Although it only takes a minimum of an associate's degree to be eligible to take your exam to become a registered nurse, going further and getting your BSN degree can be very beneficial to you.
A bachelor's of science in nursing, BSN, is a 4-year degree that can open many doors for you, especially if you want upper level positions. If your goal is to work in research, teaching or administration, you will have to get a BSN degree. But even if those are not your goals, having this degree will favor you over others for promotions in your field and offer you the higher range of a registered nurse's salary.
You will find that a lot of registered nurses will start their careers as an associate degree in nursing and then later pursue the BSN degree.
BSN Degrees and Programs
The 4-year bachelor's degree will give you an ideal balance of clinical training, nursing theory and leadership skills, that will be useful in many careers. You will take basic coursework in physiology, anatomy, chemistry, psychology, microbiology and health care, but you will also take more detailed nursing classes in pathopharmacology, nursing informatics, acute health problems, geriatric care, caring for chronic adults and end of life care.
You will also be educated in management, interpersonal skills, leadership and ethics while getting your BSN degree. These help give a balanced education that affords the registered nurse more opportunities in the work place. If a master's degree is in your future then you already know you have to get the BSN degree first.
Some people think of going through 4 years of school to get their BSN degree and feel that its overwhelming. And in some cases it is. For these individuals I suggest getting their two year RN and the then pursue their bachelor's degree. Taking this route allows you to earn money and gain valuable experience while finishing school.
This option is ideal because many hospital programs will pay for this additional education for their staff, you can do it online and on your own time, and you can already start developing your career and experience that you can apply to this additional degree.
It can take from 1 to 3 years for you to get your BSN degree this way depending on the particular program you enroll in and how motivated you are to finish. The good thing is you will be gaining valuable knowledge you can apply immediately to your current job and you will have an income during this time.
Getting a BSN degree this way is very advantageous due to the reasons outlined above. Do your own research and take your specific needs into account when deciding on your own BSN degree.