General Question

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

What is the point of the RN to BSN programs?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7857 points ) November 19th, 2012

I know that you need at least an Associate’s to become an RN (but it’s likely you won’t get hired with all the BSNs in the field?).
Why wouldn’t you go for a BSN right off the bat when becoming a nurse instead of waiting to become an RN w/ an Associate’s?
Is there a benefit to waiting to get a Bachelor’s?

Also, how long does an RN to BSN program take? I’ve looked on a bunch of different schools’ websites, and it doesn’t give you a time frame.

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14 Answers

livelaughlove21's avatar

If you’re an RN, you’re an RN, regardless of the degree. At 4-year universities there is often no option to get anything but a BSN. At the technical school in my town, new RNs with their Associates get hired before BSN students do because the program is more intense, difficult to pass, and with better clinical rotations. Graduates of that program tend to be better prepared for the real world than those graduating from a large university where there’s very little 1-on-1 instruction. I can’t speak for other schools, but this us true where I’m from.

Another plus side to getting an Associates is that it’s generally the same pay in less time. You pay less for school, get out sooner, and make the same salary. Many never get their BSN, because they’re happy where they are and there’s no need for it.

RN to BSN programs are usually around 18 months. They’re great for nurses who want to get an advanced degree and become an NP or a CRNA.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Thanks for the info!
Where are you from, BTW? Just curious. I’m in New York and I’m betting that it’s an incredibly competitive field here, but I could be wrong.
I didn’t know that the ASN course is more intense. Would the BSN program be more spread out but basically the same info?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Aesthetic_Mess I’m from the Columbia, South Carolina area. Like I said, I can only speak from my own experience (I started off in nursing school) regarding the intensity of the programs. The technical school I’m referring to is the only school in the area that offers an ASN program so I’m not sure if they’re all more intense than BSN tracks or if it’s just this particular program that has such a good reputation. When I switched my major, I transferred to the University of South Carolina and, from what I see, the nursing program there seems to be a cream puff version of the one I was in. You’d think it would be the same information, and perhaps it is, but my theory is that it’s all in the clinical rotations. The technical school accepts less students into the program at a time (and has a 2 year waiting list), so the smaller class sizes allow the students more opportunity to practice skills at the hospital. In my clinical courses, it was 7 students per instructor, so we got every injection, catheter removal, dressing change, etc and the nurses on the unit would come and find us when a skill like that could be done. Clinicals are very different at USC, and the nursing students seem to be doing a lot of sitting around and waiting. Also, if a student can learn the same information in 2 years (theoretically) as others learn in 4, it might be assumed that they catch on faster and can handle more at once. These are good traits to have in the nursing field.

Things might be very different in NYC though. I’d ask around to be sure.

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Cupcake's avatar

I believe a few friends of mine went the ASN route because of the multi-year waiting lists for BSN programs (this was years ago).

hearkat's avatar

People I know have to work through school, so they get the lower degrees sooner so they can work and earn more while continuing their schooling for the higher degrees and certifications. Nursing is one of the few careers where that is a viable option.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@hearkat I’m not so sure about that with nursing. If you’re becoming an RN in 2 years instead of 4, you’d have LESS time to work. In the program I was a part of, working during your clinical rotation was nearly impossible. It took up so much time that we barely had time to eat, let alone work. But I know a few nursi g students getting their BSN that hold jobs fairly easily.

I mean, if one was getting an Associates in Business instead of a Bachelors, the track contains less material and isn’t as difficult, so yes, working a job on the side would be easier. However, RNs are expected to all know the same material, regardless if how many years they’re in school. They all take the same NCLEX exam in the end.

blueknight73's avatar

I know for a fact, the hospitals is the Cincinnati Ohio area are making all the nurses with a two year degree go back and get a bachelor degree in nursing.

Penycat's avatar

Yes, in my area too there is a medical school/ hospital that is requiring all RNs already hired with an associates degree to return to school for their BSN and are no longer hiring associate RNs or LPNs.
A lot of magnet status hospitals focus on growing education requiring BSN RNs.
It really depends where you are and what is required.

hearkat's avatar

@livelaughlive21: But an Associates in Business doesn’t get you a job – even a Bachelor’s in Business isn’t much… most companies want an MBA.

As an RN you can work part time, or per diem, or 3 12-hour days, there’s a lot more flexibility in an industry that needs coverage 24-hours a day.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@hearkat Business was just an example. And I was under the assumption we were talking about having time to work while still in school. My bad if that’s not what you meant. But the nurses I know don’t have time for anything, as many of them start in night shift and their entire schedule gets screwed up. There’s nothing easy about nursing, in school or on the job.

hearkat's avatar

I was talking about working while advancing one’s education. Obviously, work or school would have to be part time; but very few professions allow you to get a well-paying job with just an Associate’s. My field was Master’s-level 20 years ago when I graduated. Now the entry-level is a Doctorate… you can’t work your way through the degree with a job in that field.

I’ve worked in health care for 20 years and know Nurse’s who started with LPN, then RN, and on up if they wanted to further specialize. Our practice has MAs who are going to Nursing school… the lower degrees form a nice foundation to build on. Again, there’s very few professions that have such tiers.

And I completely agree… there is nothing easy about Nursing. Too often I’ve seen people who choose it because of the flexibility and good salary, and not because they genuinely wanted to be a Nurse. There is a particular set of personality traits that are better-suited for those first-responder-type careers.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@hearkat I was one of those people. After 2 miserable clinical rotations, I finally realized choosing a career based solely on salary isn’t very smart. I’m simply not compassionate enough to spend my life caring for sick people. I should’ve realized this after the first time I changed an adult diaper. Oh well.

Seaofclouds's avatar

The RN to BSN program is a great way for RN’s with an Associate’s degree to further their education. This is important for a lot of reasons. One reason is because a lot more hospitals are switching to using BSN nurses instead of ADN nurses. Another reason is because obtaining your BSN will allow you the option of going even further with your career (management) and nursing education (MSN or DNP/PhD).

I’m a bit biased, but in my experience, the nurses that started out with their Associates seemed to have a stronger clinical basis compared to those in a traditional BSN program. I think this is because of the differences in the curriculum (at least in the area I got my ADN). The ADN programs are very clinical based. The additional information necessary to complete a BSN is focused more on other areas, such as leadership, research, and community health.

I went to my community college (in Delaware) and completed my ADN. In their nursing program, after you completed your first year of clinicals, you were awarded a diploma in nursing and allowed to take the licensing exam to become a LPN. Then you continued on for your second year of clinicals and were awarded your ADN and the ability to take the licensing exam to become a RN.

I worked full time through my whole nursing program. In the beginning, I was working at a local grocery store, then once I completed my first year of clinicals, I got a job as a LPN. Once I finished my ADN, I stayed at my job as a LPN and just started working as a RN.

A few years later, I entered into a RN to BSN program. The program I was in was mostly online (there were a few things that had to be done in person). It took me about a year and a half to finish, but I didn’t take a full course load one semester because of moving. I could have completed it in a year if I took more classes. Now I am looking into MSN programs and trying to figure out what direction I want to take next in my nursing career.

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