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Beyond Acronyms: What does it all mean?

Explaining Nursing can feel like you are drowning in alphabet soup.  The terms RN, ADN, and BSN are often used , but understanding the distinction between the different roles is important when advising yours students.

Registered Nurse (RN) is a designation that means that an individual has passed a national exam and is licensed provide care to patients.  Individuals can sit for the licensure exam after completing 2-4 years of study.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is a four-year degree that allows a student to establish a strong foundation in math, science, social science and liberal arts coursework.  After earning a BSN, the student sits for their licensure exam which will lead to the designation of RN. 

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is a two-year degree that allows a student to establish the basic skills to sit for the licensure exam which will lead to the designation of RN.

RN to BSN is a program designed for associate degree and diploma-prepared RNs who are ready to expand their professional potential by earning their BSN.