A registered nurse (RN) is a registered nurse, right? You go to school, get the training, pass your nursing boards and go out in the real world and treat patients. There is some truth there, in that an RN takes medical histories, administers medication, orders tests, assists doctors during exams and preps patients for procedures. Those duties are the same for RNs with ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing) or BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degrees. There are some big differences, as well as several advantages of starting your nursing career with a BSN.

How long does it take to become an RN?

You can get the clinical skills you need to become a registered nurse in short order—usually one to two years to earn your ASN. How long to get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing? It generally takes four years of study, but accelerated programs are available for holders of a bachelor’s degree in another area that can reduce that to as little as 16 months of full-time study.

What’s the difference in the curriculum?

An ASN degree lays the foundation for clinical nursing training and offers a fast way to enter the nursing field. However, the BSN curriculum goes beyond and places a greater emphasis on research and informatics. If you study for your BSN, you’ll do clinical rotations in a community or public health setting. You’ll also gain communications, critical thinking and leadership skills.

ASN vs BSN: What are the advantages of a BSN?

If you decide to get your BSN, you’ll benefit in a variety of ways, from the money you’ll earn to where you can work to the actual title you sport.

  • You can earn more money. The median pay for an RN with a BSN in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $73,300, but an RN with an ASN earned significantly less. That is partially due to the additional responsibilities of an RN with a BSN. For example, a family nurse practitioner may earn a median salary of $113,930.
  • You have more career options. A BSN can qualify you to become a nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, nursing director or clinical nursing specialist. These are not open to RNs with ASNs.
  • An RN with a BSN provides better clinical and patient outcomes. According to research collected by the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing (AACN), nurses with more education (i.e., bachelor’s degree holders) have better patient outcomes: lower mortality rates, lower failure-to-rescue rates, more proficiency in making sound diagnoses.
  • Hospitals prefer (and often require) nurses to have a BSN. Hospitals want to be recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a magnet organization. This distinction is awarded to healthcare facilities that strive to improve patient outcomes by providing superior nursing care. That means they want to hire nurses with more education.
  • Having a BSN may become a requirement for nurses. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM (now known as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) issued a landmark report—The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health—that recommended 80 percent of nurses have a BSN by 2020. Although that number hasn’t been reached—it likely will be by 2029—the numbers are increasing each year.
  • A BSN can lead to professional advancement. When you have your BSN, you can go into a leadership role or even a specialty field, such as pediatrics, oncology, psychiatry or gynecology. With an ASN degree, you’re restricted to basic clinical patient care. That’s good, but as you continue your career path you may prefer to take a different role. A BSN gives you the chance to expand into management, personnel scheduling, leadership or research. 
  • You need a BSN if you want to go to graduate school. Perhaps you want to continue your education and become an educator or nursing administrator. You’ll need a master’s degree, and a bachelor’s is a prerequisite. You may even want to become a doctor, and having a BSN is a good springboard for that.

What’s the job outlook for registered nurses in Arizona?

According to O*NET OnLine, registered nurses are in demand. The projected growth for nurses in the United States between 2018-2028 is 12 percent, which is higher than for most other jobs. In Arizona, that rate is even higher: 37 percent between 2016-2026.

How do I get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Arizona?

Brookline College offers an accelerated program that enables you to earn your BSN degree in as little as two and a half years of year-round study, rather than the normal four with summers off. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field, Brookline offers a path to a BSN in 16 months of full-time study. If you’re an RN with an ASN, you can take your education to the next level with Brookline’s flexible 15-month online RN to BSN program.

Your Brookline College BSN program will prepare you for entry-level nursing positions in hospitals, community health agencies, clinics or physicians’ offices. You’ll learn about health assessments; pharmacology; informatics; research and evidence-based practice; and leadership, ethics and policy in healthcare. That’s in addition to anatomy and physiology, microbiology, nutrition and more. Once you graduate, you’ll be able to collaborate with patients and healthcare teammates in the planning, coordination and provision of competent care.

Classes start soon! Call Brookline College today.