Last Updated: January 24, 2021
Nursing Degree/RN to BSN Degree
A nursing degree in the US can include professional careers in a wide number of specialties. There may be different types of nurses, including Licensed Practical Nurses or Licensed Vocational Nurses, Registered Nurses and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.
The path from RN to BSN can take many different routes. Some students prefer to work while studying while others want to focus solely on studying. It all depends upon the time and money, one wants to invest.
Working while studying
Working in the nursing field while studying is an option chosen by most nursing students. Following are the points to be considered when choosing this option:
- Working while studying gives the students financial stability, to be able to earn while studying
- The practical experience that comes with working in the nursing field is very important for career growth
- Most hospitals and organizations will pay in part or full for the academic courses taken by their employees
- The amount of time taken to complete a course is more as compared to full-time courses
- The pace of the course taken is not fast and hence less stressful
- The practical training needed can sometimes be completed in the facility that the student is working in
While most of the students choose to work while studying, yet others choose to finish their academic course before pursuing their career. Key points to keep in mind when choosing this option:
- The time taken to complete the course is less since the student can take on more courses at a time
- The focus is on academics only, hence better performance
- Option to pursue accelerated courses which help earn higher degrees faster
- Some top colleges require students to not work while studying
- The student misses out on the practical knowledge and has to spend time after completion of the course to obtain the required training experience for the license
Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurse
Used interchangeably, LPN and LVN are two different terms for the same role. They obtain a license for professional work following a training period of eighteen months to two years in the fields of physiology, anatomy, medication, and also practical patient health care. In order to obtain the license, they must clear the NCLEX-PN. It is a national exam but it is administered at the state level, which is to say that the requirements for a candidate to take the exam vary from state to state. While some states would allow a candidate with nursing work experience to take the exam, others would require them to finish a state-approved course first. The role of an LPN is to operate under a physician or a Registered Nurse. Some of the duties of a Licensed Practical Nurse may include:
- Administration of medications
- Checking patient's vitals
- Keeping and maintaining patient records
- Maintaining patient isolation and also sterile conditions
- Administration of basic health care under the guidance of RN
Registered nurses (RN)
RN are certified professional nurses who supervise the working of licensed practical nurses and assist doctors. They provide basic health care to patients. In order to be a Registered Nurse, an individual must have a diploma in nursing or an associate in nursing degree from a state-approved program. Then they have to pass the NCLEX-RN exam to get the RN license.
RN is considered to be the largest occupation related to health care in the US. It is estimated that there are about 2.7 million Registered Nurses employed in the US.
Going from RN to BSN
Most of the RNs have an associate's degree in nursing. This is a great first step in entering the nursing field. An ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) is a two-year course. After earning ADN, many students opt to work as a nurse to gain practical experience and earn their RN license. Earning a BSN is the next step to advance their career.
Why earn a BSN?
The benefits of earning a BSN are many, although with or without the BSN, the RNs
- have the same designation
- pass the same license
- work in the same environment and setting
- at the beginning of the career have essentially the same duties.
A BSN is typically an undergrad program with a four-year program. It includes theoretical knowledge coupled with clinical training. Registered Nurses can bridge the gap between their ADN and BSN by taking a bridge program that can help them earn their BSN in as little as 1 year.
Advantages of earning a BSN include:
- More responsibility compared to RNs with just ADN
- Better salary
- Better job opportunities
- Training and educating the RNs that don't have BSN
- A step forward towards earning advanced nursing degrees like MSN and DNP
- Opportunity to delve into health care research
- Opportunity to undertake leadership and management roles
The bridge programs are a great way to go from RN to BSN degrees. There are both - online courses offered by many universities as well as on-site courses which can help Registered Nurses attain this degree.
Online BSN degree
can be typically earned in 3 years with the clinical hours to be completed at a clinical setting. An online accelerated RN to BSN program can be completed in as little as 1 year. There may be a requirement to work as an RN during the duration of the course.
On-campus BSN degree
is normally a 4-year course with the clinical experience provided by the university in a clinical setting, they have a collaboration with. An accelerated RN to BSN program can be completed in as little as 2 years.
The RN to BSN degree offers registered nurses an opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree, along with a number of nursing credit hours. Some of the typical knowledge areas that are covered in this program, among many others, include:
- Advanced theory in nursing
- Assessment of community health
- Nursing based on the population
- Translation of research in nursing to practice based on evidence
- Leadership in nursing
- Health perspectives in the global world
- Lifespan development in nursing
One of the most important things to consider while earning an ADN is to make sure that the courses being taken are from a nationally accredited university. It is imperative that the school is accredited, to be able to transfer credits for the higher-level educational program later on; be eligible for scholarships and financial aids, and meet state requirements to earn RN license. ADN course covers nursing skills along with a core curriculum. Included also are more than 700 hours of clinical practice. To check if a school is nationally accredited, go to the American Commission on Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
Usually, a student earns 65-75 credits upon completion of an ADN degree.
An RN with an ADN degree who enrolls into BSN should also take into consideration the accreditation of the school he/she is enrolling in along with the recognition of the program being enrolled in.
Upon completion of the BSN course, they will earn around 120 credits.
How much does a BSN earn?
The salary of an RN depends upon many factors, including but not limited to:
- the setting - hospital, community center, doctor's office
- the state
- clinical experience
- degree(s) earned
There are a number of factors to consider to estimate the salary of the RN. An RN with an associate's degree and an RN with a BSN degree will essentially earn the same salary at the beginning of their career in the same setting, but a BSN will have more opportunities since some hospitals prefer a bachelor's degree for some roles. Also, an RN with a BSN will experience career advancement must faster as compared to an RN with an ADN.
Average salary of RN with ADN - $75,000
Average salary of RN with BSN - $95,000
RN to BSN Tuition
The duration of the accelerated course depends upon the prior credits accumulated.
Depending upon how long it takes for the RN to complete the BSN degree, the average tuition per semester is $950.
Though this means an additional investment of time and money, the return on investment is worth it, as it provides for better job opportunities and a certainty in career advancement.
Benefits of RN to BSN
The RN to BSN degree offers a number of benefits. It can improve the skills and knowledge of a nurse and the bachelor's degree can open up many job opportunities and guarantees development in the career. It is a known fact that the salaries of a BSN professional as compared to ADN professional nurses are significantly higher.