What Does BSN Mean?

When it comes to nursing terminology, there’s probably nothing more confusing than when referring to degrees (ex. BSN) and licensures (ex. RN). 

While we’re going to cover this in a lot of different angles in other articles, in this article we’re going to focus specifically on the questions:

What does BSN mean in nursing?

Or

What does it mean to have a BSN in nursing?

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What Does BSN Mean? 

As we stated earlier, BSN stands for Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

A BSN is a degree program someone who wants to become a nurse can enroll in. 

Unlike the ADN degree, a BSN program is typically taken at a university.

In contrast, an ADN nursing program is taken at a junior college.

What is the Difference Between an ADN and a BSN Degree?

As I mentioned above, there are some similarities and differences between an ADN and a BSN. 

The Differences

  • Let’s start with the differences. An ADN degree is usually received at a junior college while a BSN is awarded after attending a university.
  • An ADN program usually takes 2 years to complete, whereas a BSN takes about 4 years to complete.
  • The BSN degree requires the student to take more general education courses and also more leadership courses compared to an ADN track.

The Similarities

This is where it gets interesting because, at the end of the day, passing either the ADN or BSN course allows you to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam.

Passing the NCLEX-RN exam will grant you an RN license (more on that below). 

What is an RN?

An RN or a registered nurse is a designation (licensure) given to people who have sat for and passed the NCLEX-RN.

In general, a registered nurse is a person who provides care to patients who are struggling with various health issues. 

Besides providing care, an RN will also provide teaching and education to individuals and their families. 

The role of an RN can vary so much because besides teaching and providing nursing care, nurses are also supposed to coordinate care among the different disciplines and advocate for their patients. 

How Do You Become an RN? 

There are three different ways to become an RN. 

  1. Get your associate’s degree in nursing (or ADN). 
  2. Get your bachelor’s of science in nursing (or BSN). 
  3. Get a diploma nursing program. 

Further clarification:
A BSN (or ADN) is the degree you get from an academic institution. An RN is the licensure you get after getting either a BSN OR an ADN and passing the NCLEX-RN. 

Career Opportunities for Nursing Students Who Get Their BSN and RN

There are a lot of opportunities for bachelor’s prepared RNs.

From my experience, many nursing students will get their ADNs first because it’s quicker. 

Later on, they end up getting their BSN because they realize that the opportunities for a BSN are greater. 

Here are some of the example of positions you could get:

  1. Burn Care Nurse: These are nurses who take care of patients who’ve had severe burns. Learn more about how to become a burn care nurse
  2. Emergency Room Nurse: These are nurses who work in the ER. Learn about how to become an ER nurse.
  3. Operating Room Nurse: Nurses who assist surgeons and the surgical team in the OR. Learn about how to become an OR nurse.
  4. NICU Nurse: Nurses who work in the neonatal ICU. Learn more about NICU nurses.

What’s the Career Outlook for BSN RNs?

The career outlook for nurses is really good.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for RNs is supposed to be over 12% between 2018 and 2028 (source).

What’s the Pay for a BSN Nurse?

According to Glassdoor, the average pay for a BSN prepared nurse is a little over $65,870 (source).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What’s the difference between an RN and a BSN? 

You might be wondering, if being a registered nurse is higher than an RN or if being an RN is the same thing as being a BSN. 

Here’s the thing many times people will take being an RN and assume ADN, or if you have a BSN, they’ll think you have an RN (that’s probably the case but…). 

Remember that a BSN and ADN are the degrees, and an RN is the licensure. 

With that said, I’ve covered some of the differences between an ADN and a BSN above.

2. Can you have a BSN or ADN who is not an RN? 

Yes, it is possible to have a BSN or ADN degree without the licensure.

There have been many instances of nursing students who graduate with their BSN or ADN and for various reasons, never get their RN licensure. 

Final Thoughts

If you’re wanting to become a BSN and get your RN make sure to check out our article on how to become an RN

If you have any other questions, let us know in the comment section below. 

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