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The Differences Among Us: ADN vs. BSN

The Differences Among Us: ADN vs. BSN
Having worked with hundreds of registered nurses throughout my ten year career, it is not usually very easy to determine if the nurse next to me graduated with an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. Whether working with a charge nurse, staff nurse or even a case manager, the differences are minor, and only upon further inspection realized. Both types of nurses are qualified and excel at their jobs, but the BSN nurse has the extra training and critical thinking skills needed, not only for their current station in life, but also their future and growth in the field. First I will be discussing why there are so many more ADN nurses in relation to BSN nurses. Secondly, a discussion of why there is a major push towards BSN prepared nurses. Last, a look into the differences I have noticed in my own nursing career between the ADN nurse and the BSN nurse.
Not long ago, the primary degree in nursing was a hospital diploma. This was the standard way to becoming a nurse. As recently as the mid-1980’s, half of the country’s registered nurses had started that way. By that time though, community colleges and the associate’s degree of nursing was beginning to take over (Perez-Pena, 2012, para. 4). Although many four year programs existed, this was the quickest and easiest way for a student to obtain a nursing degree. This quicker program appealed especially to the workforce that were going back to school to earn a second degree, and to the mothers that were going back to school later in life, after having raised their families first. According to the 2008 HRSA National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses, there are 3.1 million RN’s in the United States, of which 2.7 million are employed. Of those total RN’s, fifty percent either hold an ADN or a diploma as their highest degree (Sportsman,...

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