BSN or Not
So, you have decided to become a nurse. Your first decision was whether to become an RN or an LPN. Your next choice is whether to earn an Associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). There are many considerations to think about when you are making this decision.
Length and Cost of Training
How long will it take for you to become an RN? Typically an ADN can be completed in one to two years, where as a BSN degree usually takes four years. If you already have a bachelor’s degree there are also accelerated programs which you may qualify for and would decreases the length of training. The cost of training varies a great deal depending on the school, program and length of training. All programs prepare you to become a registered nurse and take the NCLEX-RN.
Job Opportunities and Personal Aspirations
When you think about becoming a nurse, do you see yourself caring for a particular population or working on a specific unit at a desired hospital? If so, then you may want to investigate and learn about what is required for you to obtain that particular position. For example, most intensive care units and specialty units require registered nurses to be BSN trained. As most hospitals are trying to earn more recognition and higher rankings in today’s competitive market, the expectations that nurses are BSN prepared and certified in their specialty is increasing. Nurses have more opportunities to advance within an institution if they have higher education. Management and teaching positions typically require for the nurse to have at least a BSN, and in some cases a masters or doctorate degree.
The great thing about a career as a nurse is that there are so many different opportunities. You can start in a nursing home, move along to an inpatient unit, train further to become an ICU nurse, transition into case management and eventually work in home care after retiring. There is no one right path and the opportunities are always there if you are willing to learn and accept the challenge. A BSN degree will provide you with more opportunities both initially and if you desire to advance within the field of nursing.
In 2008, the American Nurses Association passed a resolution which recommended that all nurses who initially obtain a diploma or ADN be required to obtain a BSN within 10 years. This would allow new nurses to quickly enter the workforce but would ultimately require them to complete a higher level of training. This would apply to new nurses, as for there would be a grandfather clause which would allow for nurses currently trained to continue practicing as a nurse irregardless of their level of education. Several states are seriously considering this legislature, and therefore, you should be aware that you may need to be prepared to continue your education. If you have limited budget, obtaining an ADN may allow for you to financially be able to support yourself sooner, and then continue your higher education with assistance from your employer. Many hospitals offer tuition reimbursement which allows nurses to enhance their education at a decreased expense. Increasing you education should be viewed as a positive growth opportunity which will open many new doors along your career path.
Overall, if you complete a higher level of education, you will have more opportunities throughout your nursing career. As a professional, one should strive to be the best and advancing your education is just one part of career advancement and personal development. Setting a goal to achieve your BSN should be a part of your career oriented goals. Study hard and you will succeed.