Short answer: it took me four years (from May 03 to May 07) to earn an AA in general education and a BSN.
Long answer: (may induce nausea or drowsiness)
I quit work (a really nice gig -- but that's another story) to enter this pursuit full time. From the get go I knew I wanted a bachelor's, so I did not look at all at ADN programs (first mistake). I was 34 years old and only had 8 college credits that were then nearly 10 years old. 4 credits in Physics and 4 credits in Calculus. The calculus covered my math prerequisite. The physics credits were kind of irrelevant.
In less than 2 years at my local community college I completed the prereq's that I was told would articulate to the state university system here in florida; however, I was unable to compete to secure entrance at the state university nearest my hometown: science GPA was flagged: 3.40 (needed a 3.60; 2nd mistake: should have applied to all the state universities).
I went nonetheless to the state U nearest to me and I asked them what I could take to compete for a spot in the nursing college and they had (and suggested I take) three nursing courses open to all students, which I dutifully took and earned two A's and an A-. I also took that semester the first semester of general chemistry to bone up on the introductory chemistry I took to earn my AA; and I also earned an A there.
That was Spring 2005. There was nothing to do for the summer semester, really, but I gathered that this time I was going to cast my net really wide in sending out applications to as many nursing schools as possible -- and I found out that I would have to take other prerequisites to compete for entrance to other nursing schools so in the summer of 2005 I took Ethics and another Humanities class (one school was labeling one of my AA humanities a social science class and declared I was therefore deficient) and Biology I. I got straight As except for the 1 credit biology lab: a C. (I just couldn't get into the lab portion of it -- UGH!)
So for fall 2005 I applied to all the state universities as well as Drexel U in Philadlephia and University of Miami, and I finally decided to go ahead and hedge my bets and applied to the ADN program since one of my teachers told me I could easily come back to Florida State and use my ADN to leverage a BSN by taking two or three more classes.
During that summer I got the bad news that I did not get accepted to any of the 9 state universities I applied to. I did get accepted to Drexel U in Philadelphia and to the University of Miami and to the community college ADN program.
Why didn't I get into my state U? I went to the dean to ask him and he told me that I had a competitive application, but he pointed out that the essay portion of the application I had completed by handwriting. He said this was just not a good thing to do. HUH??? Okay -- let's call this mistake number 3 -- but really! I asked him -- Is my handwriting legible? (I have beautiful handwriting folks) Yes, it's legible. Did I make any grammatical errors? (again... nope -- I am a meticulous writer!) Did I misspell any words? (no, no, no). Fine, that's the lame excuse I got for not making it to their nursing program.
Of the three schools that accepted me -- the CC ADN program, Drexel and U of Miami -- I did not like any of these three options!
ADN program was going to take me as long to finish as the BSN program. Okay, it's really a competition between U of Miami and ADN program since Drexel -- I then discovered took a year longer than every other BSN program out there.
In my heart I wanted my BSN though, I couldn't see the point of putting two years into an ADN program when I could put two years into a BSN program. Okay; the big difference: U of M costs a fortune!
I decided to go to U of M.
I went straight through the U of M nursing program finishing in two years (graduated May of 2007).
I am eligible to sit for NCLEX now.
However, I am 69,000 dollars in the hole because I had to take out these massive student loans to deal with $30,000 per year tuition (just went up to $35,000 per year) as well as living in overpriced and over-rated Miami.
The greatest regret of my life is not having taken the cheaper route (ADN) which would have done for me what my BSN education has done for me: make me eligible to sit for NCLEX. THERE IS NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCE IN PAY BETWEEN ADN Vs BSN PREPARED NURSES.
Because I went the BSN route I now will have the pleasure of going to work with the obligation of having to repay these massive loans.
Okay.... I'm over my little fit.
I'll be alright. I just came back from a trip to California where I interviewed with three different hospitals and all three offered me a job.
I am picking the hospital which has offered me an in house path to earn my master's in nursing and also has a student loan forgiveness program. I will be working in the cardiothoracic ICU after a 5 month Versant training program.
I'll be in LA before the end of July and my new employer is picking up my relocation costs.