I also have to say that I respectfully disagree with a few points of edga. I am a second degree RN and proud to say BSN. I was an older student (>25) and I have a larger, young family so I researched carefully my options. Many people said to me to just go to the local CC (which has a decent reputation) and I did many of my prerequisites there, but after I sat through their informational seminar and the one of the BSN/accelerated track -- hands down I wanted to get my degree from them. Yes it cost more, but I look at it as an investment in my future. I also am planning on getting my Master's degree - I don't want to be a NP, but once I decide where I will specialize, I will get my degree in that field. Maybe I will teach one day -- I feel it is important to give back and I believe that those who have a good deal of clinical experience as well as classroom theory make good nursing instructors (just my opinion from the instructors I thought were great).
As for ADN vs BSN - there are inherent differences in the curriculum. Is it fluff, does it make you better at the bedside? No and No. I think that the biggest difference between the to types of degrees is noticed most when they are new grads. In talking with an instructor (went to nursing school with the dorms and curfews that were described - now has her MSN), she has worked with all types of degrees/diplomas and she said that the education of a BSN is apparent as a new grad -- she said their critical thinking skills are unmatched (as a whole, yes there are great ADNs and subpar BSNs -- I graduated with a few!) initially. Initially being the key word because over time and with experience the good nurses (no matter their degree) will develop the critical thinking skills and become very skilled in their area.
Other posters raised other valid points on education being valued/required in many fields. For example (depending on the state) law enforcement wants at least an associates degree and I know of a handful of officers in the Northeast that just got their JD in law -- a doctorate -- and they don't want to be lawyers, it is to be better at different aspects of their job.
As a nurse we have an awful lot of responsibility; it is not just about how good you are at bedside care. We have to be ever vigilant about all of the aspects of our patient's care and triple check that nothing will do them harm given their condition, their history, etc -- is that rate correct, is that dose too much, should I hold this med, is that bruise suspicious, do they have any barriers to discharge...? The list goes on.
Also as others have posted, this economy is horrible. There is no nursing shortage -- or the only shortage is in experienced nurses, which raises that age-old conundrum of "how do you get the experience if no one will give you the experience?" The schools are pumping out more grads than there are openings for -- it is a real problem. A very smart woman that I know who is a retired RN and is respected in her field and sits on several boards at a few hospitals said to me to take anything to start out with, just to start to get the experience -- ltc, snf, anything -- put your name on the school nurse sub list and at least you can show that you have been doing something -- something better than "do you want fries with that...?" Good luck to you in your job search. I know it's frustrating, but don't give up.