Career changers with degrees to become nurses or get msn degree

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    I am interested in changing careers. I have a BA in another field but want to work in nursing or healthcare administration. Do I have to get an RN certificate before I could get a MSN or could I just start from an accelerated program?
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  4. 3
    There are "direct-entry" MSN programs where someone who is not an RN at the outset can get an MSN. The direct entry MSN programs that I'm familiar with have what is essentially an accelerated BSN program for the first part of the program, and you then take the NCLEX to become an RN before completing the rest of the program (but I think not all direct entry masters programs work this way -- you'll have to look at any program you're considering applying to to find out how it's set up.)

    And BTW, it's not an RN "certificate", it is a license. You must pass the NCLEX and have a license before you can practice as an RN (or as a nurse practitioner if you become one), regardless of what type of nursing degree you have.
    DizzyLizzyNurse, netglow, and Otessa like this.
  5. 1
    Quote from Nickita
    I am interested in changing careers. I have a BA in another field but want to work in nursing or healthcare administration. Do I have to get an RN certificate before I could get a MSN or could I just start from an accelerated program?
    Please look at the outlook in this field. I know a few direct-entry MSN graduates. If you are placed against another RN with an MSN that has experience, when applying for a job, you 'may' not be deemed as qualified due to lack of direct-patient care. Even working for a year (minimum) in a nursing role will assist in your goal to be in a more administrative role.
    netglow likes this.
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    Also, make sure that any direct-entry program earns you an MSN. I know of one program in which you can earn the right to sit for NCLEX and become an RN, but at the end of the program, you have an MS degree...not an MSN.

    It all depends on the program, so check out the websites of the programs and read carefully. Call them with questions, if anything is not clear.
    netglow and Otessa like this.
  7. 1
    Also really check it all out. Do not think you have employment opportunity in nursing/admin if you have read news articles that say healthcare professionals are in demand. These are false.

    Find out what actual job titles require healthcare administration, what are the requirements for hire? See if you can actually talk with people in these roles so that you know the minimum for hire - reality bites. I do know a few healthcare administration folks that have thrown that edu in the trash due to totally being unable to gain employment in that field. Healthcare administration is the first related profession that those career changers who really don't want bedside hands on care flock to. So what I am saying this is a flooded market at least for the last decade.
    Otessa likes this.
  8. 3
    I had to make that decision not so long ago, and eventually decided to get BSN first. I was concerned that having MSN without any previous nursing experience will make me more a nuisance than a highly qualified specialist (providing I will be able to find a job at all under such conditions). I wouldn't be able to go to direct-entry MSN without getting student loans; with BSN, I hope to avoid them altogether. And last but not least, BSN lets me wait for a year or two to see which Masters to choose while taking some grad courses and easing future studying.
    DizzyLizzyNurse, Otessa, and elkpark like this.
  9. 0
    Quote from onaclearday
    Healthcare administration is the first related profession that those career changers who really don't want bedside hands on care flock to.
    I appreciate the feedback. I figured that healthcare admin was a good choice since I worked more than 2 years as a precertification coordinator for a radiology managment company (although my BA is in Ops Mgmt). I thought that it would be redundant to have two manamgement degrees, One in Ops Mgmt & the other in Healthcare Mgmt but I see that there are any others like myself that are seeking to change careers and advance to nursing as their option. I have also read that Health Admin & Healthcare Mgmt are one in the same. Having lack of experience would make a situation scarry and since I am used to the office admin setting, I was hoping for leg room to advance. Am I jumping the gun here?
  10. 0
    Quote from noahsmama
    And BTW, it's not an RN "certificate", it is a license.
    Thanks for the correction but no harm intended. I always thought that you had to graduate from an accrediated college/university obtaining upon graduation a certificate, diploma or degree in nursing and then move forward to pass tests and get a license to practice nursing...So are you able to obtain a license without receiving a certificate, diploma or degree in nursing first? So what if you pass the tests, get your license, but never complete the diploma/degree part of it. Are you still considered a RN?
  11. 1
    Quote from Nickita
    Thanks for the correction but no harm intended. I always thought that you had to graduate from an accrediated college/university obtaining upon graduation a certificate, diploma or degree in nursing and then move forward to pass tests and get a license to practice nursing...So are you able to obtain a license without receiving a certificate, diploma or degree in nursing first? So what if you pass the tests, get your license, but never complete the diploma/degree part of it. Are you still considered a RN?
    You can't sit for the exam to get the license if you haven't completed a program approved by your state's board of nursing. So you'd have to complete a program (diploma, certificate, degree) that is approved to sit for the exam and then pass the exam to get the license.
    Otessa likes this.
  12. 5
    First step: Gain acceptance to college.
    Second step: Graduate from college with a degree in nursing (Associates degree, Bachelors degree).
    Third step: Take the national board exam for nursing NCLEX and pass it.
    Fourth step: Apply for and be granted a licensure to practice nursing in your state.
    Fifth step: Now that you are an RN with a unencumbered license to practice, you can begin to look for a job.


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