What Does BSN Stand For?

In the nursing community, BSN usually stands for one thing. This term is an abbreviation for the Bachelor’s Of Science In Nursing. This is a bachelor’s degree in the sciences and principles of nursing.

The goal of the degree is to prepare nursing students for a professional career in the medical community and/or graduate school. This degree usually leads to nursing students passing their licensing exam and becoming registered nurses.

Nursing students will usually spend the first two years of their coursework taking general courses in math, social sciences, humanities, English, foreign language, etc.  Plus, they will complete prerequisites for their later and more advanced courses in their BSN degree.

After they complete those courses, they go more into their specific nursing coursework and clinical rotations. For thier clinical rotations, these students will work as interns in healthcare facilities and understand the day to day responsibilities of being a nurse, learn how to treat patients, and understand the nursing process.

Why Get A BSN?

The American Nurses Association and The National Academy of Medicine advocate for nursing students to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing if they want to become a registered nurse. Their goal is get all registered nurses to be holding this highly regarded bachelor’s degree. They want 80% of nurses to carry a BSN by 2020.

The two large medical organizations are the only that want nurses to hold BSNs. More and more employers can increasing their preference toward nurses that carry this bachelor’s degree.

Nurses are required too have master’s degrees if they want to teach other nurses. There are only going to be more qualified nurses entering the medical community in coming years. Nurses with associate degree’s are falling less and less out of favor in today’s labor market and in the eyes of employers.

These are usually four year programs at universities or colleges. The degree usually contains coursework in the following things:

  • ​Traditional Sciences: Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Biology, etc.
  • Adult Health
  • Practice of Nursing
  • Community Health Nursing​
  • Midwifery and Newborn Nursing
  • Nursing Research
  • General Education In Math, Social Sciences, and Humanities.
  • Life and Stress Management.

A bachelor’s of science in nursing is almost essential to advance your career as a nurse. Many advanced positions in the nursing industry require a BSN and/or graduate degree. All graduate schools require a bachelor’s degree. If you want to move up in the medical community as a nurse, then you will need a bachelor’s of science in nursing.

What Is The Difference Between A BSN vs ADN?

ADN is an abbreviation used in the medical community. ADN stands for associate’s degree in nursing. These are usually 2 year programs for nursing students that are offered at the local community college or technical school.

There many other differences between a BSN and an ADN.  The Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing usually contains much more coursework in traditional science courses like ones mentioned above. As well as more general college coursework like math, science, humanities, English, and social science.

The ADN is seen as more of career focused degree. It pertains more to the skills the nursing student would need to know to do their job properly. A BSN degree is seen a more well-rounded, nursing course heavy, and time consuming degree.

To be clear, you can become a registered nurse with both degrees. However, you need a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing to  continue your education and go onto graduate school. Also, nurses with BSNs earn more money. More and more healthcare organizations require their nurses to have Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, as mentioned earlier.

Nurses with BSNs can move on to get their Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN). This advanced degree can allow nurses to become a Nurse Practitioner. These nurses share many of the responsibilities of doctors.

These nurses can also become anesthetists which are nurses that administer anesthesia to patients about undergo operation. They work in a team and under the direction of anesthesiologist. Or they can become an advanced clinical nurse and move into a specialty such as neonatal, pediatrics, dermatology, trauma, midwifery, etc.

Nurses with MSNs have many options in career that will lead to a six figure incomes. They can also teach other nursing students at community colleges and technical schools full time or in their part time.

Nurses with BSNs can also recieve graduate degrees in other disciplines. They could go to law school and become a legal nurse. They nurses advice attorneys and lawyers on medical information during legal cases.

They can also get business degrees and work with companies that need help analyzing medical information that are relevant to their business cases. Nurses with MSNs have many prestigious and high paying job opportunities in other industries as well as in the medical community.

However, there are some advantages to getting an ADN. An Associate’s Degree in Nursing is a quicker path to the workforce, guaranteed pay, becoming a registered nurse, and building work experience.

These programs are much cheaper that BSN programs at universities. They are usually a fraction of the cost. Plus, they can always upgrade their education to a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing later on in their part time.

RN to BSN Programs

We touched on this above but wanted to explain a bit further. RN to BSN  programs are academic programs that are specialized for registered nurses who have only an associate’s degree or have not attained a bachelor’s of science in nursing. The idea is that the nurses can take classes in their part time and continue to work full time as a nurse.

In today’s academic landscape, nurses have many options for completing their BSN coursework. There are online programs, where they can complete their coursework from the comfort of their home. They can also take classes in a classroom at their local university.

Each of these programs will have different options in terms of length. If you are willing to take your time and work on the degree part time, these programs take 18 to 24 months. If done full time, it can take as little as 12 to 15 months.

See also Nursing brain


The BSN abbreviation stands for Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. It contains well-rounded coursework in general science, nursing science, nursing theory, math, English, social sciences, and more.

This is a great place for a registered nurse to begin his or her education. Nurses with BSNs have many career options or they can go back to graduate school and gain more education that can open up more doors for their career.

Students who want to earn their bachelor’s of science in nursing are best starting as soon as possible. High school students should take math and science courses to prepare for college. Registered Nurses with ADNs need to look into local “BSN for RN” programs, as we talked about above.

Registered nurses have many options to earn the Bachelor’s of Science Nursing. Universities have part time programs for RNs. Also many top universities have online programs as well. Employers will sometimes pay for nurses to enhance their education. It is easier than ever for nurses to get their BSN. Get this degree to advance your career.