Opinion: ADN vs. BSN Programs


Hi! I am a current pre-nursing student. I was headed to a BSN program and heard about the ADN program. I am interested in specializing once in the nurse business-I just am interested in finishing school quicker! What do you current nurses advise on this?? I want to be marketable and be able to get a job after graduating school (am located in Kansas). I have noticed there is no pay difference also. So....any thoughts you'd share with me from observations or experience??

Thanks! ;)

suzanne4, RN

26,410 Posts

Please do a search here on this forum, this topic has already been discussed hundreds of times. Whether you go thru a Diploma program, the ADN, or the BSN programs, you still sit for and take the same NCLEX-RN exam in the end. It will depend on what you wish to do later on.

Fun2, BSN, RN

5,586 Posts

Specializes in Operating Room.

*Both take and both must pass the same NCLEX.

*In most cases, there isn't much of a pay difference, if any.

*Either way, you are a nurse.

*BSN is required, in most cases, for management posititions/research/etc.

*BSN is required for MSN/FNP/PHD.

I would recommend getting the BSN if you have the time, and the funds are available.

I have a scholarship for an ADN, and that's the only reason why I am going that route. However, because I started out in 1991 to get my BSN, I have almost all of the pre-reqs for the BSN completed.

Therefore, I will only need to take a couple of classes after I get my ADN, and then apply to a local RN-BSN bridge program. (That's an extra 2 semesters full-time, but I'd probably go part-time while working.)

So, in the long run, you save time by going straight for your BSN. Both program's actual nursing courses are 2 years. Yes, you spend 2-3 years on pre-reqs for the BSN, but it could be 2-3 years before finishing pre-reqs and actually getting accepted into an ADN program.

Some have 2+ year waiting list, some you have to have a 4.0 to get in, some even 4.0 students get turned away because of a lack of seats. ADN is extremely hard to get into.

So, with this, decide what is best for you, and good luck with your decision.

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,005 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

Honestly, by the time you finish the pre-nursing stage, both the BSN courses that remain and the ADN courses that remain will take you about the same amount of time, all things (like waiting lists) being equal.

ADN RN's have no trouble marketing themselves and have a wide variety jobs open to them. BSN nurses are more marketable in "BSN preferred" jobs (which usually require some floor experience) such as management, research, pharmaceuatical, case management, public health, etc. etc. etc.

I would get the BSN if you have the opportunity.

Good luck.

Even though it's been discussed ad nauseum if you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience.

I went the ADN route mostly because there were no BSN programs close to where I lived. It took me another 9 years to get my BSN. I ended up having to take A&P over and also having to take a number of other classes that were required by the university to get my BSN. The university I ended up in also had a very odd way of granting credit for the ADN nursing classes I had taken. It wasn't good enough that I had gone through nursing school and had a valid RN license. It was one headache after another just getting into and through the BSN program.

You can specialize as an ADN unless you go into a very narrowed field that requires a master's degree and advanced study. I have never gotten much more in pay as a BSN when I've been hired to do RN work. The difference has always been that as a BSN I will be promoted into supervision and managment very quickly since BSN programs tend to focus more on those leadership aspects than ADN programs do. Also, many employers know that any person who has earned a bachelor's degree in just about any subject has been put their their paces and are able to read, write and understand instructions. Most bachelor degree prepared people will often be more than happy to tell you about all the term papers they had to research and write. This is usually a landmark of 4-year graduates. AA students will have to do this as well, but not to the extent that bachelor degrees do.

If you just want to be a clinical RN, go ADN. If you want to say you graduated and finished college, go BSN. Do a little job research in the area where you live as well. Some cities of the country are so flooded with RNs that the hospitals can be picky enough to hire only BSNs if they so desire which is something that was going on in one city where I lived. I have heard this is happening in some other places as well. In those cities this relagates the ADN students to positions in the nursing homes as the hospitals won't consider them for employment. Acute hospital nurses do make a much higher wage than any other RN jobs out there.

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