It is no secret that the U.S. has been facing a widespread nursing shortage for decades. Like several other states, the demand for nurses in South Carolina has rapidly increased, too. Multiple factors have contributed to the need for qualified and skilled nurses, including an aging population with more complex health issues, retiring nurses and too few nurse educators to teach up-and-coming nurses.
One way to address the nursing shortage is by earning a Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree. Nurses with this education experience can enter more highly skilled jobs or pursue an advanced clinical or teaching degree. The online RN to BSN program from the University of South Carolina Aiken allows working nurses to complete the degree in as little as one year and begin exploring new career opportunities.
How Significant Is South Carolina’s Nursing Shortage?
Nationwide, over one million RNs will leave the workforce by 2030, according to Zippia. Among all states, South Carolina has one of the most significant projected nursing shortages, resulting in the need for an estimated 10,400 nurses to meet demand through the end of the decade.
Employment opportunities will likely be numerous. For example, according to Zippia, the U.S. nursing workforce is expected to grow by 9% through 2030, adding nearly 200K jobs yearly. However, employment of RNs in South Carolina is projected to increase as much as 26% by 2024, according to The Job Network. This growth is on top of the approximately 44K nurses already employed in South Carolina as of May 2022 and reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Do South Carolina Nurses Need a BSN?
Although an associate degree or diploma in nursing may be sufficient to enter the field, earning a BSN has several immediate and long-term benefits for South Carolina nurses:
Compliance with industry and employer standards. Pursuing an RN to BSN degree can help nurses comply with industry and employer standards to remain competitive in the job market. More than a decade ago, the Future of Nursing report recommended that 80% of the nursing workforce hold a BSN by 2020. However, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), only about 65% of nurses have reached this benchmark. In response, more employers now prefer hiring BSN-prepared nurses. Based on data from AACN, 41% of employers require new hires to have the degree and 77% strongly prefer BSN graduates.
More career opportunities. Nurses can pursue broader career options with a BSN degree, such as leadership and management positions, clinical and Magnet roles and specialized nursing certifications. In addition, BSN-prepared RNs may also find opportunities away from the bedside. Areas of interest for nurses with a BSN may include research, case management, quality assurance, public health, geriatrics, pediatrics and critical care.
Higher earnings potential. Nurses with a BSN degree can earn higher salaries as they progress to more skilled positions. Employers may also offer tuition reimbursement and bonuses for degree completion. According to BLS data, from May 2022, South Carolina nurses make about $74K annually, with the top 10% of earners approaching $95K.
What Courses Are Included in an RN to BSN Degree Program?
University of South Carolina Aiken’s RN to BSN online program includes nine core nursing courses to ensure graduates are well equipped to help fulfill the growing demand for nurses throughout the state. Coursework covers timely topics such as:
- Physical and psychosocial health assessments
- Ethical-legal issues in nursing
- Community and family health nursing
- Nursing research
- Leadership and management principles
The nursing shortage in South Carolina is a pressing issue expected to worsen in the coming decade. As the population ages, nurses retire and the prevalence of chronic diseases rises, the lack of skilled RNs will affect care quality and access. Nurses who complete an RN to BSN degree can help address this demand while gaining new career opportunities and higher salaries.
Learn more about the University of South Carolina Aiken’s RN to BSN online program.