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Difference between BSN and Associate degree

There are different levels of registered nurses basing on their level of education. Starting from diploma nurses, technical nurses (ADN), professional (BSN) up to the master degree nurses and PhD nurses. Both Bachelors’ of Science Nursing (BSN) and Associate Nursing Degree (ADN) graduates are trained to work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities as registered nurses following successful completion of National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). However, there are a number of distinctive differences between the two courses despite the similarity in their functions. This article will explore the differences in the training program and its effect on the provision of care as a nurse.

BSN is a four-year degree program offered by accredited universities while ADN is a two-year program that can be offered by community colleges. Admission requirements into a BSN degree program are more stringent as compared to requirements for admission into an ADN program. According to Artkins (2009), nurses play a key role in monitoring patient progress and adverse reactions. He argues that since other health care providers like physicians, social workers, and occupational therapists, have a minimum of a bachelor degree, a nurse without a bachelor degree will be less educated for the responsibilities in the profession.

Unlike the ADN program, the focus of the curriculum in BSN programs is not only on nursing care, but also extends to research, healthcare finance, management, and math among other disciplines. The BSN degree program prepares the graduate for critical care, and a more professional role not necessarily at the bedside. The ADN program entails more clinical hours than the BSN program. It is a technical program that focuses on clinical aspects of nursing and patient care without the other additional courses. For this reason, Artkins (2009) suggests that graduates with an ADN may appear more knowledgeable in provision of care than their BSN counterparts.

A graduate with a bachelors of science nursing has a better option of specialization to professions like medicine, veterinary science, and law, or obtaining a PhD. The program has a wide scope in terms of coursework and sufficiently prepares the graduate to specialize later. In pursuit of special status such as magnet, many hospitals tend to favor BSN graduates for employment as compared to ADN graduates. Thus, one is likely to have a better chance at employment with BSN training.

In conclusion, an associate degree nurse is just as competent as the one with a bachelor of nursing degree. It is highly unlikely that there will be a difference in their performance as they all have the required training for the job. ADN graduates achieve the objective of becoming a nurse within a shorter period and at a lesser cost than BSN graduates. However, BSN graduates have greater chances of advancing in their careers or entering advanced degree programs, partly due to the additional skills and because of the public perception of the program as more professional.