It depends upon which area of the country you practice in. Many northern states require a B.S. to practice in certain fields. On the other hand, most southern states only require the A.S to practice in all clinical areas. One distinct advantage to the B.S. is that most health-care institutions require at least a B.S. to be considered for a management position. Some institutions require a M.S. in order to be considered for a managerial type position.
Many nurses complete the A.S. first, then go back to school at a later date to finish the B.S. Pay scales vary from location to location. In many southern states the difference in pay between a A.S. nurse and a B.S. nurse is negligible. Because of this, many students in the south opt for the A.S. degree.
It is true that a bachelors degree would allow an individual in the nursing profession to go into management. Managerial positions ultimately carry much more responsibility but the pay is also substantially more. In addition (where I live anyway), nurses with bachelors degrees generally earn more than a nurse with an associates degree.
I have a friend who is currently pursuing a bachelors degree in nursing. She chose to get the bachelors degree because she felt this would allow more opportunities for her, and I would have to agree to some extent. In the long run a good nurse is a good nurse no matter what degree he or she holds.
I agree with the first post. My mom has an associate's degree in nursing, and my sister has a bachelor's degree. The salaries that they each earn are based on their years of experience, the shift that they work, and the area in which they work, not on their degree.
Similarly, my sister's education did not differ much from my mom's (with the exception of newer technology, etc., from when my mom went to school) other than that my sister had to take liberal arts classes such as History of Civilization or English Literature, and my mom did not.
If you want to teach nursing or go on for an advanced degree, you need a bachelor's degree, and it is normally more convenient for someone pursuing a nursing degree to just go ahead and earn the bachelor's while studying nursing. As far as management goes, you can still hold a management position--my mom was a head nurse in the recovery room for 10 years--with an associate's degree. It depends on state and hospital requirements, which you might want to research before you make your decision on which degree to pursue.
Immediately there is no advantage. The starting pay, Georgia, for both types of degree is the same. Later on down the road a BSN will help you if you aspire to management but at the beginning of a nursing career their is no advantage.