highly educated, but underpaid?

  1. Hello, all! I am just about to finish the pre-licensure year of the MEPN Program at UCSF and have encountered what I feel is a dilemma of principle

    After I take the NCLEX this June, I'll be taking a step-out year to work full-time as an RN before continuing with the Master's part of the program. So, I've been hired for the step-out year by a hospital in South Carolina that pays hourly wages based on the nursing degree held. Although I will have completed the equivalent of an entire bachelor's education in nursing in this past year, I will not graduate with another bachelor's degree or an actual diploma (as is customary of most direct entry programs). Therefore, the hospital is going to pay me at the two-year associate's degree level. What do other RNs, especially those affiliated with direct entry, think of this?
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Annointed_RNStudent
    Will you be doing the same job as an Associate Degree RN, or do BSN nurses do more than ADN nurses or Diploma Nurses, if the responsibilty is the same, I certainly wouldn't worry about it!
  4. by   TheCommuter
    At many hospitals, the ADN and BSN pay rates are very similar. The pay difference usually adds up to pennies per hour for bedside RNs with varying levels of education. Some hospitals do not pay extra for the BSN, while others pay up to $0.25 extra hourly for the BSN.
  5. by   bostongal
    Thanks for your reply, Annointed. In experience, it seems that BSN- and ADN-prepared nurses operate under the same scope of responsibilities and therefore perform the same duties. However, there is a movement, including at the hospital in question, encouraging ADNs to go back to school and get their bachelor's. So, there must be something inherent in these two education tracks that makes them different?
  6. by   RN BSN 2009
    I think the BSN just adds a community health rotation
  7. by   pepsihla
    hmm...BSN adds statistics, nursing research, more leadership, healthcare policies, family and ethics are just a few things. You definitely increase your presentation, paperwriting, educating patients and research skills.

    Getting your BSN does make a difference. I did the RN to BSN route. It took me 20 months.
  8. by   anne74
    Really, the extra classes for a BSN are all the humanities (English, etc.) that you need for any bachelor's degree. Nursing wise, you might do a community health class and make some stupid health posters. Oh - and some class on how to do nursing research. I guess all that extra stuff is nice for paper-writing, presenting, etc. - but as a clinical bedside nurse, you never implement those skills. Honestly, I think they encourage nurses to get a bachelor's because it helps the field of nursing gain respect as a profession, instead of just a vocation. Right now the general public has no clue about the education to become a nurse. I had a pt once ask me, "So how long did you go to school to be a nurse, a year?" I answered - "No, four years." He said, "Four years? To be a nurse?" I was totally annoyed.

    I have 2 bachelor's degrees, and I'm all about education, but really all a BSN does is help you if you eventually want to move on from the bedside. And, there are some hospitals - like some Magnet hospitals - that only hire BSN new grads. A BSN is essentially job security.

    So, some may say - why does nursing need a bachelor's degree, if the same education can be done in 2 years? Actually, many professions could probably squeeze their practical training into 2 years too - if you take out the general classes that are unrelated to their final degree. Do engineers need to take speech class or history? Not really when they're going to ultimately design a bridge. But that's the whole concept of a bachelor's degree - you're supposed to be well-rounded and well-studied.
    Last edit by anne74 on Apr 16, '07
  9. by   Miss Mab
    Without getting into the whole BSN/ADN debate, the fact is the OP chose a MEPN program that specifically does not grant a nursing degree prior to attaining the MSN. It's not "customary" to do so. Some of the Master's entry programs do and some don't according to their own criteria. If the results of that will affect some future aspect that concerns you then it behooves you to chose a program accordingly.

    Do I think it kinda sucks, yeah, but it is what it is and it's only for a year. The fact is you will not have earned a BSN.
  10. by   bostongal
    Thanks, everyone, for your responses. Being new to the field, there are always things I'm unsure of so I appreciate having a place like this to ask and not be judged.

    Ultimately, the stance I plan to take is Miss Mab's: it's only a year, I can do anything for a year. So, I don't plan to make an issue of it with the human resources department. I was so happy to read your post, anne74. And actually, a BSN's education can even be squeezed into one year, if you subtract the liberal arts classes that all direct entry students bring from their pasts. However, I must disagree with the last line of Miss Mab's posting. I have earned a BSN, just crammed in and accelerated in 12 straight months. I don't know why UCSF's program does not grant a diploma and other direct entry programs do - I wish they would. I also wish that more people were familiar with the nature of these programs - we are well-rounded individuals with perhaps a little more maturity (we're older, on average ) and other life experiences that only enhance our practice as nurses. Coming to nursing from another field, I admit that I didn't necessarily know what I was asking for when I began, but I am thrilled with the result and am glad things turned out this way. I'm looking forward to joining the ranks !
  11. by   Miss Mab
    Not to drag this out, but NO, you haven't earned a BSN. Or else your school would be granting you that degree.

    Yes, it is possible to do it in a short time frame. I am a second degree BSN grad who earned it in an extraordinarliy hectic, stressful 12 month format. Then, we have the option to continue one more year for the MSN.

    You chose a different path.

    There are a lot of old guard nurses who are resistant to these new pathways to licensure. You're going to engender even more resentment for no reason if you continue to insist you have earned the BSN title.
  12. by   Quickbeam
    Yes, it is possible to do it in a short time frame. I am a second degree BSN grad who earned it in an extraordinarliy hectic, stressful 12 month format. Then, we have the option to continue one more year for the MSN.
    My experience as well. I specifically avoided prestigious programs that skipped the BSN because I wanted something in my hand after the initial part of the program. I felt direct entry programs kind of glossed over this in their communications with me.

    OP, I don't think you are entitled to any BSN salary "bump". Full RN salary? Of course.
  13. by   glasgow3
    Quote from Miss Mab
    Not to drag this out, but NO, you haven't earned a BSN. Or else your school would be granting you that degree.

    Yes, it is possible to do it in a short time frame. I am a second degree BSN grad who earned it in an extraordinarliy hectic, stressful 12 month format. Then, we have the option to continue one more year for the MSN.

    You chose a different path.

    There are a lot of old guard nurses who are resistant to these new pathways to licensure. You're going to engender even more resentment for no reason if you continue to insist you have earned the BSN title.
    As an "old guard" nurse, I feel compelled to reply.

    Many years ago I had already earned BAs in two diverse areas of study and had completed some graduate work as well. Unfortunately our local economy was extremely dependent upon the oil industry and after the mid-80s "oil bust" I found myself without a job and with few prospects of obtaining one. The lone exception was nursing where a cyclical shortage existed.

    There were many nursing programs in the area, but regardless of the particular degree conferred (AD or BSN), the bad news was always the same: With the prerequisites plus 2 years of nursing courses, I was looking at close to 3 additional years of education.

    I was dumbfounded. All that education and I still needed 3 more years to become an RN. But I was told repeatedly (2 decades ago) condensing the process would be quite impossible. Nursing care is becoming increasingly complex. And surely I should understand that the clinical experiences etc. could not be compressed and still remain meaningful. And yes, you have already had elementary statistics and graduate level research design courses, but you have not completed a course entitled Nursing Research.

    Fast forward to the present. A shortage of RNs is said to exist, but the BSN programs have a major problem: How can they compete in filling that void when theoretically they "cost" twice as much in time and money as Associate Degree preparation?

    Suddenly, the impossible becomes possible. In fact, it becomes possible to earn a Masters in 2 years. The sky is the limit as to what's possible just so long as you have a small fortune to spend (or a willingness to incurr some major debt) and the money is given to a University.

    Confusing isn't it? An Associates Degree is inadequate preparation for entry to professional practice, yet a Masters can be obtained in 2 years if one holds an unrelated BA.
  14. by   Quickbeam
    glasgow3, I feel your pain. I changed careers to nursing about the same time frame you mention. Nursing education was horrific. Rigid. Unyielding. I went to night school for 5 years (in addition to my BS and MA) in order to qualify for an accelerated BSN program. There were only 5 in the country. I had to uproot, move halfway across the world & quit my job. They made it really really hard.

    I do take some comfort that nursing education has become more flexible. Too late for me but good news for career changers. I do worry about the ADN in 2 years vs a 2 year MSN direct entry...does seem hard to figure. I can share this from my university president. I spoke with him last year and asked how the accelerated nursing programs were doing. He smiled and said "ah yes. Accelerated nursing. Wonderful for cash flow". Accelerated BSN and direct entry MSN programs are cash cows for academia.
    Last edit by Quickbeam on Apr 17, '07 : Reason: typo!

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