R.N. is the only profession I know of that allows you to be considered one of the "learned professions" with only having completed an associate degree, and more often in the past, a diploma program.
People make a lot out of the BSN, but if it were the minimum entrance degree for nursing, we wouldn't have 1/2 the nurses we have. I don't think a BSN is necessary, but I do feel a nurse should have a bachelors degree in some field so they are educated enough to converse intelligently with the other members of the healthcare team (doctors, administrators, PTs, OTs, RTs, other nurses, etc.).
I am one of the rare individuals that believes a bachelors should be required before admission to nursing school
, and nursing school should award a masters degree. The only problem is that no one would want to work at the bedside then.
Where I work, you don't know which nurses are ADNs or BSNs because it's not on our name badges. But in reality, as soon as you talk to someone on the floor, you can tell whether they've had two years or four years of education.
Just my two cents.