The nursing profession continues to employ millions. Those numbers are only expected to rise in the coming years.

For most nurses, the job is as much as calling as career. Committing to a job where you spend your days helping others takes a very special kind of personality. With so much importance in what they do, nurses want to be as good at the job as possible.

When weighing whether to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), many RNs who already hold a two-year degree typically evaluate the decision based on both “career and calling” factors.

Fortunately, earning a four-year degree can satisfy both. And with the growth of online RN to BSN degree programs, it’s easier than ever to earn a degree while scheduling coursework around busy professional and personal lives.

Here are some of the advantages of earning an RN to BSN degree that help both your career and make you a better nurse.

Improved Nursing Skills

Those who earn a BSN get better educational preparation for a job in nursing. This is a key factor for nurses who want to give patients the best medical service possible. For example, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) points out that those who earn a BSN learn community education, nurse management and leadership, patient education and clinical and scientific decision-making skills.

The RN to BSN degree program at Houston Christian University provides an excellent example of the type of skills nurses learn.

The competency-paced program allows nurses to earn their degree at an accelerated pace. Nurses are paired with a success coach who helps guide them through the program. To meet the standards for nurses in Texas, students achieve mastery of nursing competencies, not just earn credit hours. Students learn about the implementation of technology in nursing, pharmacology, care of vulnerable populations and health care administration.

Learning Leadership

As the coursework described above shows, those who earn an RN to BSN degree are prepared to take on leadership positions in nursing.

The need for leadership is expected to grow – especially in Texas, which continues to face a nursing shortage. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 15 percent growth in the nursing field. It will be larger in Texas, which is one of the biggest employers of nurses in the country.

The skills taught while earning a BSN, especially in the areas of healthcare administration, prepares nurses to move into management. Many medical operations such as hospitals, clinics and community centers require those in management positions to have a bachelor’s degree.

Experience and Research

In any profession, experience is as valuable a teacher as those in the classroom. Most RN to BSN degree programs, including the one from Houston Christian University, offer clinical experience as part of earning a degree.

Bachelor’s degree students also learn about nursing theory, research processes and the best practices for applying research to clinical practice. For example, graduates from the Houston Christian University program are expected to know how to apply research and theory to solving real-world challenges in a clinical setting.

The type of education provided in an RN to BSN degree program produces nurses who not only have the best career opportunities, but also are simply better at what they do. Both issues are of foremost importance to nurses, making an online RN to BSN degree program an attractive option for those ready to boost their skills, knowledge and career.