nursing studentWhen I graduated from high school, I was perplexed over what I wanted to do with myself. However, I knew I wanted to have a job helping people and I knew I wanted to work in a field where I could make an impact.  After some soul searching and researching, I decided nursing would be a great choice for me. 

The next choice was deciding on what type of nursing program I wanted to attend. 

After countless hours searching for programs, checking admission standards, and the differences between Associate of Science Degree (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, I made the plunge.  I applied for the ADN program at my local community college.

Why ADN?

To be completely honest, I was greeted with a lot of sideways looks.  I did well in high school, I placed in the top 97% in the country on my ACT and SAT.  People seemed excited and happy that I was pursuing a career in nursing.

That was until I told them I was initially attending a school for my ADN (my ultimate goal is to be a Family Nurse Practitioner).  There can definitely be a stigma behind ADN programs, especially for the “non-nursing” population.  After communicating my rationale why I chose an ADN program, I was generally able to convince my audience about the value of an ADN in today’s job market.

The following are my reasons as to why I feel ADN programs are still a great option for nursing students in multiple instances:

  1. Cost

    For me, cost was one of the greatest factors when I was deciding between nursing programs.  The lower tuition rates of a local community college played a large part in my decision making.  Generally, tuition costs of ADN programs are significantly lower.  Many health systems will also assist an ADN prepared RN to pay for their BSN, obviously with various stipulations such as work commitments.

  2. Convenience

    The transition from RN to BSN is fantastic.  There are a number of excellent programs.  In fact, in some instances, with dedication and commitment, you can finish a BSN within the same time frame as traditional programs, while earning your ADN and practicing as an RN.

  3. Time Investment

    The time investment is less.  You get into the “meat” of the program much more quickly.  In BSN programs, you generally have some sort of pre-nursing time period.  During that period you spend time taking general education coursework and applying for the actual nursing program. 

    Nursing is not for everyone!  Finding that out during the first 6 months of an ADN program is better than finding out after spending multiple semesters in pre-nursing, only to realize you can’t stand it.

  4. Entry-Level Positions

    If I was a betting man, I would bet that a brand new RN won’t be a nurse manager the day they graduate nursing school.  The specialized fields and leadership positions designed for BSN-prepared nurses aren’t necessarily designed for new grads either. 

    Hospitals, skilled care facilities, home health agencies, and many other employers hire RN’s with ADN degrees.  That being said, this is very dependent on your local job market and the abundance of BSN-prepared RNs in your area.

Always make sure you do research when choosing your respective nursing program.  Also, I would advise you to do some research into your local nursing job market.  Call health systems you might be interested in working at and ask them if they will hire an ADN-prepared nurse. 

Remember, education empowers nurses, so there are drawbacks to getting an ADN. However, don’t write the ADN program off if cost, convenience and time are important factors to you!