Nurses: What Is the Difference Between a BSN Nurse and an RN?

Updated on January 12, 2012
M.C. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
9 answers

Does one need a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing before taking the boards to be a Registered Nurse?

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answers from Dayton on

Like the others said an RN has a 2 year Associate's Degree while a BSN has a 4 yr Bachelor's degree. You can sit for boards with the 2 year degree and work, but know that many hospitals are starting to want you to complete the BSN within a certain amount of time after starting (if you start as an RN). I think it has to do with Magnet Status for the hospital.

ETA: Looking back at others answers, around here the hospitals pay the same for BSN as RN. Starting salary was exactly the same for the two (southwest Ohio).

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answers from Seattle on

In our area an extra 2 quarters of school and 20k salary difference to start.

Something a lot of people don't realize is that the PRE-REQS to get into nursing school take almost 2 years, and fill up almost everything you need for the first 2 years of your 4 year degree (you only need 2 extra quarters). Then there's a lag year, then you're in nursing school for 2 years:

Time for RN = 4.5 years
Time for BSRN = 5 years

To me, the extra 6mo of school (taking electives!) is more than worth the extra 20k per year. Not to mention, once you have your BSRN you can go on to 5th year, master, and move into 6 figure salaries. RN>BSRN though, you have to go back to school for 1-2 years to pick up your BSRN before you can 5th year (that nickname is just WRONG these days, but it's still the nickname) or go for your MS.

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answers from Chicago on

A BSN (bachelor of science in nursing) is a nurse who has a four-year bachelor's degree from a university. An RN is a registered nurse who has a two-year degree from a nursing program/school. The BSN nurse just has a broader education. Either can take the boards. I have a friend right now who got her two-year RN degree and she is taking boards next month.

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answers from Washington DC on

BSN is the manner of study the nurse took to get her RN license. There are many ways to become a RN. You could go to a hospital program and get a diploma (through an accredited hospital, this was very popular about 30 years ago, harder to find now). You can get an associates degree (2 year program usually at a community college), or you can get a Bachelor of Science degree, which is a BSN. This is usually a 4 year program, but can be done in less if you have credits from a different degree that can transfer over. Any of these programs will allow you to sit for the exam to become a RN and get your license. RNs that got a BSN degree usually will say they are a RN, BSN. In my experience (I have my BSN), nurses with diploma and associate degrees usually have a lot of technical skills as they spend more time in the hospital doing clinical rotations, whereas BSN programs are more theory based, the why are you doing it, but not always as skilled right off the bat technically. To clarify all the previous answers, you are a RN whether you have your BSN, associates degree, or diploma. the initials refer only the route of study the nurse took, before she sat for her exam, which allowed her to earn the RN title. When I was on the floor nursing a nurse with a BSN made about the same as a nurse with an associates degree. But, there were certain committees that RNs with out their BSN couldn't sit on. Also, if you want to get your masters, and some jobs outside of the hospital will require a BSN as a prerequisite.

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answers from Milwaukee on

No, you do not need a bachelor's to take the boards. The difference is having 2 extra years of education - not nursing related.

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answers from St. Louis on

The difference, about 20 dollars an hour where I work.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I just checked out my daughter's college online to confirm what I though to be true. I know a two year program is much less comprehensive and does not prepare them for a more broad scope of practice. At her university in California there is a BSN as well as their RN (not a two year but also a Bachelor's, just not the BSN program). The BSN also has additional high level nursing classes (Physical & social science, nursing research, community health, nursing management and humanities). Both of these options have your usual English, math, oral communications as well as many additional microbiology, anatomy & pathology and chemistry. Although they are not nursing classes themselves, these classes are very scientific. Boards will follow all of them. Approximately 80% of RNs will be BSNs by 2020 from what I read in another article.

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answers from Seattle on

The BSN adds more of the theory, policy information whereas the RN focuses only on the clinical info.



answers from Washington DC on

A registered nurse is a licenced nurse I believe. My mom has a 4 year nursing degree and is an RN.

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