Quote from Natalie513
I come from a non nursing background and i just want to become an RN in a hospital in the San Francisco Bay Area as soon as possible. The cheapest option in my area may be an Clinical Nurse Specialist MSN degree at SF State. But will this degree actually prevent me from getting a regular RN job, say in L&D? They offer a women's health specialty. I am also planning to apply to an ABSN program and a CNL masters program. I just want to be a nurse and want to do it as quickly and cost efficiently as possible. The CNL MSN at USF takes LESS time than completing a BSN as a transfer student (2 years instead of 3 years), and the SF State CNS MSN costs less than the Samuel Merritt ABSN, and you get both a BSN and an MSN. I don't want to be an advanced practitioner at this time, I just want to be a regular RN on the hospital floor. Given that, is a CNS Masters program a bad idea? Will i not be able to get a regular RN job with this degree?? any insight is welcome. Thanks!
Natalie513, I did a CNS program at UCSF, so I am knowledgeable about your questions. To become a CNS, your must be a nurse first (BSN) and then apply to graduate school, unless you do a direct entry master's program. I am not familiar with SF State's program, but a CNS is a clinical expert in an Advanced Practice role. Practicing in an Advanced Practice role means you must have experience. The CNL role is NOT, and I repeat NOT, a CNS. A CNL is a generalist with a master's in nursing, most often, but not always, awarded through a direct entry master's program. Those programs have to satisfy the CA BON requirements, so the students take pre-licensure courses that satisfy the Board. (I already had those courses in my BSN program.) I have looked at the curriculum at two CA CNL programs, and the courses are not all the same as the courses as those for the CNS program. If you do a direct entry CNL program, say at SF State, you will graduate like any other new graduate with no experience. Perhaps you have heard that those who already have a bachelor's in another disciple do this. And yes, if you can find a job on an L&D unit as a new grad, you can work as a staff nurse with a master's. You can work at the bedside with a master's, a PhD or a DNP! I am not a fan of the CNL direct entry programs at all, but that's another story. Samuel Merritt is expensive, I know. The issue I see over and over is that prospective students can be short sighted. If you think you might ever want to go on to an advanced practice role, I strongly advise getting a BSN. If you do the direct entry CNL, you cannot become a CNS or an NP without more education. And for example, if I wanted to be an NP, I would have to return to school for another year, 12 months, to meet the requirements.
This has been long winded, but hopefully you understand that you can become an RN via several ways. UCSF does have a direct entry CNS program for some specialities (called MEPN), but it is extremely competitive there for MEPN students. If, as you say, you can get BSN and a master's preparing you for a CNS role with no experience from SF State, I am dumbfounded. I suspect you mean CNL, but I may be wrong. I don't think you can go wrong with SF State or Samuel Merritt, both fine institutions. UCSF's MEPN program does not award a BSN, only a master's.