A career as a registered nurse, or RN, is one of the most promising careers, at least in the next decade. The U.S. Labor of Statistics estimated that the demand for RNs through 2018 will grow by as much as 22%. In addition to a viable career, RNs are offered higher compensations, competitive benefits and more opportunities for career advancements. For any RN who wants to advance his or her scope of practice or achieve more professional growth in the field of management, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, degree is a positive move.
There are many discussions about the differences between an RN and BSN. How are these 2 related or different from each other? A registered nurse is a nurse who completed a diploma, an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree in nursing and has successfully passed the examinations administered by the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse, or NCLEX-RN. The BSN is only 3 of the major educational pathways to registered nursing.
Each nursing education program prepares a nurse to a certain entry point. A BSN is the entry-level for professional nursing practice, an associate degree is the entry point for technical nursing practice and a nursing diploma prepares nurses to work in hospital or inpatient facilities. Although these 3 educational paths lead to a registered nurse certification, not all RNs have the same job description, responsibilities and scope of practice in work settings. Likewise, each degree offers different opportunities during practice. Overall, the advancement opportunities are more limited for RNs with associate degrees or diplomas compared to RNs with BSN. An RN with a baccalaureate degree has a higher income and has greater opportunities in the fields of administration, management, research and education.
A registered nurse desiring to acquire a BSN degree may enroll in an accredited RN-to-BSN online program offered by a nursing school, college or university. Many institutions are offering online RN-to- BSN programs for RNs who are working full-time with the desire of attaining career advancements or specializations in the future. If continuously worked on, an RN-to-BSN online program can be completed within 2 years. Some institutions offer accelerated options, which allow students to obtain their BSN degrees within 1 to 1.5 years.
In general, an RN is eligible for admission in an online RN-to-BSN program if he or she is a registered nurse with a current, active and unencumbered RN license. An applicant should be a graduate of an associate degree or a diploma in nursing, as verified by an official transcript. Each institution has its own set of requirements for admission, such as GPA requirements and transfer credits, so it is best to contact the schools being considered for specific requirements. The pre-requisite coursework may also vary but in most programs, completion in general subjects and courses in nursing research, nurse management and leadership and professional nursing are required. In certain cases, a nurse who has a substantial work experience or has continuing education courses may be granted course credits for a BSN degree.