Comparison of Nursing Degrees Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Nursing Degrees


The ADN vs. The BSN:

A comparison of both nursing degrees

Students wishing to enter the profession of nursing are often faced with two clear choices: that of an ADN (associate degree in nursing) and a BSN (Bachelor of Science nursing degree). An ADN generally takes two years and is often offered by a community college or state school. As a result, it is substantially cheaper than a four-year BSN. Obtaining an ADN still allows a nurse to sit for the NCLEX-RN. "The coursework of an associate's degree in nursing covers the following general subjects: fundamentals of nursing, infection control, nutrition and dietetics, basic microbiology, basic medical nursing, pediatric nursing, and more" ("What you need to know," 2014). It should be noted that an ADN does not have to be a terminal degree and there are ADN 'bridge' programs that allow practicing nurses currently possessing a ADN to go on to obtain their bachelor's. Getting an ADN first may enable a nurse to determine if nursing is truly 'for her' before making the financial commitment.

For career-changers leery of taking on more debt on top of the undergraduate debt they already possess, the cheaper price tag of the associate degree can be important. For individuals who wish to continue working while pursuing their degree, online programs exist to enable the nurse to take classes part-time while still fulfilling their existing work and family obligations. "Online ADN degree programs are a new set of additions to the associate degree program, designed for students with previous time commitments to take the program at a part-time basis" ("What you need to know," 2014).

However, as the job market becomes more competitive, more and more nurses are looking to complete a BSN. The starting salary for nurses with both degrees is often the same but a BSN may be selected over an ADN in a competitive job market. BSNs generally have greater promotional possibilities ("ADN vs. BSN," 2014). A BSN is prepared to enter an advanced degree program (nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist) immediately while an ADN would need to obtain a BSN first. "Chief nurse officers (CNO) in university hospitals prefer to hire nurses who have baccalaureate degrees, In a 2001 survey published in the Journal of Nursing Administration, 72% of these directors identified differences in practice between BSN-prepared nurses and those who have an associate degree or hospital diploma, citing stronger critical thinking and leadership skills'" ("The impact of education," 2014).

Evidence-based medicine seems to support the need for more advanced education for nurses. A report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80%…

Sources Used in Document:


ADN vs. BSN: Which should you choose? (2014). Monster. Retrieved from:

The future of the associate degree in nursing program. (2014). Nursing Licensure.

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