ADN vs. BSN: Why You Should Pursue a BSN
The demand for bridge programs that allow a Registered Nurse to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) has been steadily increasing, and as a result more colleges and universities are offering ADN to BSN degree programs. The reasons, nurses who choose to pursue a higher-level degree are varied, and often include a mix of personal and professional reasons. While the personal reasons are just that, there are some truly strong arguments, from a professional standpoint, as to why a BSN might be worth your time.
The Health Care Industry’s Perspective on Higher Education
According to the Institute of Medicine, the health care industry, as a whole, is pushing for an increase in the number of nurses with bachelor degrees to increase from 50% to 80% by 2020. If this goal is met, nurses without a BSN will be at a disadvantage when looking for promotions or new opportunities.
The reasons for the push for higher education stems from many concerns, including:
•A greater need for nurses with technology skills to keep up with technological advances in the chronic care environment
•The majority of senior level nursing staff approaching retirement
•The healthcare industry’s need for nurses with management and leadership abilities to keep up with the pace of the aging population
•The need for nurses to serve as primary care providers, researchers and leaders in ongoing healthcare reform
What to Expect from a BSN Program
The goal of most associate degree or diploma registered nurse (RN) programs is to provide the technical skills and base knowledge needed to gain entry-level employment in the health care industry as a nurse. A BSN provides additional prevention focused on training that is needed in advanced nursing roles.
For example, nurses graduating from a BSN program can expect to have a deeper understanding of risk reduction, community health promotion, patient advocacy, leadership protocols and even business management skills.
The American Association of College Nursing (AACN), and similar organizations, is beginning to recognize the BSN degree as the minimum required education for professional nursing practice.
The BSN degree will include courses that provide scientific research, enhance critical thinking and improve communication skills. Classes may be offered online or in a classroom environment. Most of the classes will build upon the clinical experience you have as an RN, but include diagnostic, management or research based elements to build upon the skills the RN already has acquired in the industry.
It is important to remember that these programs are not designed for failure, so even nurses that have been working in the health care industry for an extended period of time should find the transition to be fairly easy to manage. All schools provide tutoring and learning support to assist those returning to their education after a long break.
Nurses with bachelor degrees show a greater investment in their career, which tends to open more doors of opportunity. The advanced degree also provides the ability to qualify for higher salary employment opportunities.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses that obtain a BSN have many advancement opportunities to them, including:
•Assistant unit manager
•Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
•Management in ambulatory, acute, home-based and chronic care
•Post-secondary nurse educators in colleges and universities
ADN vs. BSN is a Personal Choice
Ultimately, the decision between ADN and BSN is a personal decision, as it takes extra time, money and energy to obtain a BSN. The patients that a nurse cares for will not likely be able to tell if you have an ADN or a BSN, but the additional time in the classroom can make you feel more confident, which translates into better care. Likewise, the employers you work for will weigh the level of education the nurses on staff have when considering advancement opportunities.