8 months in ER; go back for BSN or MSN?

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    I have been working in the ER for 8 months. I enjoy my job. My hospital is, for the most part, a great place to work at, and I am thankful for a job in this economy, period. I have received positive reviews from my charge nurses. I have good relationships with my doctors and other co-workers. I have no desire to leave my current position.

    When I was hired, my director noted that I had an ADN and asked me "Would you be willing to go back and get your BSN in a year?". Of course I agreed. But now that I am coming up on a year, I am torn between getting a BSN or getting an MSN. I also have a Bachelor's in a non-medical field (social work). I'm trying to create a career path for myself, starting from the ER, and I feel like my mental wheels are just spinning and spinning with no movement in any direction.

    The part of me that wants to get a BSN recognizes that I am still a very, very new nurse. I am still learning bedside nursing. In the ER I am still seeing patients with conditions new to me. I think getting a BSN would only make me stronger as a bedside nurse. From the ER I would be interested in going into CCU, NICU, or Flight/Transport Nursing with a BSN. And being that I am such a new nurse, I am having a hard time imagining myself in APN roles.

    The part of me that wants to get an MSN recognizes that I already have a Bachelor's degree and it would be kind of silly to get two, especially if I plan to eventually get a Master's. I know that I don't have the grades for CRNA, nor the interest in OB-GYN for CNM. But I could see myself getting a CNS and becoming a Nurse Educator. I enjoy doing discharge teaching to patients. Other than that, I feel like I should get a Master's because it would be "more bang for my buck".

    Any advice is appreciated!!!
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

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    Why no go for a general MSN? You could do it in two years or less, not much longer than doing BSN and then later if you want to go APN route you can do the much shorter post MSN versions. Sounds like you already know you don't need a BSN to get an MSN.
    poppycat likes this.
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    I'd do an ADN-MSN program if I were you. Later if you want to get a post masters cert for an advanced practice role you can do that. If not, you will still benefit from the advanced coursework of a MSN.
    poppycat likes this.
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    I'm going to go against the grain here.

    You are just getting started in your career so your focus should be on becoming fully competent in your job - which you already said you love. I would advise you to move ahead to your BSN, but do it in a way that does not interfere with your current job. Slowly and deliberately - so you can improve your GPA on the way. Then, in a few years you will be in a very good position to take that leap to a real (not generic) MSN. Generic MSNs are not worth anything from a career perspective because they do not add any value for the employer. However, by that time you will have a better idea of the direction you want to go with your career; nursing admin? education? informatics? clinical leader? nurse practitioner in a clinical specialty?

    Taking a more deliberate educational pathway will also be much less expensive. You'll be able to keep your GPA very high, so you'll qualify for less expensive (high demand) programs. Pay-as-you-go will be a possibility especially with the tuition reimbursement contributions of your employer so you'll end up with less debt hanging over you.
    prnqday likes this.
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    HouTx, you are more in my line of thinking but I posted because I wanted to make sure I wasn't crazy! I feel like I'm repeating myself if I get a BSN, but I don't want to jump into a program that I'm not sure I really want to commit to. For the record, my nursing GPA is great! I got my Bachelors when I was younger and didn't care about having a good GPA.

    Thanks everyone for your input.
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    Does your manager REALLY expect you to follow through at the one-year mark? Or was that just an interview questions. At less than a year in practice, you would probably benefit more from Continuing Ed in emergency nursing than from an academic degree. If you are enjoying the work you are doing now, I don't see the point in getting an MSN at this point.

    I got my BSN after several years as a nurse and it DID broaden me and improve my practice. I think it would do the same for you. I also went slow & I got a lot more out of it than if I had hurried through it. By the time you get that done, you'll have been in the ED for at least two years and might want to conisider certfiying in emergency nursing or critical care. Being a CNS or Educator is great, but besides a degree, you need experience - so I'd take that off the table at this time.
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    Quote from AnonRNC
    I got my BSN after several years as a nurse and it DID broaden me and improve my practice. I think it would do the same for you.
    o

    *** I am happy it worked out that way for you and wish I could say the same. I think I got dumber in my BSN program. The level of discourse was pathetic. I would learned more skipping the BSN and instead attending more "Fundamentals of Critical Care Support" type courses. I missed a significant amount of valuable training while wasting time doing BSN related work. Oh well at least it was free and I got to do a lot of the work on paid time.
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    I am an ADN working the ER with a previous bachelors degree. I'm going for my BSN first, as that's just the path I want to follow. Getting my MSN while I'm still so new to nursing just doesn't jive with me, but everyone is different.
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    Quote from PMFB-RN
    o

    *** I am happy it worked out that way for you and wish I could say the same. I think I got dumber in my BSN program. The level of discourse was pathetic. I would learned more skipping the BSN and instead attending more "Fundamentals of Critical Care Support" type courses. I missed a significant amount of valuable training while wasting time doing BSN related work. Oh well at least it was free and I got to do a lot of the work on paid time.
    I agree that there should be a balance between the academic work (BSN) and continuing ed within one's field. In fact, I recommended continuing ed & certification BEFORE the BSN (which is also how I did it.) My BSN program brought me up to speed on how to find literature in the electronic age (Google launched within months of my ADN). It taught me how to critique research articles. It gave me the opportunity to debate ethical issues with my co-students....and several other opportunities. I'm sorry that your program was a disappointment.
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    I was having the same struggle because I have an Adn with a previous BS. I eventually chose the BSN route for many of the reasons you cited. I felt that my options for the MSN were limited because I didn't have the BSN and didn't have access to all the programs. And I'm a new nurse and have no idea where I want to specialize yet. Getting the BSN honestly felt like a waste of money and an unnecessary step but I think it will open many doors for me. Take your time making this decision. It's a hard one!


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