Do I REALLY need a BSN?

  1. 1
    Hi. I just graduate with my ADN as a second career. Before that, I was full time mom and before that I was an attorney (yeah, weird, I know). So, I'm hearing here and there that if I want even a chance at a hospital residency position (I want to be in the ICU one day), I need a BSN. But I keep thinking, "really? I already have a B.A. and a J.D.!" My original plan was to work, gain experience, and then go for a masters in a clinical specialty. But now, I'm now sure. I just can't believe that all my other experience and education doesn't count, especially when the BSN program really doesn't have any clinical component -- it's just more research and writing. I'm working in a really well run SNF, so I'm not really unhappy, but my dream has been to be in the ICU. I'll do what it takes but I'd like to know what other people have heard before I jump back into school. Thanks!
    Joe V likes this.
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  4. 97 Comments so far...

  5. 5
    A lot depends on where you live and the hiring practices of the hospital where you want to work. My hospital would not hire you unless you were committed to enrolling in a BSN program. In other cities, the situation is different. You'll have to investigate the exact situation in your city to find out the current hiring conditions.

    As for the future, no one knows for sure. However, the long term trend in nursing has been for increasing educational levels -- not less.
  6. 4
    I don't think all internships require a BSN, it just depends on the hospital. I know someone who went through an ICU internship in my area and she has her ADN. Yes, it is unfortunate that with your previous degrees you do not have a BSN, but a BSN is what it is - a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. You do get your theory and research components that aren't offered in an ADN program, but you also may get some other clinical experiences as well. My BSN program did adult/gero med-surg in addition to OB, peds, public health, critical care, mental health & practicum (I was on a cardiac stepdown/vascular ICU for mine). Not all ADN programs offer those clinical opportunities and not all BSN programs are created equal, either - there are programs out there that don't offer critical care rotations.

    I do think getting your BSN is your most feasible option, as nursing is always all about furthering your education and a lot of hospitals nowadays are pushing for BSN-prepared nurses. Will you be doomed with just an ADN? No. Just look into your area and see what the hospitals are requiring. My hospital hires nurses with ADNs and they do not have to be enrolled in a BSN program, either.

    As for a BSN program, you could look into an accelerated option, which will allow you to get your degree faster than a traditional BSN program. Most unis offer an accelerated option that is available for individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in another field.
  7. 1
    yes, you do. BSNs are not fighting to keep ASN/ADN's around and sadly, neither are the currently employed ASNs. Sigh... wish we had more unions. I think ASN/ADN's should be prepared to meet and greet their future careers as that of a glorified LPN.

    edit: I'd not be surprised if in the distant future there became hospital imposed scope of practice limitations for an ASN/ADN.
    Last edit by libran1984 on Sep 16, '12 : Reason: additional thought
    SoFloRN likes this.
  8. 1
    Quote from turnforthenurseRN
    I don't think all internships require a BSN, it just depends on the hospital. I know someone who went through an ICU internship in my area and she has her ADN. Yes, it is unfortunate that with your previous degrees you do not have a BSN, but a BSN is what it is - a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. You do get your theory and research components that aren't offered in an ADN program, but you also may get some other clinical experiences as well. My BSN program did adult/gero med-surg in addition to OB, peds, public health, critical care, mental health & practicum (I was on a cardiac stepdown/vascular ICU for mine). Not all ADN programs offer those clinical opportunities and not all BSN programs are created equal, either - there are programs out there that don't offer critical care rotations.

    I do think getting your BSN is your most feasible option, as nursing is always all about furthering your education and a lot of hospitals nowadays are pushing for BSN-prepared nurses. Will you be doomed with just an ADN? No. Just look into your area and see what the hospitals are requiring. My hospital hires nurses with ADNs and they do not have to be enrolled in a BSN program, either.

    As for a BSN program, you could look into an accelerated option, which will allow you to get your degree faster than a traditional BSN program. Most unis offer an accelerated option that is available for individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in another field.
    The OP already has an ADN and is already working as an RN. I believe the accelerated option is just for people who don't already have their RN. The OP could just do a bridge program instead which with all of the credits from the previous degree would probably only take a year or so if that. Most ADN programs I know of have all of those clinical rotations btw. I don't know any RN-BSN programs that do all those clinical rotations. Most of the RN-BSN programs around here don't have a clinical component, and if they do it is something community or public health related. Traditional BSN programs for those not having their RN have those clinical rotations of course, but the poster already has their RN.

    To the OP: It really depends where you live. Around here the hospitals don't seem to care about the whole BSN/ADN debate. A lot of our ICU nurses only have their ADN, but it is all regional and the situation could be completely different in your area of the country. In the bigger metropolitan areas there is more competition and the BSN might be more preferred. Have you looked into bridge programs? With all the credits from your previous degree it might not take you very long to have your BSN. I'm currently in an ADN program, but I started out at a 4 year university and have a ton of credits from that, and when I finish with my ADN I will only need 4 or 5 classes for my BSN most of which I can take online. So it may be worth looking into.
    myschuler likes this.
  9. 5
    Quote from llg
    A lot depends on where you live and the hiring practices of the hospital where you want to work. My hospital would not hire you unless you were committed to enrolling in a BSN program. In other cities, the situation is different. You'll have to investigate the exact situation in your city to find out the current hiring conditions.
    This.^
    Seems like every time someone asks a variant of the "do I really need a BSN" question on AN it just opens up the argument again. Look at the openings in your area, talk to nurses that work in the facilities you are considering- see what the ADN/BSN mix is.
    joanna73, Dazglue, KelRN215, and 2 others like this.
  10. 3
    Do you absolutely need to have a BSN to have a successful nursing career? No.

    Does having a BSN help your chances of being hired as well as open up more career opportunities for you? Yes.

    As others have said, where you live plays a lot into it. See what the trends are in your area.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Sep 16, '12
    joanna73, BrandonLPN, and soxgirl2008 like this.
  11. 0
    I got into an RN residency program with an ADN. I did however have to sign a contract that I would return to school for a BSN within 5 years.
  12. 0
    I have a friend who had 2 masters before nursing school and got into a masters program @ Duke with an ADN. She is skipping the BSN entirely. I have and ADN and will eventually get my BSN, but am not interested in jumping right back into school. I, too have a previous BS and a Masters. I don't want an MSN, but know that if I want a job in the better hospitals here, I will need one. I just need to get through my first year post graduation. I am also working in a SNF, but in the rehab portion. I would like to eventually be cert ortho and/or rehab.
  13. 0
    At the university medical center where I work, they only hire baccalaureate nurses. There are plenty of older nurses who came in before this practice began but now, nearly everybody's got a BSN or an MSN.

    My prior two jobs had no such requirement, but they weren't very good places to work, either.


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