It’s a question that many aspiring nurses often deal with: What exactly is the difference between a BSN and an RN? To put it simply, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a degree that can help you succeed as a registered nurse (RN). Understanding the difference between the BSN degree and the RN job title is critical — especially for those who are considering pursuing a nursing degree or starting their nursing career path — as earning a BSN can aid up-and-coming nurses in achieving their professional goals.
While a BSN is not required for employment as an RN, earning a BSN can help an RN to stand out from other candidates because BSN programs teach students critical skills and techniques that can be used in a wide variety of nursing roles. By understanding the relationship and difference between a BSN and RN, an aspiring nurse will have the necessary information required to choose the best course of action for professional progression.
Understanding the Educational Requirements for Becoming an RN
Even with the steadily growing demand for registered nurses in today’s healthcare industry, candidates without any formal nursing education cannot legally qualify for registered nursing positions. While healthcare aide and nursing assistant positions could be held by professionals with limited nursing expertise, the role of a registered nurse is available only to individuals with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) who pass the NCLEX exam and earn an official RN license from their state. The difference between an RN with a BSN and an RN without one is apparent. After completing BSN coursework, an RN should have a stronger comprehension of nursing theory, human biology and psychology, and care techniques. As with any professional field, this higher level of education can qualify nurses to take on more workplace responsibilities, thereby allowing them to accelerate into more lucrative positions.
You Do Not Need an RN to Pursue a BSN
There may be some confusion about whether there is a correct order nurses should follow when pursuing higher education and nursing licensure. Rather than viewing this process as linear, prospective nurses should instead try to recognize it as one congruent path. While having prior experience as a registered nurse may offer BSN students professional experiences they can draw upon to excel in their studies, possessing experience as a registered nurse is not a necessary step toward pursuing a BSN.
With this in mind, aspiring nursing professionals should not feel pressured into completing their ADN and starting work as a registered nurse as soon as possible. If, after reviewing their personal circumstances, they find that they have the time and financial flexibility necessary to complete a BSN program, they should consider doing so. Spending the additional time to earn a BSN can be worthwhile, because when BSN program graduates enter the field, they are usually better prepared to begin work in the healthcare setting of their choice.
Earning a BSN Can Better Prepare You for a Nursing Career
There is no question that completing a BSN program will expose nursing professionals to subjects that enhance their ability to provide quality patient care. While a bachelor’s degree program does not always offer students the same hands-on skills they could learn through years of clinical practice, BSN programs are designed to provide in-depth knowledge of evidence-based healthcare processes. Therefore, nurses should stay abreast of the real-world benefits that stem from completing a BSN program.
Because the primary objective of healthcare facilities is to ensure positive patient outcomes, senior nurse leaders are likely to recognize BSN graduates as potentially being more capable than other, less educated candidates. Consequently, BSN degree holders may have more flexibility in the job market because of their higher proficiencies in basic nursing skills. This is a valuable advantage, as some individuals may wish to transition to a position that allows them to treat a specific category of patients in a healthcare environment that suits their personal preferences.
With the right educational resources, dedicated RNs can accomplish their professional goals. By completing an RN to BSN program, you can expand your overall mastery of nursing, enabling you to more effectively protect patient populations from adverse health outcomes. This can be rewarding both personally and professionally, so it is important to thoroughly educate yourself about the benefits of earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Now that you better understand the differences of an RN and a BSN, discover the potential career opportunities for nurses.