What Can You Do with a BSN Degree?

Two nursing students posing for photo in scrubs

If you decide to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN), you will be on the path to an exciting and rewarding career with many job opportunities and workplace options.

In this article, we will delve into the various work settings that nurses can work in and discuss some excellent nursing specialties accessible to BSN graduates.

Why nurses need higher education 

According to a 2020 survey conducted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nearly half of hospitals and other healthcare settings require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) as an entry-level degree.

In addition, results from the 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey revealed that more than 70 percent of registered nurses (RNs) in the US workforce hold a BSN or a master's (MSN) degree. This survey, administered every two years by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers, highlights the increasing demand and importance of higher education in nursing.

Related: Traditional vs. Accelerated BSN: Choosing the Right Nursing Program

What is a registered nurse?

Upon successfully completing the required courses, you will be eligible to take the licensure exam for registered nurses, known as the NCLEX examination. After successfully passing the licensure exam, you will receive your license to practice as a registered professional nurse. RNs provide a wide range of patient care and support services in various healthcare settings.

Where do registered nurses work?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 60 percent of the largest employers for registered nurses are in state, local and private hospitals. Ambulatory healthcare centers, nursing and residential care facilities, and government and educational services account for 33% of the other biggest employers. Below are some examples that demonstrate how these various nursing work environments may be represented:

Nursing ambulatory healthcare services (18%) 

  • Medical clinics (e.g., urgent cares and specialty clinics)
  • Outpatient surgery centers
  • Imaging centers (e.g., x-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds)
  • Rehabilitation centers (e.g., physical, operational, and speech therapy)

Nursing residential care services (6%) 

  • Nursing homes
  • Assisted living facilities.
  • Memory care facilities (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia)
  • Hospice care
  • Palliative Care

Nursing government services (6%) 

  • Public health clinics
  • Prisons
  • Military hospitals and clinics
  • Veteran Affairs hospitals and clinics

Nursing educational services (3%) 

  • Elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Trade schools and vocational institutions.

What is the average salary of a registered nurse?

 It depends.


Median Pay

as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, this figure doesn’t necessarily represent the full spectrum of wages that nurses can earn.

Factors That Impact Earnings

A recent survey conducted by Nurse.org found that many factors impact how much a nurse can earn. These may include but are not limited to location, industry, experience, education, and more.

Seven excellent nursing specialties with a BSN degree

A vast range of specialties becomes available by earning a Bachelor of Nursing degree. Among the many options are infection control, occupational health, and emergency nursing. It's important to note that certain specialized nursing roles may require previous nursing experience, certifications, and advanced education. To give you an idea, here's a brief overview of seven different specialties.

  1. Infection Control Nurse
    An infection control nurse specializes in preventing the spread of infections in healthcare settings. They work to develop and implement infection control protocols, educate staff and patients on proper hygiene practices, and investigate and contain outbreaks.

  2. Charge Nurse 
    Charge nurses are like the captain of a healthcare team, overseeing and coordinating daily operations of the unit to ensure high-quality patient care. They also serve as a liaison between staff and management.

  3. Occupational Health Nurse
    An occupational health nurse promotes and maintains the health and safety of employees in the workplace. They assess and manage workplace hazards, provide education and training, and collaborate with employers to create healthy and safe work environments.

  4. Operating Room Nurse
    An operating room nurse, also known as a perioperative nurse, is responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of patients before, during, and after surgical procedures. They work alongside surgeons and other healthcare professionals to coordinate patient care, monitor vital signs, and maintain a sterile surgical environment.

  5. Dialysis Nurse
    A dialysis nurse, also known as a nephrology nurse, specializes in caring for patients with kidney disease or kidney failure who require dialysis treatment. They monitor patients during dialysis sessions, manage dialysis equipment, and provide education and support to help patients manage their condition.

  6. Oncology Nurse
    An oncology nurse provides care and support for cancer patients. They play a critical role in educating patients and their families about cancer treatment options, managing side effects, and promoting overall well-being.

  7. Hospice Nurse
    A hospice nurse provides compassionate care and support to patients and their families. They focus on managing pain and symptoms, enhancing the quality of life, and providing emotional and spiritual support during this difficult time.

Are you ready to take the first step toward an exciting and rewarding career in nursing?

St. John’s University offers an exceptional, four-year Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Nursing program on its vibrant Queens, NY, campus. You will gain hands-on experience and valuable networking connections that set you up for success in the nursing field. Get ready to dive into real-world learning experiences and gain the knowledge and skills to achieve your nursing career goals.

Begin your nursing career with a BSN from St. John’s University.