It takes two years to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and become a registered nurse. From there, RNs can start a career, earn a salary and gain valuable experience. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), on the other hand, takes more time and can be costly. But, a BSN has many benefits, including more job possibilities. An online RN to BSN program is a way for nurses to achieve a bachelor's degree without sacrificing their jobs or paychecks.
Why Do Nurses Choose an ADN Program?
An ADN program is a quicker and less expensive way to complete a nursing degree and begin a career.
Is There a Difference Between ADN and BSN Preparation?
ADN and BSN nurses can both become RNs. While a BSN builds on the preparation of an ADN, graduates from both programs have to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLCEX) in order to receive their license to practice.
ADN nurses are prepared for entry-level positions. They learn how to perform basic nursing care that includes recording symptoms, operating medical equipment, educating patients about diseases, and consulting with co-workers and physicians regarding a patient's progress.
The comprehensive curricula students complete in a BSN program strengthens their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These programs also prepare them to incorporate evidence-based practice into the delivery of care. A BSN prepares nurses for their expanding role in healthcare. Having finished a bachelor's program, they understand how to collaborate and communicate with interdisciplinary teams and provide care to an aging patient population with complex medical conditions.
Why Do Nurses Pursue a BSN?
A BSN is a path to more opportunities for nurses. Here are reasons why nurses pursue a BSN:
- Promotion to a leadership position
- Higher salary
- New knowledge
- Job security
- Path to a graduate degree
What Is the Average Annual Salary for ADN- and BSN-Prepared Nurses?
According to ZipRecruiter as of April 2019, the average annual salary for an RN with an ADN is $72,894. BSN-prepared nurses earn an average of $82,378.
Why Is a BSN Preferred?
Besides fulfilling the BSN requirement for hospitals to earn the Magnet designation, there are other factors that influence the preference for baccalaureate degrees. They include:
- Healthcare organizations are following the recommendation for increasing the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80 percent by 2020, which was put forth by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) — known as the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) since 2015 — in its report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.
- The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recognizes the BSN as the minimal level of preparation for nurses to practice.
- Numerous studies have shown that BSN-prepared nurses improve patient outcomes. Nurses with a BSN are linked to a lower incidence of failure to rescue in hospitals, pressure ulcers, post-operative deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and postsurgery mortality.
- "BSN in 10" is a law in New York. Nurses are required to earn a bachelor's degree within 10 years of becoming a licensed RN. Rhode Island and New Jersey are proposing similar bills.
Hiring practices at hospitals have changed. The result is that most hospitals want new hires with a BSN, and they require established ADN-prepared RNs to earn a bachelor's degree within a certain time frame. For working nurses with an associate degree who want to go back to school, an online RN to BSN program is a good fit that is also affordable. The multiple start dates and flexible schedule let nurses complete their degree at their own pace but in less time than a traditional, four-year BSN program.
Learn more about the University of New Mexico's online RN to BSN program.
Sources:Nurse.com: 11 Things to Know About New York's BSN-in-10 Law
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