Benefits of an Online Nursing Degree

nurse with clipboard

For nurses trying to keep pace in the rapidly evolving health care industry, there’s no such thing as an educational ceiling. Advances in technology and treatment will continue to affect your daily tasks, while policy and bureaucracy transform your organization and your role within it. Pressure builds as employers add responsibilities and demand more training from veteran and incoming workers.

“Health care in the U.S. has become more complex, so there is a stronger need for nurses to take on more leadership and managerial roles,” according to Reyna Sund, Director of Career and Alumni Services for Ashford University. “More hospitals have made it their policy to hire nurses with a minimum of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or with an agreement that they will pursue the degree within a period of time.”

Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics listed registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree among the occupations projected to see the most growth through 2024.

The Difference of a Degree

Forward Thinking spoke to Dr. Davis Michael Graham, chair of Ashford University’s online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program, about the need for continuing education in health care, and what nursing students will learn in pursuit of a degree:

FT: Can you summarize the RN to BSN program?

Dr. Graham: If you’re a registered nurse, and you’ve earned a nursing diploma or associate’s degree, the RN to BSN will expand your knowledge of nursing and the health care industry. It’s a 120 credit program that covers everything from quality patient care, to leadership, to community health, ethics, and technology.

FT: What sets this program apart?

Dr. Graham: These courses keep pace with the issues affecting the health care industry, its workers, and those in need of treatment. Take chronic illness, for example. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that, as of 2012, approximately 50 percent of U.S. adults were living with one or more chronic illnesses, which includes cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Students in the RN to BSN program will learn to understand the biological, psychological, and social implications of these chronic conditions, including the impact of the illness experience on a patient’s family. We want our students to become effective patient advocates and provide the highest quality care in their work.

FT: What are the benefits of the nursing Practice Experiences?

Dr. Graham: When we talk about acquiring knowledge and skills, this is done through interacting with actual health care professionals. Students will see their work with clientele in a number of practice settings. These are real world scenarios in which intervention planning, implementation, and evaluation skills are critical to success.

Expanding on the notion that there is no educational ceiling for health care workers, Graham pointed to the fact that some nurses may use their bachelor’s degrees as a stepping-stone to graduate education, including relevant areas of business administration, public health, or health care administration.

Hear more about Ashford's RN to BSN program from Dr. Graham and Reyna Sund in the video above.

For more information about on-time completion rates, the median loan debt of students who completed this program, and other important information, please visit

Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.

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Are you currently a licensed RN?

This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.