What is the Difference Between an RN and a BSN?

When people hear or see the abbreviations RN and BSN, they often think they are the same things, but there is a difference between an RN and a BSN. In fact, they are two very distinct and different things. An individual with a BSN is going to be an RN, but an RN does not necessarily always have a BSN. Sound confusing? Here is a more in-depth description of the differences between an RN and a BSN.

What is an RN?

The letters RN are used to designate the credential of Registered Nurse. A registered nurse is an individual who provides and coordinates patient care, educates the community about health issues, educates patients on healthcare and provides support to patients and their families. Beside every doctor, you will probably find an RN assisting. To become an RN, an individual must complete a formal training program, which consists of coursework, lab studies and clinical rotations.

Once the training has been completed, the student must pass the NCLEX-RN to obtain licensure, which is required in all states. An individual can become an RN in one of these three ways.

  • Complete an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN)
  • Complete a diploma nursing program
  • Complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (BSN)

What is a BSN?

The BSN, which stands for Bachelor of Science in Nursing, is a degree level program in nursing. Unlike the associate’s degree and diploma nursing programs, which can be completed in two years, the BSN requires four years of study. The student completes the same nursing curriculum but also takes general education courses. A graduate of a BSN typically also has more career opportunities available to them than the individual with the associate’s degree or the diploma.

Career Opportunities for RNs with a BSN

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