Congratulations! You’ve finished the hard work of obtaining your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. With your new diploma in hand, you may be wondering how to write nursing credentials on your résumé. Is it RN BSN or BSN RN?
A lot of newly minted BSN nurses are in your shoes, wanting to present RN BSN credentials properly. So, don’t worry — we are here to help.
Why Is It Important to Display Your Nursing Credentials?
It may seem like they are just initials, but the RN BSN combination means so much more. First, it shows that you have earned their use by meeting very specific standards set by your school of nursing, state licensing board and other regulatory bodies.
Additionally, the RN BSN credentials communicate important information about you as a nursing professional. They tell potential employers, doctors, nurses and patients about your highest degree, licenses, certifications and awards.
How to Write Your Nursing Credentials
So, which is it: RN BSN or BSN RN? We consulted Cecilia J. Maier, MS, RN, CNE, one of Chamberlain University’s faculty experts on this topic, and received a surprising answer:
There are no official regulations on how to write your RN BSN signature. In fact, there are situations when you should display your nursing degrees and accreditation differently. Here are Professor Maier’s takeaways on whether you write RN or BSN first.
- 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 an RN BSN signature. And, if you’re a nurse educator (or on your way to becoming one), you would use a BSN RN signature.
Please note that there is a comma between BSN and RN / RN and BSN, licensure, and certifications. Nurses should include them when they display nursing credentials.
Another View on How to List Nursing Credentials
There is yet another school of thought in the RN BSN-BSN RN debate. According to the American Nurse Association (ANA) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), this is the nursing credentials order:
- Highest earned degree
- State designations or requirements
- National certifications
- Awards and honors
- Other recognitions
The ANA and ANCC believe nursing credentials should be listed this way because your degree has the most permanence. This means that your nursing degree — BSN, MSN, DNP, or PhD — is what people should know first about you as a nurse.
“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.”
Why Is This Order Recommended?
The ANCC affirms this recommendation in its brochure, How to Display Your Credentials:
“The education degree comes first because it is a ‘permanent’ credential, meaning it cannot be taken away except under extreme circumstances. The next two credentials (licensure and state designations/requirements) are required for you to practice. National certification is sometimes voluntary, and awards, honors and other recognitions are always voluntary.”
What Nursing Credentials Should I Include?
You may want to follow the ANCC list above when deciding the importance of the nursing credentials you want to display after your name.
ANCC offers this explanation of nursing credentials that may help you decide what to include:
- Educational degrees: “Include doctoral degrees (PhD, DrPH, DNS, EdD, DNP), master’s degrees (MSN, MS, MA), bachelor’s degrees (BS, BSN, BA), and associate degrees (AD, ADN),” the ANCC says.
- Licensure credentials: RN, LPN
- State designations or requirements: Include designations that show you are authorized to practice at an advanced level, the ANCC recommends. These include advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), nurse practitioner (NP) and clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
- National certification: Awarded through accredited certifying bodies such as the ANCC, these recognitions include registered nurse-board certified (RN-BC) and family nurse practitioner-board certified (FNP-BC).
- Awards and honors: These recognize outstanding achievements in nursing, and include such titles as Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN).
- Other certifications: These could be non-nursing certifications that signify you’ve gained additional skills. “One example is the EMT-Basic/EMT awarded by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians,” the ANCC explains.
Keep in mind that If you list too many credentials, your RN BSN or BSN RN signature may resemble what many call “alphabet soup.” You don’t want to dilute your key accomplishments by stacking too many initials after your name. You can always include more detail on your résumé.
Making Your RN BSN or BSN RN Choice
As we’ve learned, how you display your RN BSN signature depends on the institution you’re working for or the situation in which you are using your credentials. But with such impressive professional nursing credentials to write after your name, you can’t really go wrong. No matter how you decide to display your RN BSN title, you should take pride in the great achievement of earning a bachelor’s degree.
If you’re interested in enrolling in a BSN nursing program, Chamberlain has options that can help you advance your education and expand your knowledge.
Through our RN to BSN online degree completion option, you may be able to earn your nursing degree in as little as one year.1 With 100% of the coursework online, you have the flexibility to work on your RN to BSN studies when it’s convenient for you.
You may also choose to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at one of Chamberlain’s campuses across the United States. There’s also a BSN online option that offers the best of both academic environments. In this hybrid learning model, you’ll combine online coursework with on-site clinical experience. In this nursing program, you may be able to earn your degree in as few as three years.
Chamberlain provides the support you need to find the success you want. We can help you explore your BSN degree options. And, you’re never alone as a Chamberlain nursing student. Our comprehensive student support even includes coaching from experienced nurse educators.
For more information, call us at 877.751.5783 or get started online. Add a BSN to your RN and reap the benefits of an extraordinary nursing career.
- RN to BSN Online Option
- Why Nurses Should Earn Their BSN Degree
- RN vs. BSN: What’s the Difference Between RN and BSN?
- Top 4 Benefits of Online RN to BSN Programs
- RN to BSN Cost: How to Find the Best RN to BSN Tuition Rate
Chamberlain University, an accredited institution, offers bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs in nursing and healthcare professions. With a growing network of campuses and robust online programs, Chamberlain continues to build on more than 130 years of excellence in preparing extraordinary healthcare professionals.
1With full-time enrollment
By Chamberlain University
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