Benefits of advanced degree (BSN)

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    Profile photo of Cbenitez05

    Hello! I’m a 4th year nursing student and my group has a capstone project this semester. We’re doing our project on the benefits of gaining higher education (particularly the BSN) after graduation from a 2 year program. What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of gaining or not gaining a BSN after an ADN? Thanks everyone!

    Profile photo of neuroninja

    Funny you should ask. I was an ADN and then went and got my BSN. First off, I wouldnt call a BSN an advanced degree. It’s a basic stepping stone to getting a grad degree. But its necesary if you want to ever do something more than bedside care in a lot of the nicer parts of the country. It all depends on what you want though. If changing bedpans for the rest of your life sounds sweet then don’t worry about it. But in terms of job skills it offers basically nothing. It can help foster a sense of professionalism if you drink the koolade in some of your classes, but youll forget all that stuff in the coming years anyways. Theres the Healthy People 2020 initiative that has many hospitals trying to get 80% of their bedside RNs to BSN or higher. So its more job opportunities. But it comes at the cost of more debt. And my graduating class from when I got my ADN saw over 80% hired as RNs within six months, so its not like a BSN is necessary for jobs. AND what is notable about that is the new grads get paid the same regardless their degree. So going back to school to get my BSN didn’t get any more money, just more debt, and a little more “opportunity” at some of the “better” hospitals. Its all pretty subjective, but unless you want to get a higher degree, a BSN is a waste of time. Honestly, my neighbor is an ADN and she is the Director for a home health agency. Never got her bachelors. Its not always even necessary. Its a matter of finding what youre good at and want to do, making yourself a niche, and sticking to your guns. Ive met several nurses who start their own home health companies. It’s a big business. And it doesn’t require anything more than intelligence and ability, neither of which are guaranteed with a BSN. I hope I dont come across as too jaded. I dont buy in to the whole political academic nevessity that is often pushed on people. Its a self sustaining industry that preys on peoples ideals and uses them for profit, and I dont think its in a good place right now. But hey, that’s more of an outside perspective. Im sure there are lots of well intentioned people who aren’t completely naive who can give great reasons for a BSN besides it being an expensive barrier to real higher education. Good luck with your studies!

    Profile photo of MARpan8iv

    I disagree with neuroninja completely. However, I didn’t start with an ADN, I went for my BSN straightaway. First of all, I know that a lot of jobs at MY hospital (a huge, Magnet teaching hospital – 1100 beds – and very well respected) are not available unless you have a BSN. I can’t even get some jobs unless I go back to school and get my MSN, which is eventually my plan. BSN RN’s can apply to be “Clinical Nurses” and ADN RN’s can apply to be “RN’s”. They definitely differentiate what you can do in terms of autonomy and self-direction and management. Additionally, I see a difference in knowledge base between BSN’s and ADN’s in terms of pathophysiology and disease process, essentially critical thinking-wise in terms of how the patient is going to circle the drain. ADN’s start off with a leg up at hands-on tasks, but BSN’s know disease processes and what will happen next if you don’t get that patient with CHF’s lasix administered or an order for fluid restriction or… (insert scenario here.) I am *constantly* being asked questions about why the doctor ordered this or that or why they added this medication. I will say, however, that before I worked here, I worked at a *very* small rural 39-bed hospital that had a LPN as their discharge planner (she had been there since, I think, before I was born!) This goes to show you that not all hospitals have the same level of expectations or standards – so much depends on the availability of those they can hire from the surrounding area – and not all handle the same level of acuity for their patients. That rural hospital routinely shipped more complicated patients either down state or to the western part of the UP when they knew they were beyond their scope of care. The hospital I work at now was usually one of those receiving hospitals. People travel from all over the state and the region to be cared for there, and so the expectation is higher. The percentage of nurses who also have become board certified here is also about 30% (out of 2700 nurses working at the facility – over 750!) which is more than the total number of nurses working at my last hospital! I’ve never regretted going for my BSN, but I have heard various ADN nurses go on about “how it’s not worth it”. However, They’re usually the ones asking me the questions.

    Now, just so you don’t think I’m biased against ADN nurses… My sister is a diploma nurse who became a nurse 25 years before I did. My niece is a nurse practitioner. I also worked with a gal who started out as an ADN nurse, then got her RN-MSN and works as a NP. Of them all, I have the least experience and ask them for advice from time to time. We’re all working on the same team, but I always feel that we’re working for the best interest of our patients. If that extra knowledge from my BSN gives me a better chance to help my patient heal/improve/meet goals, I’m a happy camper.

    Profile photo of

    Ok– there is a happy medium between the two previous posts. Yes, these days you need a bsn to get a job at a good hospital and you need more education to maintain your career. I started out as an ASN and have since gotten my BSN (after 9 years of nursing). Do I think I learned anything pertinent to my practice while achieving my BSN? No! I have worked at all trauma 1 major hospitals with 670-1170 beds, in the intensive care unit….and many times as a charge rn. A bsn is necessary but more for politics. There will always be nurses that don’t get the total picture and can’t see the forest through the trees but I have never seen any correlation between that and the bsn vs adn degree.

    Best of luck!

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