Which Is the Better Nursing Degree – ADN or BSN?

July 17, 2011
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A question I’ve seen raised many times by job seekers and nursing students is whether to pursue their ADN (Associates Degree in Nursing) or BSN (Bachelors of Science, Nursing) on the way to becoming a Registered Nurse? While both degrees lead to becoming an RN what is the main difference in your career path should you choose to obtain a 2 year or 4 year degree?

I decided to pose this question out to a selection of nurse recruiters and healthcare administrators. Here are four great responses:

A question I’ve seen raised many times by job seekers and nursing students is whether to pursue their ADN (Associates Degree in Nursing) or BSN (Bachelors of Science, Nursing) on the way to becoming a Registered Nurse? While both degrees lead to becoming an RN what is the main difference in your career path should you choose to obtain a 2 year or 4 year degree?

I decided to pose this question out to a selection of nurse recruiters and healthcare administrators. Here are four great responses:

We know that BSN will be a highly preferred degree in our selection process, however because Banner Health has supported a number of ADN student through college, we have committed to hiring our sponsored students. Our ADN graduates are encouraged to plan on obtaining their BSN in their future. There is significant literature that supports BSN educated nurses and there are studies that favorably compare the outcomes achieved with a large complement of BSN nurses. The Institute of Medicine’s report on nursing recently recommended that by 2020, at least 80% of nurses will be minimally BSN prepared.

– Colleen Hallberg, Chief Nursing Officer, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center

This will vary depending on organization and need. I hire both ADN and BSN grads each year. With that said there may be some preference for BSN RNs on some units. They tend to get far more clinical time, internships etc than an ADN. We are a magnet hospital and we need to have a specific amount of BSN RNs, what we have done is we still hire ADN’s and we have internal programs to help our ADN RNs return to school to obtain a BSN.

– Jessica Fraga, MBA,  Nurse Recruiter, Baystate Health

Our staff nurse positions do not require a BSN. The biggest time this becomes an issue is when staff nurses want the ability for career development such as Director of Nursing or Clinical Consultant. In those positions we really do prefer that candidates have a BSN. Additionally within our organization there is a lot of potential for career advancement outside of the clinical department such as marketing and operations opportunities. The BSN better prepares candidates for these internal mobility opportunities.

– Annette Foght, Director of National Recruiting, HCR Manorcare

We will hire ADN’s and BSN’s. If someone is looking at a management track, then they would want to obtain a minimum of a BSN. If a facility is Magnet status or trying to obtain magnet status, they have to have a certain percentage of BSN prepared RN’s. We pay our RN’s the same rate whether they have a BSN or ADN. So really the difference lies in whether they would like to be part of management and obtaining the BSN and then becoming a nurse would help so they are not training as an RN and trying to finish their BSN at the same time.

– Carla Coe, MA, SPHR , Senior Allied Health & Nurse recruiter, Memorial Health System

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