RN BSN or BSN RN: How To Display Your Nursing Credentials

RN BSN or BSN RN

Congratulations! You’ve finished the hard work of obtaining your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).  You get to work and suddenly this question pops into your head: “How do I write my credentials on my resume? Is it RN BSN or BSN RN?” 

A lot of newly minted BSN nurses are in your shoes, wondering how to write their RN BSN signature properly. Don’t worry, we are here to help. 

The Right Way to Write the Signature for RNs with BSN 

So, what is it? RN BSN or BSN RN? A better question is, “Why do we display credentials after our names in the first place?” 

The initials after your name communicate important information about you as a professional. These letters tell potential employers, doctors, other nurses and patients about your highest degree, about your licenses, other certifications and awards. 

We consulted one of Chamberlain University’s faculty experts on this topic, Cecilia J. Maier, MS, RN, CNE and found a surprising answer to this question. 

There are no official regulations on how to write your RN BSN signature. In fact, there are situations when you should display your degrees and accreditation differently.  Here is what Professor Maier had to say on the question of RN BSN or BSN RN: 

  • Nurses in clinical practice tend to list their licensure first followed by degrees and then certifications. For example: RN, BSN, CCRN 
  • Nurses who are academic educators list their academic degrees first followed by licensure and then certifications. For example: DNP, RN, CNE. The terminal degree may be the only one listed, or the educator may list previous degrees also: PhD, MSN, RN, CNE 
  • In either instance, list your certifications last.  

This means that if you are a clinical practice nurse, you would have a RN BSN signature. And, that if you’re a nurse educator (or on your way to becoming one,) you would have a BSN RN signature. 

No One Can Ever Take Your BSN 

There is yet another school of thought on the RN BSN or BSN RN debate. According to the American Nurse Association (ANA) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) your credentials should be listed in the following manner: 

  • Highest earned degree 
  • Licensure 
  • State designations or requirements 
  • National certifications 
  • Awards and honors 
  • Other recognitions 

The reason that the ANA and ANCC state that your credentials should be listed this way is because the degree has the most permanence. Meaning, that your terminal degree – whether it be BSN, MSN, DNP or PhD – is what people need to know first about you as a nurse. Joyce Ellis, a graduate of Chamberlain’s RN to BSN Online Degree Completion Option agrees with this thinking.  “The first time I wrote BSN, RN, CDE was amazing. In my Capstone course, the professor explained why you put the BSN first – because your license could at some point be pulled, but no one can ever take your Bachelor of Science in Nursing. That will be with me forever.” 

RN BSN or BSN RN: How do You Choose? 

While you can’t go wrong, how you display your RN BSN signature depends on the institution you’re working with or the situation in which you are using your credentials. If you are writing a resume, it might be best to write your credentials with your terminal educational degree first, as suggested by the ANA and ANCC. Or it might be best to use your licensure first (RN BSN title) while working in a clinical setting. However you decide to display your RN BSN title, you should take pride in the great achievement of earning your BSN.  

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