Bachelor of science in nursing, Nursing education, Registered nurse



  1. McIntosh, Constance E. EdD, MBA, RN
  2. Thomas, Cynthia M. EdD, MS, BSN, ASN, RNc, CDONA
  3. Siela, Debra PhD, RN, CCNS, ACNS-BC, CCRN-K, CNE, RRT


With recommendations from national nursing associations and accrediting bodies to transition to an all baccalaureate prepared nurse workforce by 2020, it is important to understand the expertise that a baccalaureate degreed nurse brings to patient care. The purpose of this article is to establish the differences of a non-bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) registered nurse and a 4-year prepared nurse, as well as to identify the education and clinical trends in critical care that require a BSN-prepared nurse. The history of associate degree and diploma degree nurses is admirable and served a purpose serving up to and post World War II. In more recent years, particularly in critical care, as health care is becoming more complex, extension of technology, and pay-for-performance issues are tied to patient outcomes, it is essential the non-BSN registered nurses return to continue their education earning a BSN degree.