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Bsn programs are harder than Adn

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I currently co-enrolled in a ADN and BSN program and I am just amazed how much easier the BSN program is. I will take writing a paper over a 12 hr clinical/simulation. My experience with higher education has always been that it gets easier and harder. Its easier in the sense that you have a knowledge base and you are learning what you enjoy. It is harder because so much more is expected of you(even if you have crap instructors).

Hi all,

I have friends who are both in traditional adn and bsn nursing programs. The question came up about "which program is harder". As I told my friends who are in adn programs (who I hope are still my friends :sorry:) I just feel that bsn programs are harder.

Why? I totally understand that both programs have students who may hold a previous degree, worked in the medical field (or not), volunteer experience and so on. I also understand that academically, both groups of students will have their own strengths and weaknesses.

I know that adn and bsn program admission criteria can be different depending upon city/state/area. I am well aware both programs have clinicals, careplans/concept maps, exams, tests, quizzes, ati/hesi questions/prep that have to be completed/passed etc. Both groups sit for the same state boards.

HOWEVER: The amount of papers, projects, presentations, and research bsn programs are REQUIRED to do, goes well beyond what is required out of an adn program. Just think about it. In the adn program, you might have a paper or assignment on "professional ethics". Yeah ummmmm, but a bsn program will have that same topic, as a course for an entire semester.

NO: I am not saying bsn graduates are smarter than adn/diploma. Yes, I understand the additional classes are the difference between the two. I don't mean to offend anybody, but I just can't help but feel this way......

When my friends who are in adn programs complain about "how hard" and "how much work", they have to do, I assure them things will be okay. While on the inside I really want to say "Is it really?"......

Does anyone else feel this way?

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63 Posts; 3,879 Profile Views

I am in a BSN program and we do have alot of papers and other extra documentation/papers to write. However, I don't feel as if I am a better nurse than ADN nurses. I think alot of ADN programs are exceptional in the clinical settings. Some of my best teaching came from ADN nurses when I worked as a tech. They were more willing to explain in detail: the how's, why's, etc.... Not to say that the BSN's didn't have time....

I think both BSN/ADN programs have it hard and anyone who gets accepts, drops out, fails, completes, and obtains a BSN/ADN an even the RN NCLEX had a rough start to finish. Its not easy and I'm proud to say that I am following in the footsteps of some incredible people who care for the evolving profession of Nursing.

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24 Posts; 1,128 Profile Views

Interesting topic. I read a sampling of comments throughout the thread.

When I explored nursing programs in our area I noticed that the four ADN programs required between 36-39 credit hours of nursing courses and about 500 clinical hours. The BSN program I am in has 66 credit hours of nursing classes and almost 1,000 clinical hours. The other 3 BSN programs in our area are about the same in this respect.

The entrance requirements were much different. GPA in prerequisites, ACT/SAT scores, and nursing school admission test scores were all much higher for my BSN program than for the ADN programs among students accepted for the respective programs. That doesn't make a BSN program harder than an ADN program. It just means our program admitted students that obtained higher levels of academic success than those in ADN programs in our area.

In core areas like medical-surgical, obstetrics, pediatrics, mental health, etc it looks like the same ground is covered except that the BSN goes more in depth. That could just be we get more "extra" stuff and not just the "need to know" to pass NCLEX.

In our BSN program we do clinical rotations in medical-surgical, community health, mental health, geriatrics, obstetrics, pediatrics and critical care (ICU). Our last semester includes a 24 hour per week clinical rotation working with a preceptor in the hospital. Many students do their final semester clinical rotation in specialized critical care settings (i.e., Neuro, CV, Surgical, etc.). Most get hired by the hospitals for the unit where they do this clinical rotation after graduation.

We saw a number of ADN students doing clinicals during our medical-surgical rotation but now that we are doing clinicals in ICU settings we are not seeing them. The ADN programs, I am told, do not provide the theoretical knowledge necessary for the complexity of the specialized ICU setting. That may just be bias in the teaching/research hospitals where we do our clinical rotations. It is a possibility that the community college ADN programs just do their ICU clinicals in different hospitals than us.

I am glad I did the BSN program rather than the ADN program. Most hospitals in our area are getting the word out that in either 2016 or 2017 they will not be hiring ADN program graduates any longer. At least 2 of them have informed current ADN staff nurses that they have to complete RN-BSN bridge programs by 2017 to remain employed. Some are already stating in their hiring criteria that BSN programs are preferred over ADN programs. One of the major research hospitals in our area no longer considers graduates from ADN programs for employment. I have heard this has to do with hospitals getting higher reimbursement rates under the Affordable Care Act if they maintain a certain ratio of BSN prepared nurses on their staff.

I really don't think I'm any smarter than someone in an ADN program. They may be a far better nurse than I ever will be. In my mind one has to make the most of the opportunity before them. Nursing is nursing. Best practices are best practices. So someone from a good ADN program may be much better prepared than I am in my program.

In my area my BSN will open more doors to employment opportunities for me. In that respect I would say the BSN program is superior to an ADN program. I am 5 months away from graduation an am already being contacted by hospital recruiters.

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FlyingScot has 28 years experience as a RN and specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc.

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We saw a number of ADN students doing clinicals during our medical-surgical rotation but now that we are doing clinicals in ICU settings we are not seeing them. The ADN programs, I am told, do not provide the theoretical knowledge necessary for the complexity of the specialized ICU setting. That may just be bias in the teaching/research hospitals where we do our clinical rotations. It is a possibility that the community college ADN programs just do their ICU clinicals in different hospitals than us.

I very much like how you worded this paragraph. The bolded statement, however, is absolutely biased and incorrect although I realize this isn't your bias. Even my diploma program had an in-depth clinical rotation in the critical care areas. What is much more likely is that the critical care units, having a much smaller patient population, likely cannot support multiple schools at one time. There is no basis to believe that ADN programs are so deficient in critical care nursing concepts that their students cannot safely complete a clinical in an ICU setting. Thank you for not adding fuel to the fire. I think you have management in your future. ;)

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24 Posts; 1,128 Profile Views

What is much more likely is that the critical care units, having a much smaller patient population, likely cannot support multiple schools at one time.

So then, it just may be that ADN programs just don't get opportunities for ICU clinicals if they don't do them somewhere else. That is, they get bumped by BSN programs. I could see that happening in our area as most of the hospitals are moving toward the BSN has a hiring prerequisite. The catalogs of the ADN programs in my area that I looked at basically promised clinical experience in medical-surgical areas but said that clinical experience in specialty areas would be subject to availability.

I'm wondering if that is the experience of others.

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1,763 Posts; 20,601 Profile Views

Who cares. They both come out being able to give the same level of nursing care. When an ADN RN goes back to school for the ADN-BSN bridge program, they will get all those same assignments.

Maybe in the future you could try, oh I don't know, supporting your friends instead of competing with them. How old are you?

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24 Posts; 1,128 Profile Views

Maybe in the future you could try, oh I don't know, supporting your friends instead of competing with them. How old are you?

I guess I'm not sure where you are getting the idea I'm competing with anyone from my posts. In fact, in my first post I stated that probably some ADN students will end up being far better nurses than I will ever be.

The original post in this thread stated that BSN programs are harder than ADN programs. My goal was to share my observations regarding the differences in the programs. I don't think one program is harder than another. The BSN program is just longer than the ADN program and covers more ground. There may also be clinical opportunities available to BSN students that are not available to ADN students.

I was going to do the ADN route because it was a much cheaper option and it was easier to get admitted to a program in my area. I started looking at BSN programs when I learned that the majority of hospitals in my metro region wouldn't be hiring ADN graduates anymore beginning in 2016 or 2017 and were requiring ADN staff nurses to complete a RN-BSN bridge program to remain employed.

I am 50 years old and this is my second career. I wanted to make sure I really did my research before jumping into a program. For me that top issue is employment after graduation.

I think everyone should care about the direction hospitals are moving. If it is true that hospitals are getting higher reimbursement rates for having higher levels of BSN prepared nurses then it is going to matter to ADN prepared nurses when looking for a job after graduation. The same thing applies if it true that hospitals seeking magnet status are being pressured to have higher levels of BSN prepared nurses. Hospitals are trying to cut costs right now. Why provide tuition reimbursement for a nurse to do a RN-BSN bridge program when they can hire a BSN prepared nurse right from the beginning? It is a safer investment to hire a nurse who already has a BSN from the hospital's perspective. We can disagree all we want but we aren't the ones doing the hiring.

I am sure that ADN nursing students will make excellent nurses. There are probably many who would do much better than I in a BSN program but don't have the opportunity. It is sad to me that someone might invest so much in gaining a nursing career only to be caught up in the rapid change in the healthcare industry. It is even sadder if all those changes happen around them but they are so focused on getting through their program that they miss the bigger picture.

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194 Posts; 3,789 Profile Views

Wow very subjective. My adn program is MUCH harder than any other adn or bsn program in my area, plus we have much more paperwork than any other bsn/adn program. Which is very well known by every nursing student in my area. Whereas the other adn programs in the area may be easier than the bsn ones.

Plus most people that get an adn continue on to get their bachelors...so point irrelevant. In the end we all sit for the same boards, and apply to the same positions. Sounds like you have a big ego and look down on your adn friends. Adn programs are hard, they aren't lying.

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24 Posts; 1,128 Profile Views

Wow very subjective. My adn program is MUCH harder than any other adn or bsn program in my area, plus we have much more paperwork than any other bsn/adn program. Which is very well known by every nursing student in my area. Whereas the other adn programs in the area may be easier than the bsn ones.

Plus most people that get an adn continue on to get their bachelors...so point irrelevant. In the end we all sit for the same boards, and apply to the same positions. Sounds like you have a big ego and look down on your adn friends. Adn programs are hard, they aren't lying.

Are you addressing the original poster or someone else in this thread?

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194 Posts; 3,789 Profile Views

Are you addressing the original poster or someone else in this thread?

OP. Didn't read much of the comments.

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jayjaybsnrn has 8 years experience as a MSN, APRN and specializes in Nephrology.

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Did somebody think that a higher education is easier? Really? Try doctorate also it might be easier than ADN.

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