Difference between ADN and BSN

  1. Hi All,

    So I'm thinking of a career change from Finance to Nursing and am researching the difference between ADN and BSN. The trend seems to be towards getting a BSN for the pure purpose of getting higher pay or to open the door to more job opportunities.

    What I would like to know is how do the two courses differ in terms of course subjects? Does one focus more on a certain area then the other or do they both cover the same areas? Is ADN supposed to be the first 2 years of a BSN?

    Also, how much of each type of course (as a %) delves into biological sciences? I was never very good at biology in high school, so does this mean that nursing will be a hard course for me to do? What nursing jobs require more technical knowledge then others?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!
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    About sanbot

    Joined: Sep '12; Posts: 5


  3. by   zoe92
    I do not know about the specific schools in your area, but what I write is from the schools I have looked into in my region. ADN is 2-3 year program with pre requisites and then nursing courses. It is usually completed at a community college/tech school and more affordable, as well as quicker. BSN is a 4-5 year program with the same bio pre reqs (usually), although some may or may not have one extra science class, such as chemistry or nutrition. There are more liberal arts courses for a BSN, so you take more than the standard english, math, sociology, and psychology. Also, usually a BSN has a couple more nursing courses than an ADN. Both are clinical heavy, but BSN is a lot about theory too. Because the program is longer, you are able to take these "theory" nursing classes. One BSN program I am looking at has you take one nursing research course as well as 2 nursing electives. The ADN program at my current community college does not offer that in their program because their program is shorter. I am still taking pre reqs, but I have read that actual nursing school is not just the memorization of information (like anatomy is), but rather how you apply what you have learned. I have never enjoyed biology, but have found my pre reqs fascinating. I have taken basic bio, microbiology, nutrition, chemistry, and now anatomy. With the exception of chemistry, I have enjoyed all. Do NOT rule yourself out because you do not think you will do well in biology. I did that and wasted time/money for one year pursuing a different major that I did not enjoy.
  4. by   alex1987
    An ADN program is not the first 2 years of a BSN. Actually, both programs usually last 2 years taking almost the same courses, the major difference between them (at least in my area) is that the BSN requires you to take a few more theory/leadership courses than the ADN program.
    Only after you've been acepted in nursing school and completed those 2 years of upper-division courses is when you're eligible to take the NCLEX and become an RN.
    Both programs require you to complete pre-requisite classes before you can apply to a nursing program and start taking nursing classes. The major difference between both of them is that pre-reqs for an ADN program should take you just one year to complete (if you take 12+ credits each semester and go to school during summer session) while pre-reqs for a BSN program are probably going to take you at least 2 years to complete instead of 1. Pre-reqs are almost always the same (A&P 1 and 2, Micro, English, Psych, Sociology, etc) but a BSN program also requires you to take a lot more of gen ed courses such as governent, history, and they also require extra science courses such as chemistry, nutrition and other courses such as statistics, elective, etc. You need to have all of those in order to be able to graduate from a 4-year university with a Bachelors degree while in the community college (ADN) you only take the pre-reqs needed to start the nursing program and that's all you need to do.

    If you go the ADN route, graduate, get your RN license and complete all the extra pre-reqs needed for a BSN in your area you can enroll in a bridge RN-BSN program. That kind of programs usually last for 1 year and you can complete it online while you're working as an RN if you want to. During that year you're suppose to complete those extra classes that you were not required to take while finishing the ADN program.
  5. by   sanbot
    zoe, thx for the encouragement.
    alex, kind of confused about the pre req subjects? Are they subjects that need to be done at the college/university you apply for before you start the nursing course? How do you enroll in these subjects? Does this mean that all up an ADN would actually be 3 years and the BSN would be 5 years? Are pre req subjects compulsory at all colleges/universities?
  6. by   zoe92
    Sanbot, you can take pre reqs anywhere but the nursing school you look at will usually have a list of courses you have to have completed before you can start nursing courses. You can go to a community college to start pre reqs. Just make those courses will transfer if you decide to apply to another schools nursing program or if you do the cc's program that these courses are the required ones. Every school's time length is different so the amount of time it takes you depends on the required courses and how many you take each semester. Every program has some sort of pre req, sometimes one and sometimes many more.