How a BS in Nursing Program Differs from an AD in Nursing Program

Both bachelor and associate degree programs can lead to becoming an RN, but the two have significant differences. While an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program primarily focuses on clinical skills, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program educates the nurse in evidence based practice, leadership skills and community/population health.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, BS in Nursing programs include all of the foundational course work taught in ADN programs, but the similarities stop there. Baccalaureate programs dive deeper into the physical and social sciences, and include coursework on nursing research, nursing management and public and community health, among others. This additional coursework and training strengthens professional development and prepares the nursing professional to practice in an ever-changing healthcare industry.

Evidence-based practice

For nurses with an associate degree, RN to BS in Nursing programs offer a way to further one's education by building on clinical knowledge. One important area in which students in an RN to BS in Nursing program are immersed is evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice is defined by the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses as an approach to clinical practice and administrative issues that focuses on problem solving. By using the most relevant evidence and one's own clinical experience and by taking into account the patient's values and preferences, a nursing professional can make better decisions about patient care.

Becoming a leader

When students enroll in an RN to BS in Nursing  program, they are beginning a journey to becoming leader in their field. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing asserts that the nurse educated in an RN to BS in Nursing program will have a better understanding of the cultural, economic, social and political issues that patients face and that affect healthcare delivery. Nurses educated in such programs understand health promotion, and can work to help communities and populations increase control over and improve their health.

Call for more BS in Nursing nurses

A BS in Nursing can make a nurse more hirable. According to an American Nurses Association 2014 report, 89 percent of graduates from BSN programs were employed four to six months after graduation. Additionally, 44 percent of hospitals and other healthcare settings require new hires to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, while 79 percent express strong preference for BSN graduates, the report shows.

The Institute of Medicine has reported that 55 percent of nurses currently hold a bachelors degree or higher and has issued a call for that number to increase to 80 percent or higher by 2020. Nursing professionals who choose to enroll in an RN to BS in Nursing program will gain the skills and knowledge needed to be at the top of their profession and provide the best care possible for their patients.

Learn about the URI online RN to BS in Nursing program.

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