In Historic Shift, More Nurses Graduate with Bachelor’s Degrees

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge, August/September 2015

The nursing workforce has also become larger and more diverse, survey finds.

The nation’s nursing workforce has reached a critical tipping point. In 2011, for the first time ever, the number of nurses who earned baccalaureate degrees in the science of nursing (BSN) was higher than the number who earned two-year associate degrees in nursing (ADN), according to a recent study of newly available government data about nurse education.

The change marks an historic shift in nurse education levels; in every year before 2011, the number of nurses earning ADNs outpaced those earning BSNs.

By 2012, more nurses (53 percent) were earning four-year baccalaureate than two-year associate degrees (47 percent). The percentages were mirror images of each other a decade earlier; in 2002, 55 percent of nurses earned an ADN and 45 percent earned a BSN.