Within the nursing field, there are many differences with the educational background obtained with an associate’s degree (ADN) in nursing, and a baccalaureate degree (BSN) in nursing. Initially, in order to start a nursing degree, the only option available was with a BSN degree as the educational entry point into the nursing profession (Creasia & Friberg, 2011). AD programs were originally established as a result of the nursing shortage after World War II. There are many directions one may take when choosing to obtain a degree in nursing. This can make it extremely difficult for individuals interested in the nursing field to choose the path that will be best for their future goals in the profession. Regardless of which route one takes, due to the growing health care systems, the probability for Registered Nurses to acquire a degree beyond the ADN level is high.
As a result of War World II, the nations need for nurses increased considerably. Nurse educator Mildred Montag suggested a new entry-level nursing program requiring a two-year ADN (Creasia & Friberg, 2011). The ADN program was viewed extremely effective. The ability for graduates to pass the nursing licensure examination, demonstrated they had an appropriate amount of technical and clinical competency. This pathway to nursing opened up many opportunities for individuals seeking a nursing degree. Due to achieving an ADN faster, and the initial lower cost, many individuals can be employed as a Registered Nurse in hospitals and other medical fields, while they work towards their BSN, masters degree, or the many other degrees available. Further more, both ADN and BSN degree graduates take the same licensure examination and start out at the same pay rate. Therefore, many individuals pursue their ADN first, and then continue with their BSN, avoiding further debt. At the present time, the associate degree programs are still the leading entry into the nursing profession.
Although both associate’s degree ADN and BSN may start off with the same pay as a new graduate, there are many perks of having a BSN, such as, additional pay and better patient outcomes. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing,
Baccalaureate nursing programs encompass all of the course work taught in associate degree and diploma programs plus a more in-depth treatment of the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities. The additional course work enhances the student’s professional development, prepares the new nurse for a broader scope of practice, and provides the nurse with a better understanding of the cultural, political, economic, and social issues that affect patients and influence health care delivery (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2014, para. 4).
Nurses with a degree higher than a ADN have an improved chance of acquiring a leadership position and attain a higher salary. As a result of higher demands within the healthcare system, medical facilities are going to require individuals to have a BSN