It’s widely accepted that travel nurses are highly experienced and proficient in their skill sets. However, as a traveler you might still be thinking about continuing your education in hopes of advancing your nursing career. And it’s no secret that many hospitals have started requiring Registered Nurses to complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. With that in mind, here are five reasons for travel nurses to consider pursuing their BSN.
1) Make More Money
The potential to earn more money is one of the biggest reasons nurses begin traveling in the first place. What if an extra two years of education could add almost $17,000 to your yearly income?
Payscale.com reports that there is a noticeable difference in salary between Registered Nurses and those who hold a BSN. Their 2016 findings, which vary depending on location, show that an RN can earn between $43,403 and $83,171 yearly; while a BSN holder averages $60,253 to $89,366.
It’s safe to say the degree will pay for itself and then some even if you only realize the lower level increase of $6,000 per year.
2) Be on the Top of the Resume Stack
Resumes are a paper version of your professional accomplishments, including a list of skill-sets and endorsements (references). It’s a well-known fact that having higher qualifications adds to your resume and sets you apart from other candidates.
Obtaining a bachelor of science in nursing can not only add to your educational accomplishments, but can also contribute to your list of skills. Having additional training and classes that cover an array of topics, exposes you to hands-on experience that hospitals look for in travelers. “BSN nurses are prized for their skills in critical thinking, leadership, case management, and health promotion, and for their ability to practice across a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings,” according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
3) Have a Larger Job Selection
Many hospitals are starting to require nurses to have their BSN to qualify for certain positions. Many speculate that a BSN will be required of all RN openings in the future. Karen Daley with The American Nurses Association (ANA) says, “Demands on nurses are growing, thanks to an increasingly complex health care delivery system…This will require nurses to obtain an advanced education that fosters a deeper understanding of the many factors that influence patient health and illness. A bachelor’s degree better prepares nurses to meet those challenges.”
It’s no secret that the demand for Registered Nurses is increasing. And it seems logical that as more jobs begin to open, higher qualifications would seem less relevant, but that is not the case. In fact, the healthcare industry is vastly becoming more complex. Relevant experience and education is vital to many of the high-demand openings that provide the high pay, quality facilities and desired destinations travel nurses look for.
In the most recent report from the AACN, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends the number of nurses with their BSN to increase from 50% to 80% by the year 2020. This is followed by a study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that out of nursing jobs open at the time of the study, an RN was eligible for 51% of the jobs; while a nurse with a BSN was eligible for 88% of the jobs.
4) Enhancing Patient Care
As a travel nurse, your ability to provide excellent patient care is largely due to your passion for nursing and years of hands-on experience. However, continued education can promote learned resources for handling atypical situations. Daley with ANA wrote, “Despite compelling evidence that links BSN education with lower rates of patient death, medical errors, and better patient outcomes, approximately 60 percent of new nurse graduates are currently educated in associate degree programs.”
Continuing your education can expose you to hospital units that you may not be interested in gaining experience in otherwise. This exposure can help you obtain a better understanding of different patient needs and spark a desire to further explore observations made when delivering patient care. This diversity in unit knowledge coupled with your compassion for patient care will continue to fuel your passion for nursing, often inspiring those around you as well.
5) There Are Grants and Scholarships to Help With the Cost
Travel Nurse across America recently announced they are accepting applications for a $2,500 scholarship for Registered Nurses seeking their bachelor of science in nursing. RNs do not have to currently be traveling with TNAA to be eligible for this scholarship. Applications can be filled out, and submitted in full, on their website by August 30, 2016. This is a yearly funding opportunity, so be sure to mark your calendars.
There are additional websites available to aid the search for educational funding. NursingScholarships.us and DailyNurse.com are two online resources that offer scholarship pages specifically devoted to funding availability for nursing degrees.
When it comes to applying for scholarships, you want to remember the law of averages. Search and apply for as many opportunities as you’re qualified for. Schedule and devote ample time to plan well thought out responses to each submission. This can be a tedious process, but with a reward well worth the effort.
Many BSN programs are available online, which means you can take classes while continuing to work travel assignments. Plus, the money you’re making from strategic travel assignments can help offset any costs not covered by scholarships and funding opportunities. These are just some of the more apparent reasons why travel nurses should pursue their BSN. If advancing your education is on your list of goals, among a myriad of places to travel, the reward is definitely worth taking the step!
Noressa Kennedy is a Social Media Specialist for Travel Nurse across America, a healthcare staffing agency placing travel nurses on assignments at facilities in all 50 states. Off the clock, she enjoys spending time with her dogs outdoors and discovering hidden gems in flea markets. Her dream superhero outing would be a day of fighting crime with the Ninja Turtles, followed by a pizza party. Find more of Noressa’s helpful travel nurse tips on theTNAA Facebook Page!