• A registered nurse (RN) degree requires at least 2 years of further education specific to nursing after high school to obtain an ADN degree (Associate’s Degree in Nursing).
  • Bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) degree requires at least 4 years of further education specific to nursing after high school.
  • Pursuing a BSN degree allows individuals to gain more education related to leadership, management and administrative roles so they can be better prepared to take on a position that will present any of those challenges; an ADN degree lacks this additional administrative training.
  • Higher education – BSN in this case – is required and typically recommended for specialties in nursing (pediatrics, critical care, oncology, orthopedics, neonatal, public health and more).
  • Most often those who hold a 2 year RN degree (ADN) will qualify to work in the hospital setting, such as a medical-surgical unit, but generally, these individuals will not be chosen to work in a specialty field until further education is completed, and/or a great deal of experience is achieved.
  • Those who hold BSN degrees will have a better chance of being hired at some top-notch hospitals (better referred to as hospitals with “magnet status”), because having a BSN degree or higher is typically the only degrees that are considered in order to employ the best of the best.

A good point to remember is that some specialty career paths in the nursing field will require individuals to have a BSN degree or higher – these options may include:

  • Nurse Researcher – this position requires at least a BSN degree, while some employers may recommend candidates have their MSN, a Master’s of Science in Nursing, which is an even higher degree than a BSN. Nurse researchers create reports that are based specifically on research they have gathered from the nursing field, with the ultimate goal of improving upon any current medical and healthcare services that are provided.
  • Informatics Nurse – this position also requires at least a BSN, possibly an MSN degree as well. An informatics nurse provides various data on healthcare to physicians, nurses, patients and other members of the healthcare team.  These nurses also will be expected to provide training on any updated procedures or processes that could improve upon current practice.
  • Travel Nurse – this position most often requires a BSN degree with at least 2 years of nursing experience. Travel nurses do just what the name implies, they travel to various nursing facilities to utilize their skills and provide care based on a short-term need.  This job may also require becoming licensed as an RN in the various states that you may be expected to work in.
  • Critical Care Nurse – this position requires at least a BSN degree with 2 years of critical care/emergency experience. Plus, candidates will be required to be competent in both additional training and continuing education courses related specifically to the critical care aspect of nursing.  Critical care nurses will work in intensive care units of hospitals as part of a team in order to provide the most optimal patient care in the most critical of situations.
  • Psychiatric Nurse – this position also requires a BSN from an accredited college. Psychiatric nurses will use their knowledge to help their patient population deal with various mental illnesses in order to better function in society.

The careers listed above definitely do not compile an exhaustive list of what you can do if you obtain your BSN degree or higher; the opportunities are just about endless and it would definitely be worth it for your future to complete those extra couple years of higher education.