ADN or BSN? - page 3

by Kimberly6891

i am currently going to occ for my adn. i'm still doing the pre-req's but, my question is this.... i have heard alot with regard to adn and bsn. i know i can get my adn and then get a job (sometimes it can get difficult in... Read More


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    Tommy2001 and Iluvpatho, you both raise good points! So, it may be surprising in that I do NOT disagree with the BSN becoming the minimum standard for registered nursing practice in the United States. To clarify my position, I believe that as long as the ADN route is available, why knock those who choose it, regardless of their reasons. Demeaning or devaluing ADN grads is a losing battle because doing so points fingers at entities who are not responsible for changing the entrance requirements to nursing practice and, in the process, creates unnecessary bitterness amongst people in the profession.


    I absolutely agree that the job market is partial to BSN grads, yet even many of them are having difficulty finding jobs, especially in certain parts of the country. There are many threads within these forums to that effect. (Your wife does not fall into this group as she is highly experienced—and that’s a good position to be in, particularly in this economy.)


    Similarly, I do not think that an ADN and BSN are the same. As I mentioned before, there are more general education and theory courses with BSN programs. My point is that added theory alone does not make a person a better bedside nurse, particularly at the beginning stages of a nursing career.


    Knowledge of Modeling & Role-Modeling Theory, statistics and research methodology, APA format, and organic molecule functional groups won’t be of much help in the hands-on, bedside treatment of a patient who goes into anaphylactic shock or diabetic ketoacidosis. And, furthermore, in most cases, such (theoretical) knowledge can be gained outside of the nursing realm.


    As an example, coursework in statistics and research methodology is required for many degree programs. I was required to learn and apply APA format, along with other documentation styles, in past professional work. Similarly, the former-chemists-future-nurses on these boards certainly have taken orgo-bio chem—at a much higher level than is required for most BSN/MSN programs at that! So, while additional knowledge is beneficial in its own right, plenty of BSN grads on these forums have themselves indicated that their programs spent way too much time on theory and not enough time on clinical skills, such as in this post.


    Certainly, I realize that I won’t go straight from an ADN to an MSN. In my previous post, I stated that I would be required to take a few bridge (theory) courses to gain acceptance to an MSN program in the future. However, while completing those remaining theory courses, I’ll be able to take advantage of tuition reimbursement while earning RN wages.


    A cousin of mine has an MSN from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), a member of the Ivy League. Despite having a master’s from one of the finest and most expensive institutions in the country, she has paid practically $0 for her nursing education, unlike many of her colleagues/employees who are saddled with debt.


    Many moons ago, she completed a nursing assistant course from the vocational high school she attended. After that, she was hired as an aide in a local hospital. At that time, tuition reimbursement/benefits offered 100% payment. She used it to become an LPN and, directly afterwards, an RN, via an associate degree program. (She became an LPN first, so that she could earn more money while becoming an RN.) After she completed the tuition-free RN-BSN program offered, she got a job at the UPenn hospital as a staff nurse. That job paid for her master’s. She is now in administration, where she can use all those nursing theories she’s met along the way … without carrying any student loan debt.


    Obviously, her path is not for everyone (myself included). Yet, her story illustrates how one can achieve educational goals without falling into the all-too-common student loan trap that plagues millions in this country. While it’s relatively easy to take out student loans, it’s not so easy to repay them. Most BSN grads with student loans will spend 10 to 20 years (or more) servicing them. ADN grads who choose to later get BSNs can do so in fewer than three years (often less) and largely at employer expense.


    Incidentally, my cousin has told me that, in her experience as an administrator, some BSN grads are so “theorized to death” that they lose sight of the hands-on portion of nursing and often can’t comfortably perform a basic procedure. (She has said, though, that lack of clinical nursing skills for BSN grads is program specific. So, in the case of UofD or Madonna, this certainly would not be true, as both programs have great reputations. And, certainly, there are ADN grads with poor clinical skills as well.)


    Nevertheless, having worked at all levels of nursing care, my cousin has tremendous respect for nurses who “can keep it real” and “get down and dirty” at the bedside, especially in her hypercompetitive, overeducated market that’s located in an area of the country hosting a number of direct-entry master’s programs, like Yale’s.


    If I were sick, I’d want the nurse who is comfortable administering suppositories instead of the nurse who has memorized the finer points of Health as Expanding Consciousness theory, yet who would ask an aide to go beyond scope to administer the aforementioned drug. Furthermore, AllNurses.com hosts numerous posts from practicing nurses of all degree levels who say they never use or even consider nursing theory in the day-to-day world.


    Of course, theory isn’t bad and the attainment of a nursing education should not be based on finances alone. Yet, in this economy, perhaps more students (older students/career changers in particular) should heed, “Take care of thyself first” —at the very least financially. Self-care is an important aspect of rendering quality nursing care.


    For me, self-care in part means having the added peace of mind by avoiding the burdensome noose that is student loan debt. You can almost feel the stress that many BSN grads (and proprietary school ADN grads) have indicated in their posts, even after successfully finding gainful employment. Furthermore, recent news has reported a large upswing in the percentage of student loan defaults, which for a nurse can result in license revocation. And as taxpayers, student loan defaults are costly to us all.


    So, in getting back to Kimberly6891’s original question, reading through the myriad posts here on AllNurses.com regarding the ADN versus BSN debate, one common theme is that most community college ADN grads seem happy with not being saddled with considerable debt. (This is not true for ADN grads of career colleges, like ITT and Everest, that can cost more than a private university and are often unaccredited by the NLN.)


    After obtaining RN licensure, reduced-cost options for obtaining a BSN include tuition reimbursement benefits and onsite employer-sponsored RN-BSN programs. Nevertheless, there is no one route best suited for everyone. Let your specific circumstances be your guide.
    Last edit by wendyyvonne on Jun 22, '11 : Reason: typo
    rayni22 and SnowStar4 like this.
  2. 1
    Everyone here, in my opinion, has valid points. As a professor, I admire those individuals who value higher education as a long-term investment for their future, and these individuals often consider nursing as a "career" vs a "job." With the push of Medicare & Medicaid reimbursement policy on quality rather than quantity of care, we as bedside nurses will be focusing beyond tasks (ie technical aspects of care delivery) which I will leave it up to you on how our current educational system can meet such a mandate.

    I used to engage in this debate passionately when I was a staff nurse in an Ivy league institution in the East coast as we (BSN) have $3500.00 educational differential vs our ADN (5 ADNs out of 45 staff nurses in a cardiac surgery ICU) counterpart, but I finally got tired of it. What I do now is encourage prospective nursing students to seriously consider nursing as a career, rather than a quick, economic personal gain, and try to sacrifice a bit with earning BSN degree. There are some evidence that nurses who valued nursing as a career tend to report higher job satisfaction and low levels of burn-out; and these outcomes were correlated with the BSN preparation. Job dissatisfaction + burn-out staff = negative unit culture = poor care outcomes. (Yes, there are nurses who don't care about research and data)

    Having been in this profession for 20 years which has been labeled as "the least and most highly educated healthcare professionals" is still sometime hard for me to swallow. I'm sure most of you are aware that all of our health sciences colleagues including athletic training professionals have moved beyond baccaluareate education as point of entry in practice. So, why can't we move fast enough? Well, its supply and demand (ie, chronic nursing shortage), funding, and politics.

    I'm fairly new in MI, but I think this debate is more intense here than in NY/NYC. I know several VPs of Patient Care Services/CNO that they're goal is to achieve 100% BSN staff based on Aiken's research, which is well receive by their board of directors. There are 2 large hospitals in NYC that have already achieved 90% and 98% BSN (and higher)-prepared staff nurses. Notably, the University of Pennsylvannia health system has stopped hiring ADNs.

    I was depressed about our profession 5 years ago, but with my recent involvement in health policy and attendance at the IOM, I'm now very excited with our future. Yes, it hasn't trickled down yet at the staff level but it is coming. I encourage the participants here to become familiar with the future of nursing campaign recommended by the IOM (seee link) http://www.rwjf.org/pr/product.jsp?id=44748 (national)http://www.michigancenterfornursing.org/iom.php (Michigan) and I let you figure out what initial academic degree we should be preparing our nurses.

    FYI - There are universities that are developing a tool to assess the prospective students potential as life-long learner (one of IOM recommendations), and I'll let you figure out which type of academic degree has higher representation of "intentional learners" vs "random learners at life" and, figure out why we need intentional learners who can demonstrate higher level of thinking (versus task) at the bedside to meet the challenges imposed by the complex patients and healthcare system yet must deliver QUALITY care not quantity.

    Any thoughts?
    Last edit by PhD,APN on Jul 2, '11
    L&DRegisteredNurse likes this.
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    My opinion and my opinion only. I decided to go the ADN route in 2004 and then go back for my BSN. The decision came at the time because the BSN programs had 2 yr waiting lists and the private college I chose although more expensive, would deliver without a waiting list provided I got a great GPA and took all my credits there vs. transferred them in. I figured I would get my RN and then go back for my BSN.

    It worked out as planned and I graduated in 2007. I have been working FT and 2 jobs at a time because of debt, being a sandwich generation child etc. Fast forward to now and I STILL am not able to go back to school due to finances and time. I just started a family and taking care of an aging/ill mother and helping my baby brother who just graduated HS through college (a lot on my plate).

    What I am getting to is that I may not be able to afford to get my BSN for a very long time. I might never accomplish that. Employer tuition reimbursements are dwindling fast and college tuition is sky rocketing in an already fragile economy. Basically for me, if it isn't broke I am not going to fix it.

    Every place of employment in diff states has been between 10 cents to 75 cents more per hr for BSN. I don't aspire to ever get into management either.

    In my case it does not make any sense to go back to school, acquire more debt to earn the same amount of pay. I am no fool either.

    I guess what I am saying is that if you truly wish to have your BSN then do it NOW and don't wait. It is easier to get it out of the way now than take a chance with going back to school later.

    For now, my crystal ball says, I will always be 'just a ADN'

    Much luck to you!
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    A message to Tommy2001:
    While I applaude you on your merits on becoming a BSN, which I am doing as well, there is something that you must know, and I mean this in the nicest way......... No one cares. When you are in a clinical setting, I can just picture you taking your credentials along with you, showing everyone how superior you are to them. Seriously, no one cares. They care about if you can do the certain skills and tasks necessary that could perhaps save someones life. Enough of this my BSN is better than your ADN nonsense. If you are truly in this field, it is because of a higher calling. The love of medicine and making an impact on a person's life when they are in need. I fear for your future patients, if you don't come to grips with this truth.
    allyincali and chimere20 like this.
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    Quote from Tommy2001
    Sounds like you guys are insecure with your two year degrees and assumptions. Detroit Mercy is known for taking U of M scraps. Two different worlds.

    -Mr.BSN
    What an obnoxious post -- and disingenuous, too. We all know that while an ADN is technically a two year degree, MOST schools require a year's worth of prerequisites before admitting you. All the community colleges in my area require over 70 credits for graduation from an associate's degree nursing program, which is more than half the credits one would need to graduate from a four year university.

    After that you can opt for one of the dozens and dozens online, one year ADN-to-BSN programs out there.
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    I understand this thread is old, however im hoping someone on here can answer my random questions. How do you obtain a bsn as a transfer from a CC? Is entering an ADN program the only way? Is ADN an actual program (meaning wait lists etc) or is it just sets of classes?
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    I agree with you! I have a bachelor's degree already, but I simply had a change of heart about my first career choice. It was cheaper and the best decision for me. I didn't want to rush into a program that I had to pay $30,000 a year for...again. lol
  8. 0
    Quote from Tommy2001
    If an ADN was the "same level of education" then they would call it a BSN. A two year degree is the same as a four year degree???right...... This is the attitude of nurses who typically believe they know more than the residents. The fact is most of ADN's know what to do but don't know why they do it. The Residents understand this far better. I can't speak for anyone's work ethic, but a two year degree is exactly that a two year technical degree, for people who just want a paycheck. It isn't the same at all. The teaching staff isn't the same. The students aren't the same. The pre-req's aren't the same. Heck! the nursing classes aren't the same. Why would you sell yourself short to a second best education? To achieve only the mininum? This is what I asked myself when I walked out of WCCD's info meeting. An education is an investment not something to look for a "discount" in. This is your career we're talking about not a sale at K-Mart. You get what you pay for. If I was patient I would want someone with a four year nursing degree, not a community college student. No offense.
    Mkay, and you would say the same thing to a person who really wanted to be a nurse but couldn't afford to go BSN right away? Seriously. No one ever wants to think of the reasons why certain people go for certain things. You have your opinion and that's fine but for a "nurse that is a BSN" which I am guessing you are by your comments... I have to say it sounds as if you seriously have a lack of understanding...
    Last edit by dianah on Jan 19, '13 : Reason: Terms of Service


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