ADN vs BSN weigh the pros and cons

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by cookderosa, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Hello! I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of 2 programs, I'd like some feedback from the nursing experts!

    Program 1:
    community college ADN
    Prerequisites I don't have: 3 (2 semesters)
    Total program cost once I enroll: +/- $6000
    Length of program: 5 semesters (4 semesters w/ 1 summer off)
    Award: Associate degree, RN
    Start date: Fall 2010
    Completion: Spring 2012
    (RN work requirement + CNM = 2016 enter work force)

    Program 2:
    private hospital college, accelerated BSN
    Prerequisites I don't have: 7 (2 semesters)
    Total program cost once I enroll: +/- $30,000
    Length of program: 15 months
    Award: Bachelors degree, RN
    Start date: Summer 2010
    Completion: Summer 2011
    (RN work requirement + CNM = 2014 enter work force)

    Here is what else there is to know:

    * I am planning on using the IL Public Health Scholarship program which gives up to $8,000 per year (program 1) or $13,000 per year (program 2) toward my education which is "paid back" through a service requirement. This would pay 100% of program 1, but just under half of program 2. All CNM programs want 1 year of RN work anyway- so this isn't a problem.

    * My goal is CNM. The CNM programs that do a bridge are 3 years (bridge + 2), where coming in with a BSN cuts it down to straight 2 years. That extra year shaved off of CNM training means 2 years earlier into the work force because in this case, the BSN is so much shorter! 2 years earlier into the workforce could justify the extra cost of the program.

    * The hospital program all but guarantees employment within that hospital system.

    * I have not confirmed that the hospital program will allow CLEPs toward the pre-req requirements- this is on my list for today- but if they don't, that adds significantly to time and cost. (I think they do because they actually send the students to the community college for all gen eds- an the community college accepts and uses CLEP/DSST) So- this is still an open question.

    * Both programs lead to RN, which is what I need for CNM training- it just comes down to deciding which undergrad degree to get.

    * I have looked at BSN options- and I don't think I would do them after the ADN separately. I want to do the entire RN in one shot and then move on to midwifery.

    So.....thoughts? Opinions??
  2. Fortunato

    Fortunato Member

    I'm not a nursing expert, but I am an MBA, and it seems like this is a simple NPV calculation. You need to provide a little more data, but my back of the envelope calculations (okay, actually OpenOffice.Org Calc) seem to indicate that getting into the workforce faster is going to move the needle towards the BSN program. I assumed that your borrowing costs were 7.5%, and that you borrowed the entire amount of the program in Year 1 (2010), and made $80K per year in 2015 and 2016 as a CNM, and $50K per year as an RN, and 0 in years that you did not work.

    NPV calc for BSN:
    = ~$192K

    NPV calc for ADN:
    = ~$148K

    You can play with this to account for borrowing costs, other income or changes in the inflows/outflows of cash, and see which one fits you better, but unless your borrowing costs are fairly steep, I would expect the BSN to be the better deal. Best of luck!
  3. Paul S Rogers

    Paul S Rogers New Member

    My experience, 25 years of nursing: med/surg, outpatient clinics, ADON (nursing homes), U.S. Army Reserves (Nursing), adult psy (inpatient), and nursing administration. Since you want to do it in one shot, do the BSN. Use the community college to do your pre-req requirements. If I remember correctly, from your previous post, you know about the science requirements. Also I think some programs now require a statistics course.
    If this is your passion…go for it. This may be a crazy option, especially if you have family obligations, but talk to someone in the Army Nursing Corps to see what they offer i.e., scholarships etc.
  4. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist


    I am neither a nursing expoert nor an MBA, but I believe that you forgot to account for the IL Public Health Scholarship that Jennifer plans to apply for. Assuming that she gets this scholarship, then that would certainly have an impact on your NPV calculation. Anyway, I agree with you that the BSN is probably Jennifer's best option. Just wanted to mention the scholarship factor.

    Good luck Jennifer!
  5. Fortunato

    Fortunato Member

    I was under the impression that Jennifer's cost numbers were net of the scholarship, but you are correct, that would change the calculation. I am also pretty sure my income estimations are flawed. But assuming there is a substantial difference in income between a CNM and a RN, there is a huge benefit to getting out into the workforce two years ahead of schedule.
  6. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    First, thanks a lot Fortunato for running the numbers! Exact salary isn't all that important, because salary rates will be different by the time I finish- but I think you are very very close in your estimations. Being the utilitarian type, I very much appreciate looking at this as a business decision. (for what it's worth, Japhy is right, those costs are before any scholarships)

    Tom and Paul, I respect both of your opinions. And Tom, I think you are being modest, I know you know a thing or two about nursing. In any event, it looks like a clear winner to go for the BSN program.

    CLEP exams are accepted for prerequisites by both programs, so I'll have 3 "classes" and 4 exams to complete before May of next year in order to hit the target start. The classes I need no matter what, the 4 exams are the extras needed for the BSN vs the ADN.

    I have found an excellent resource for online science labs. Ocean County College (NJ) is outstanding and uses lab packs to complete experiments at home - you then somehow send them (or photos?) in. My kids think that's the coolest thing ever, and my 10 year old asked if we get to blow anything up. LOL Let's hope not.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2009
  7. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    Well, I'm glad you are going the BSN route. It's too bad that you don't live near Philadelphia, PA. Drexel University offers the quickest accelerated BSN in the country (11 months). Now that's accelerated!

    Keep us posted on your progress. I'm off to do my homework now. I'm finishing up my BS in Behavioral Sciences with Bellevue University (I just started my first class two weeks ago). So far, so good.

    Oh, and thanks for the info on Ocean County CC. I'm going to check out those online science courses, w/ lab packs. Sounds interesting.

  8. Jeremy

    Jeremy New Member

    When it comes down to ADN vrs BSN in the work place there is little difference. However for admission to a MSN program the BSN makes it easier. One thought there is a push for DNP to be the degree for advanced practice nursing by 2015. I know that CNMs are not as happy with this idea as NPs and even if they do not require the clinical doctoral degree for certificatoin there is a chance the school you are looking at may change the degree requirement. I know a lot of people considering advanced practice nursing are pushing to finish before 2015 due to this aspect.

    Personaly I did the ADN, BA (liberal studies TESC), RNFA, primary care NP, womans health NP, then most recently family NP with a MSN.

  9. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Thanks Jeremy. As you can see from my two options, that clearly would effect me if that change goes through. I had a dinner meeting tonight with a CNM friend and she thought school 2 was clearly the better option. If I can ask, with all of your NP credentials, what is your primary job? Are you in private practice?
  10. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    Hi Jennifer,

    Did you check to make sure that the BSN program that you're interested in will accept the online science courses from Ocean County College? I'm sure you already verified this, but I thought I would ask anyway.

    Best of luck with your nursing studies.
  11. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    Jeremy, Do you believe there will be a lot of obstacles and challenges for Distant learning (DL) NP programs when they go DNP?

    Sounds like we went a similar track to FNP. I am currently enrolled in a DL MSN to DNP program. This alone will take at least 2 more years. My 2015 prediction is a BSN to FNP "DL" DNP program will be at least 4 years in duration and require multiple on campus components and obviously the 1000+ hour clinical component.
  12. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    Thanks. Yes, talked to them today. Need to be regionally accredited, with lab, 4 credits, C or better. Music to my ears.

    Hey, anyone want to take A&P with me? We could be study buddies :)
    Edit- just kidding- I don't play well with others. But it would be fun to chit-chat about our cow eye ball, pig, and cat.
  13. Jeremy

    Jeremy New Member

    I currenlty work in private practice clinically, then teach part time.

    I am not sure how DNP programs will be administered. Initially the MSN prepared NPs will have a top off course. Once this is done hopefully the entry DNP programs will be designed to give a good foundation of primary care, and then have a specilzed component to the area of focus. And extra clinical hours. For DL programs I agree on site labs are extremly important. I would love to be involved in development of a DNP program to atually have people in the trenchs contribute. Unfortunatly I teach nuclear medicine so that would be a huge leap to DNP.

  14. mamasitagoesloco

    mamasitagoesloco New Member

    Seems we are on the same path...

    I am also in Illinois, but a recent transplant from Minnesota. Is it possible we could chat a little more? I am new to this site and would like to discuss this topic of RN vs. ADN a little more with you. Please let me know if you are agreeable to that. My ultimate goal is to also be a CNM. Thanks!
  15. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    Sure! I'm sending you a private message.
  16. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    I know this is old, but I'm posting an update. Since I started considering nursing school, my life was seriously derailed with my mom moving in with us and passing away- I considered dropping entirely, however.....

    Ta-da! I'm in my last pre-req classes this semester and my application goes in next week.

    I decided on the ADN local F2F program because it's significantly cheaper and fewer hours away from the family each week. The ADN is only 12 hours per week on campus while the BSN required roughly 35 hours per week on campus (before commute time and study). The ADN will cost about $5,000 which I'll pay cash for, while the BSN is $35,000 with no drop-options. In other words, if you fail one of your courses, you are waiting until the next cohort picks you up a year later. (?)

    Immediately upon graduation, I'm doing something different than in my opening post- I'll be enrolling back at TESC to do a 1 year online BSN with (hopefully) full employee reimbursement. That timeline is doable, and even without employee reimbursement or any scholarship (which I might get) I'm still only out about $15,000 compared to $35,000 for the BSN.

    So, wish me luck with my application. I'm gathering the paperwork and getting my necessary immunizations, CPR, entrance exams, etc in order. It'll all be turned in 2/1/10. Competition is fierce, they say that this class will take 38 from an anticipated applicant pool of 120-140. I do believe I have a shot based on the criteria they list. My BA GPA was excellent (3.8) and my science/prereq GPA is (4.0) unless I falter this semester lol. I also have a few prior degrees which are supposed to be worth points. My entrance test is a crap shoot- I'm not a great test taker, but it is what it is. An interesting (or not) point is that ALL of my BA and my science courses have been earned via distance learning or CLEP. Let's see if they notice.

    Well, that's my update! I REALLY appreciate the nursing and business advice that everyone has given me in this thread! I'll let you know what happens.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2010
  17. -kevin-

    -kevin- Resident Redneck

    Good Luck Jennifer!
  18. Ian Anderson

    Ian Anderson Active Member

    I had never heard of an ADN but discovered what it is through some quick research.
    Couldn't an ADN be used as a stepping stone to a BSN degree?
  19. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef


    Yes Ian, however both the ADN and BSN lead to the RN credential, which is needed to practice as a nurse. You don't need a BSN, but in order to become an advanced practice nurse, which is my goal, I'll still need a master's or doctorate degree. (which requires a BSN or a "bridge" program). There are a lot of paths you can take. The options are a bit confusing at times, but doing a good deal of research and networking with RNs should prevent any expensive missteps. I do believe I have mapped out the best path for me right now.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2010
  20. major56

    major56 Active Member

    The answer is YES; however, “Even though there are three typical educational paths to registered nursing—a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (ADN), and a diploma – advancement opportunities may be more limited for ADN and diploma holders compared to RNs who obtain a BSN or higher. Individuals who complete a bachelor's degree receive more training in areas such as communication, leadership, and critical thinking, all of which are becoming more important as nursing practice becomes more complex. Additionally, bachelor's degree programs offer more clinical experience in non-hospital settings. A bachelor's or higher degree is often necessary for administrative positions, research, consulting, and teaching.”

    Re: U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2010

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