The BSN degree is an important step in the professional development of a nurse. My professional development plan includes constant improvement of skills and expansion of knowledge, which also includes continuing education. The degree will allow me to fulfill a wider variety of roles and take a specialized path in a healthcare setting. Moreover, advanced education will become the basis for achieving long-term goals that are aimed at my development as a professional and making a significant contribution to the improvement of patient outcomes.
Factors Contributing to Desire for Further Education
Factors Influencing the Decision to Obtain a Degree
The most important factor influencing the decision to obtain a BSN degree is the desire to expand professional knowledge and improve practical skills. Additionally, advanced education allows a nurse to be more in demand when applying for a job, as 80% of medical institutions require or favor a BSN degree (as cited in Thielmann et al., 2018, p. 2). Most importantly, a BSN degree is associated with better patient outcomes due to advanced “leadership behaviors, critical thinking, and reasoning skills” (Phillips & Titzer Evans, 2017, p. 83). The modern world is also rapidly transforming, and methods of diagnosis and treatment are developing, which makes it necessary to obtain further education to provide more evidence-based and innovative care.
Difference Between Current and the Baccalaureate Roles
The BSN degree allows a nurse not only to occupy higher positions in medical institutions but also to fulfill a wider range of roles. First of all, advanced education provides the skills and knowledge for academic practice, which is necessary for the implementation of nursing research, which is associated with continued professional development. A nurse with a BSN degree can both act as a leader in a healthcare team and participate in the transformation of the healthcare system. Thus, advanced education is linked with a wide range of responsibilities and opportunities for both individual and institutional development.
New Opportunities After Degree Completion
BSN degree allows you to develop not only professional but also communication skills, which provides an opportunity to become a nurse educator to share expertise and knowledge. Moreover, advanced education is associated with the participation of a nurse in the use of information technology in patient care, which significantly expands the range of potential activities. Additionally, it is possible to hold administrative positions such as legal nurse consultant or nurse case manager.
Models of Socialization
Benner’s model of socialization describes how the beginner nurse’s transition to a highly professional practitioner occurs. In particular, the development process is divided into five stages: novice, advanced beginner, competent practitioner, proficient practitioner, and expert practitioner (Black, 2019). The transition from one stage to another occurs in the process of gradually expanding professional skills and knowledge, as well as gaining experience. Each stage is characterized by a certain amount of professional experience in the nursing setting, which allows the acquisition of a range of advanced skills. According to this model, I am currently in the second stage of professional development. It is typical of nurses who have gained some experience in the clinical setting but are still struggling with goal prioritization (Black, 2019). Advanced beginners in their actions are guided by “both theory and principles” (Black, 2019, p. 105). Thus, I have a set of knowledge necessary to conduct practical activities and also can exercise decision-making and critical thinking in difficult situations based on experience.
However, I do not have sufficient planning and analytical skills, which hinders more confident and competent practice. The BSN degree will enable me to develop individual skills that are critical to nursing. For example, I need to evaluate my actions in non-standard conditions and not doubt their effectiveness. Currently, I feel rather uncomfortable and insecure in decision-making situations and rely on advice from more experienced colleagues. My transformation into a competent, profitable, and finally an expert practitioner assumes that in the future, I will be able to consider tasks comprehensively, as well as a plan not only my own but also group professional activities.
Short-term goals allow you to assess your progress towards more global achievements, as well as provide motivation for further development. Currently, I include in my short-term goals a successful completion of a BSN degree, as well as defining my nursing specialization. Getting an advanced education will allow me to start moving towards more global and long-term goals, so I consider it one of the initial stages of my professional growth. Additionally, I need an understanding of which area of practice is of direct interest to me in order to acquire more specialized knowledge in it in the future.
Professional Long-Term Goals
Long-term goals seem to be the most significant, as they determine the general direction of individual and professional development. For me, these objectives include obtaining a job satisfaction level in the healthcare setting as well as conducting research and academic activities in nursing practice. Harrison et al. (2019) note that BSN nurses contribute to a more “supportive work environments, including nurse engagement in hospital affairs, professional autonomy, and good collaborative relations with physicians” (p. 1091). These metrics are key to achieving the highest level of job satisfaction as well as the best patient outcomes. Doing research and academic practice will also allow me not only to constantly develop my professional skills but also to contribute to the development of nursing science and healthcare in general.
Challenges and Barriers
The challenges and barriers that I face in the process of achieving the set goals are often the lack of time or money to continue training. These obstacles are familiar to all people who care about their professional and individual development. Fawazet et al. (2019) also identify technological challenges as one of the major barriers to the process of obtaining a nursing degree. In my opinion, this assumption is also relevant for achieving short-term and long-term goals since the modern world requires improved technical skills and knowledge. In particular, the desire to purchase them is an additional reason for advanced training for me. Integrating innovation into practice will enable me to deliver better patient care outcomes and optimize my professional performance.
Mentors and Support System
The most valuable support for me professionally is the advice and help of my colleagues. In the process of acquiring a degree, I consider the possibility of communicating with other students and professors as the main support system. The family also plays a key role in my professional growth, as it often provides emotional support and motivates me to grow. However, the most significant factor forming the basis for achieving goals is the desire to provide more effective patient care.
The BSN degree is a necessary step for the professional and personal growth of a nurse. This program will allow me to lay the foundation for further long-term goals, as well as the development of important skills and qualities. BSN degree will not only expand theoretical knowledge but also improve the traits necessary for effective communication and decision-making. Overall, I consider degree completion as one stage in my continuing education and learning process contributing to advancing nursing science and providing better quality care.
Black, B. (2019). Professional nursing: Concepts & challenges (9th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.
Fawaz, M. A., Hamdan-Mansourb, A. M., & Tassi, A. (2018). Challenges facing nursing education in the advanced healthcare environment. International Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences, 9, 105-110. Web.
Harrison, J. M., Aiken, L. H., Sloane, D. M., Brooks Carthon, M., Merchant, R. M., Berg, R. A., & McHugh, M. D. (2020). In hospitals with more nurses who have baccalaureate degrees, better outcomes for patients after cardiac arrest. Health Affairs, 38(7), 1087-1094. Web.
Phillips, T., & Titzer-Evans, J. (2017). RN to BSN transition: A concept analysis. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 33(2), 79-85. Web.
Thielmann, B., Parker, K. K., Post, J. M., & Abraham, S. P. (2019). Factors influencing nurses’ perceptions of the baccalaureate degree in nursing as minimum requirement for professional practice. Nursing Education Perspectives, 40(1), 1-5. Web.