Difference between BSN and RN

  1. 0
    Help me out here pls. What is the difference between a BSN and an RN. Don't you go through the four year program to get the BSN/RN. I've noticed that people put a stress on the BSN-route -RN -attained degree. I'm truly confused.

    Thanks
  2. 8 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    There's a whole forum with over 400 threads on the subject. I'm sure you'll find loads of info if you do a search or read a sticky in that area. I hope the link works:

    http://allnurses.com/registered-nurses-diploma/
    LadyFree28 and Katie5 like this.
  4. 3
    Short version: All BSNs are RNs, but not all RNs are BSNs

    RN is registered nurse. You can get there via a diploma program, an associates degree (ADN) program or a bachelors degree (BSN) program.

    A BSN RN is just an RN with a bachelor's degree--basically, they have the most schooling and it (usually) takes the longest to achieve. Whether it makes an actual difference in nursing practice is very debatable, as over 400 additional threads will attest to But for the most part, having a BSN is seen as a plus...but that doesn't mean not having one is automatically a negative.
    LadyFree28, KelRN215, and Katie5 like this.
  5. 3
    Keep in mind that BSN does not automatically mean RN. You can graduate from a BSN program and never pass your boards...you will always have BSN, it can't be taken from you once you graduate the program. If you never take, or never pass NCLEX, then you'll never be an RN. If you lose you license for practice reasons, illegal activities, drugs, etc...you will still be a BSN, but not an RN.

    BSN is a degree.
    RN is a registration license.

    You don't even have to attend nursing school to sit for the NCLEX in some instances. But they're rare.
    suanna, KelRN215, and Katie5 like this.
  6. 1
    The RN license allows you to practice Registered Nursing and be paid for it. The BSN diploma is nice to display somewhere in your home, as is the ASN diploma or a diploma from a diploma program, or for that matter an entry level MSN diploma. There are people who graduate from the educational institutions who never take or pass the licensing exam, so without the RN license, they can not practice nursing.
    Katie5 likes this.
  7. 2
    Stated in yet another way ...

    RN = "Registered Nurse" = which indicates that the person has passed a test (called the NCLEX-RN) that is given by the state government. When you pass the test, you are given license to practice as a registered nurse.

    In order to be allowed to take the test that qualifies you for an RN licence, you have to meet certain conditions that show you have been educated as a nurse. For most people, that means graduating from an approved school of nursing.

    What makes thing really confusing is that there are many different types of educational programs that provide the courses needed to qualified to take the RN test. "Diploma programs" are based in hospitals and do not grant academic degrees, but rather give you a diploma stating that you passed their classes. Diploma programs are usually approximately 3 years in length. "Associate Degrees" are usually found in community colleges and vocational schools. They usually take 1.5 - 3 years to complete. "Bachelor's Degrees" are the equivalent to other 4-year college/university level degrees -- though very recently a few community colleges and vocational schools have started to offer BSN's. There are also a few programs that provide the introductory nursing content in "Master's Degree" programs at universities. Schools of all types are experimenting with different formats and program structures as they try to make money by providing nursing education to people who want to become nurses.

    Each type of academic program has a slightly different emphasis, but each provides the basic beginner-level courses that are required for their graduates to take the RN exam. Graduating from an educational program doesn't give you a nursing license. The education gives you the qualifications you need to take the test and get a nursing license, which allows you to use the title "RN."
    LadyFree28 and Katie5 like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from rghbsn
    Keep in mind that BSN does not automatically mean RN. You can graduate from a BSN program and never pass your boards...you will always have BSN, it can't be taken from you once you graduate the program. If you never take, or never pass NCLEX, then you'll never be an RN. If you lose you license for practice reasons, illegal activities, drugs, etc...you will still be a BSN, but not an RN.

    BSN is a degree.
    RN is a registration license.

    You don't even have to attend nursing school to sit for the NCLEX in some instances. But they're rare.
    I understand now perfectly
  9. 1
    There is a BIG difference, however, between the quality (and relevant 'worth') of RN-to-BSN programs. The "ADN" that's given to most RN graduates only requires 9 (or less) units of General Education coursework; they're not traditional Associate degree programs. These fly-by-night schools that offer you a "BSN" with only your ADN General Ed. classes, and then a handful of Nursing classes on top of it, aren't worth the paper they're written on. Also, these schools (Chamberlain, Kaplan, U. of Phoenix, Vanguard, and the other ones who heavily recruit to RN students while still in school) usually run classes consecutively, not concurrently (for instance, instead of taking 3 classes at a time for 16 weeks, they'll have you take one class for 6 weeks, another for the second 6 weeks, and the last for the third 6 weeks). They usually cater to people who want a BSN - fast and easy. They also charge around $500 a unit so you're basically buying a degree. Plus, even many employers won't hire BSN's if their degrees came from one of the substandard programs.

    This is alright if you only want a "BSN" to work at the VA, join the military, or work at a magnet or university hospital that requires a BSN as the 'title' is all that's necessary. HOWEVER, if you ever want to go further (e.g. Master's degree), these BSN's won't cut it. You will need a Bachelor's from a reputable university that requires upper division General Ed. classes (30-60 units) in order for you to get that BSN. Any school that doesn't require the same number of General Ed. classes as for a traditional Bachelor's, isn't reputable.

    I know someone who obtained one of these "Diploma Mill" BSN's and, even though she has a '4.0 GPA', she now can't get into a Nurse Practitioner program other than ones offered by those same type of sham schools. Yale University (for example) won't even accept a 'BSN' for their RN-to-MSN program - you have to have a traditional Bachelor's in another subject on top of your RN.

    So, forget the "quick and easy" route to Nursing education unless all you're interested in is letters behind your name. If you want a quality education that will carry weight in the future, stick with traditional programs and value "learning" over "letters".
    sslamster likes this.
  10. 1
    I like to point out that I chose not to go into debt over my education and instead went the associate degree and then RN to BSN route. I have worked 3 months in an ICU and I've decided I wanted to go back to an ER. I've had four hospitals call me in the last week for interviews not caring that I am a new grad, an associate degree nurse, only worked in my current job 3 months, or anything like that. The school I went to was a well-known nursing school and I chose previous experiences that have helped out my resume. On the flip side, I have a few classmates who are struggling to find jobs.

    In the end, I will have saved over 20,000 even with a scholarship by making the choices I have made. There is an elitist view of having a BSN makes a superior nurse, but that's not always the case.
    applewhitern likes this.


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