It is true that you can get a job in nursing without going to school for a nursing BSN degree. You can actually get a job with a lesser degree and maybe even enjoy a long-lasting career. The question is do you want to go this route?
The first question to ask is, do you want to aim for something high like a Nurse Practitioner? Or, do you want to aim for a Registered Nurse position or even a Licensed Practical Nurse, which allows you to start right away?
You might say that your ambitions will determine your initial degree. Then again, a lot of nurses start with an LPN course because they want some working experience. If you plan on rising to the top of the ranks, however, plan to pursue a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) degree as well as a Master of Science in Nursing degree someday.
Nursing BSN vs. RN Training
Some nurses will stop with RN training, while others will be tempted to pursue a BSN. Before you go through the experience, let’s summarize some of the major differences in learning.
Understand that in order to become a Registered Nurse, you have to earn a nursing degree and pass the NCLEX exam. This process is longer than the LPN course, which is about a year, and takes closer to 21 months. You can actually become a Registered Nurse with an Associate’s Degree.
Afterwards, it’s up to you to decide if you want to start working or if you want to learn more and move up with a BSN degree. The good news is the BSN will only take 12 more months of training or perhaps a little bit longer depending on the course.
What’s the Difference in Work Environment?
Most people associate Registered Nurses as the “type you see on TV,” and this is not too far of an exaggeration (Although we don’t all look as pretty as the ones on Grey’s Anatomy).
RNs do perform typical nursing duties, which include assisting patients, helping doctors, and providing treatment. They are the ones that record symptoms and operate machinery on occasion. Registered Nurses are not limited to this and can actually qualify to educate patients and work on a medical team.
The major difference of BSN graduate nurses is that they can do traditional nurse duties or work outside the field in non-clinical settings. This means BSN degree graduates can work in public health or in education. They can go on to become community nurses and help educate new LPNs and RNs.
The educational demands for these positions are austere, and RNs will not qualify for what are BSN-exclusive positions. Of course, managerial positions will require even more training, namely the MSN.
While there is no need for our workers to fight over titles, there are statistics to keep in mind. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics speculates that BSN degree graduates qualify for 88% of all nursing vacancies, compared to 51% for Registered Nurses.
In the end, it matters only to you and your career goals which course you choose. Please know, however, that your efforts are appreciated at every level, and regardless of where you land, you help make our industry proud.