options available for BSN degree holders who wish to help students prepare for their national licensing examinations to become an RN.
Nursing Informatics Positions
As technology continues to be at the forefront of healthcare delivery, nurses with a BSN degree often work as information technology specialists in their respective clinical practice positions to help other nurses and staff on an interdisciplinary team adopt new technologies and make their practice procedures more efficient.
Health care information management is a field where networking and public policy initiatives also employ BSN-prepared nurses who typically also have completed additional courses of study in informatics. Likewise, software development and simulation or virtual reality companies require skilled nurses to use their expertise in content creation for learning modules, especially when nurses have additional background experience working with data in general information technology roles. With the continued spread of telemedicine and virtual care delivery, the BSN degree coupled with a passion for technological innovation may open doors for employment in a variety of corporations that focus on product and service development.
Other Non-Nursing Jobs for BSN Holders
As you consider the career options available for nurses with BSN degrees, if you are someone who does not desire patient care as your ultimate nursing job, there are still other non-nursing options. Even if you do not see yourself working in the informatics or educational arenas, you still have options with a BSN degree.
Some nurses choose to work in pharmaceutical research or for toxicology hotlines where advice is provided in emergency situations where a toxic substance may have been ingested. Others prepared with a BSN degree and a passion for legal and ethical concerns may work in a consulting role for patient and family advocacy or as an expert witness.
Nurse auditors may not work directly with patients but instead, perform chart reviews for billing and coding as well as to ensure clinical practice guidelines are followed. Others may work for accreditation bodies and help certify health care facilities for their compliance with standards of care provision.
Remote Work Environments
As you think about the types of careers available for BSN-prepared nurses, many of these available options are possible to do remotely. This may mean that you work from a home office or that you visit patients wherever they call home.
Another potential remote BSN-prepared position is working for an insurance company as a nurse navigator. Insurance companies sometimes employ care coordinators to work with patients to assist in coordinating the care and resources required for managing chronic illness.
As you can see, the BSN degree is very versatile and with this degree, your future career could take many forms. In addition, the compensation for jobs requiring a BSN degree is worth considering. Next, let’s take a look at some of the careers for nurses with a BSN that have the highest salaries.
Highest Paying BSN Jobs
The earning potential of nurses is correlated with the level of education. More education opens up the opportunity for higher-paying positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the top-paying industries for RNs with BSN degrees are:
- Government positions (approximate salary of $86k annually)
- Ambulatory clinics and hospitals (approximate salary range of $76k - $78k annually)
- Nursing homes and assisted living (approximate salary of $72k annually)
- Educational positions (approximate salary of $61k annually)
The BSN degree is the foundation for even higher-paying positions such as a nurse-midwife, nurse anesthetist, and nurse practitioner. These are advanced practice nursing roles requiring graduate degrees in these specialty areas for which the BSN is a prerequisite for entry. With this information, you may be ready to consider enrollment in a BSN program. If so, there are several types of BSN programs available from which to choose. Let’s take a look at the options.
Types of BSN Programs
There are many formats of the BSN program available today including the Traditional BSN and the Online Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN). Your learning preferences and lifestyle may help determine which program is the best fit depending on whether you desire an online, on-campus, or hybrid program format. The accelerated BSN requires a Bachelor’s degree in another field besides nursing, so this may be a good option for those with prior non-nursing education.
There are also RN-BSN program options created for ADN prepared RNs seeking to complete a BSN degree. The BSN is also required for entry into graduate level nursing programs to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) and as such, serves as a foundation for becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner in time. There are other certifications available, such as the Online Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program.
Whichever educational curriculum you choose, there are many careers available for nurses with a BSN that will give you flexibility and variety in your future nursing endeavors.