There has long been a debate about the ADN vs the BSN also known as the 2-year vs the 4-year RN programs. Most of the hospital diploma nursing programs have faded into history although you can still find a few.
For years there have been rumors that the ADN or two-year programs would be eliminated, or that graduates from these programs would not be “real” nurses; only the BSN nurses could become RNs. Throw the LPN/LVN into the mix and you can start a war! Then along comes a nursing shortage and these rumors fade in favor of staffing needs.
All of these programs teach the basic nursing skills. BSN programs offer more theoretical nursing education, critical thinking skills and preparation for management. Therefore, most facilities require a BSN for a management track, and prefer MSN prepared nurses for middle and upper management positions.
No doubt, nursing is a lifelong learning experience. Continuing education is required for ongoing license renewal every one to three years depending on the state or particular license.
Facilities base pay scales and nursing responsibilities on experience as well as education, and most provide some sort of tuition reimbursement to encourage nurses at all levels to expand their education.
Online RN to BSN programs offer nurses a great way to earn their degree at their own pace. The University of Saint Mary in Kansas offers one such accredited program (CCNE) with five start dates throughout the year, and no on campus requirements. Diploma and ADN prepared nurses are eligible for this program. Nurses educated outside of the U.S. should inquire about admission requirements.