Nursing School: The ABCs of Nursing Degrees

By Peterson's Staff updated on Monday, January 28, 2013

When it comes to nursing school and nursing programs, there are a lot of acronyms flying around. Not sure what they all mean? Here are some common abbreviations used in the field of nursing, at nursing schools and nursing colleges:

  • ADN: Associate Degree in Nursing
  • ACNP: Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
  • ANP: Adult Nurse Practitioner
  • APN: Advanced Practice Nurse
  • BSN: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • CNP: Clinical Nurse Practitioner
  • CNS: Clinical Nursing Specialist
  • DNSc: Doctor of Nursing Science
  • LPN: Licensed Practical Nurse
  • MSN: Master of Science in Nursing
  • ND: Doctor of Nursing
  • NCLEX-RN: National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses
  • Ph.D. in Nursing: Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing
  • RN to BSN: A program in which registered nurses study to obtain their BSN
  • RN: Registered Nurse
  • RNA: Registered Nurse Anesthetist


What does all this tell you? Nursing school is a gateway to a lot of options! The key is to hone in on your particular interest, see what's available, and find the program that’s right for you at a school of nursing.

About the Author

Peterson's has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, and the expert staff members here are all ready to leverage their considerable knowledge and experience to help you succeed on your educational journey. We have the information, the know-how, and the tools -- now all we need is you!

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