The transition process from an associate degree in nursing (ADN) to a professional level Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree depends on the individual’s educational and career goals. Below is a summary of the entire process.
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a 2-year program which prepares students for RN registration. The program provides instruction in both nursing theory and practice. Students are then eligible to sit for the NCLEX–RN exam after the completion of the program.
- Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BSN). A BSN is typically four year program. This program builds upon foundational skills and knowledge from an ADN program. BSN programs offer more detailed instruction in leadership, community, nursing, and research. BSN degrees are required by many hospitals and health care organizations.
- Master of Science (MSN), a degree at the graduate level that usually takes 2 years. You can choose from several tracks in the MSN program that will focus on different areas of nursing practice such as leadership, clinical, administrative, and education. Graduates are able to gain advanced knowledge of nursing theory, clinical practice and research. They can also be prepared to assume leadership positions within healthcare organizations.
Individuals can select from a variety of educational paths to make the transition from ADN to BSN or MSN.
- RN to BSN Programs: These programs are for RNs holding an ADN that want to obtain a BSN degree. RN-to BSN programs typically take 1-2 years and can either be done online or in person.
- BSN-to MSN programs: This program is for nurses with a BSN and who wish to further their studies at the graduate level. BSN to MSN programs can take between 2 and 3 years. They offer many tracks including leadership and administration.
- Direct-entry MSN programs: These programs are designed for individuals who have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and want to become an advanced practice nurse, such as a nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, or nurse anesthetist. MSN direct-entry programs usually take 2 to 3 years to complete. They include nursing theory as well as clinical practice.
Transitioning from ADN into a BSN or MSN is a process that requires planning. The right education path can help individuals gain leadership skills in their healthcare organization and advance their nursing practice.