To become an RN, a nurse has a few options. Diploma programs, which are rare in this era, can allow you the right to take the NCLEX exams. However, the most common way to become an RN is to pursue an Associate Degree of Science in Nursing. This degree, or ADN, has many benefits. It doesn’t take as long as more advanced degrees. It doesn’t require intensive college classes, such as the arts and sciences. It usually only takes two years. Some schools even offer part-time, night-time, and flexible hours to get your ADN.
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So why bother with getting a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN? Actually, nurses have many reasons for pursuing this degree. ADNs usually get paid less, are not in supervisory positions, and may feel they are passed over for promotions. Fortunately, the explosion of online degree programs makes it easier than ever to pursue your BSN. Here are just a few reasons why you may want to consider it.
Increased Pay and Employment Opportunities
The nursing field in general has an excellent career outlook due to the increase of people with access to health care and the aging population, no matter what degree you get. One of the primary reasons to pursue your BSN, however, may be for an increase in pay. Although ADNs and BSNs are both registered nurses, BSNs are often paid more.
An ADN who works as a bedside RN, for example, can average between $20.01 and $35.30 per hour. While a BSN in the same role could earn $20.80 to $38.08. Although these numbers are averages, they demonstrate the increased earning power of the BSN.
Also, research studies have shown that patients fare better when their nurses have a four-year degree as opposed to a two-year degree. As a result, hospitals are encouraging nurses to get their BSN within 10 years of registering as a nurse. While the difference between the two degrees is similar now, the BSN may become the only type of nurse that can get a job, get the higher pay, and apply for supervisory roles.
Increased Supervisory Roles
The ADN curriculum teaches the basics of nursing care, but the BSN degree is designed for nurses who are interested in supervisory roles or those who want to pursue advanced practice degrees.
Advanced classes translate directly into the types of jobs that BSNs can get that are relatively closed to ADNs. Although ADNs can be charge nurses, they are usually not unit managers. To become management, you need to have a four-year degree for consideration.
Option for APRN Advancement
For those who entered the nursing profession looking to become a nurse practitioner, the need for a BSN is vital. Although it is possible to take classes that span RN to MSN, they are usually very expensive and still run through the BSN track.
Many of the advance practice positions are attractive to nurses, but nurse practitioner is not the only option. With your BSN, you can also begin to pursue a career as a nurse midwife, a nurse anesthetist, an informatics nurse, a forensic nurse, or a clinical nurse specialist.
Flexible Learning With Online Programs
Many nurses who pursue an ADN do so because it is the quickest way to becoming a reigistered nurse. These programs have benefits but are not always the best in the long run. Once you decide that you want to pursue your BSN, the RN-to-BSN track is one of the most popular online programs in the country. With your RN, the need for clinical work decreases, and you are able to do more class work. This works out well with the online paradigm, which is what makes online learning so popular among nurses who are looking to advance their career while continuing to work.
Helps You Stay in the Nursing Profession
Even if you are not interested in earning a master of science in nursing or becoming management, you may still want to pursue your BSN. Advancement is usually very important to nurses. It is difficult to work the bedside for 10 years and never get to the supervisory role.
Many nurses burn out at the bedside and decide to leave the profession. This is bad for nursing because it means that trained nurses are leaving. Patients will suffer from the lack of experience, and your coworkers will suffer from not having you as a leader. When you pursue your BSN, you give yourself the opportunity to get away from the bedside, yet still stay a member of the profession and share your expertise with your nursing staff who can then take better care of their patients—everyone wins!
In the end, there are many benefits to getting your BSN; for the advancement it allows it can’t be beat.
Lynda Lampert, RN, has been a nurse for eight years. After working at the bedside, she decided to pursue her dream of writing for a living. She has been a freelancer for five years, and has been published in many nursing and health outlets, including allnurses.com, Scrubs Magazine, and Mighty Nurse. You can contact her via her website at Lynda Lampert — Freelance Medical Writer.