need your advice... AD vs BS or BS/MS

  1. Hello,

    I was hoping someone could give me their opinions. I have a bachelor's degree in psychology that I received 10 years ago. I am looking to make a career change into nursing.

    My goals are to have an interesting, rewarding, fulfilling career that pays well and has flexibity. I want to have children and want to have a job that offers flexibility - Big factors for me are flexibility, good pay and an interesting career. Nursing is interesting to me so I am pursuing this option. My biggest goal is to have a career that works with our life goals. My aspirations at this time are not to necessarily get an advanced degree in nursing, I have other goals that are more important to me at the moment (having children, having financial stability etc.).

    I spoke with several nurses yesterday who have masters degrees. They were very helpful, but had a very different point of view of what I should be doing.

    I was planning on just going towards a 2 year associates degree to get an RN. For starters, the community college programs are much more affordable. My understanding was that nursing jobs are in high demand and an AD degree/RN is perfectly acceptable and will get me into the field with no issue. Also they don't require me to take GRE's or have 9,000 references for the program... basically I don't have to jump through as many hoops to get into these programs... although there may be a wait from a lack of teachers. That is a possible issue.

    The women I spoke with had a very different perspective. They strongly felt I should not do an AD degree, but should pursue a dual degree - BSN/Masters... some of the reasoning made sense but other aspects didn't necessarily fit in with my goals. They said I can do an accelerated program since I have a BS already... and it would be the same time commitment, but would cost more. Then if I did want to move forward with a masters to become a NP down the road I would be in a better position... (I do agree with that aspect, but at this time am not very interested in becoming an NP....though that could change)....also they said I would have a hard time getting a job coming out of some of these 2 year AD programs??? They seemed to have a bias against anyone with a 2 year nursing degree... but explained it as these nurses would not get the same opportunities and would not have the same experience, education....etc.

    I have never heard that before... I thought RN's at every level were in demand. I was told I would be fine if I just wanted to work at a community hospital but probably wouldn't get into a hospital in the City. I am not sure I even have a problem with just working at a community hospital... though it would be nice to have other options as well. Maybe my goals are just different than theirs?

    Here is my issue... the schools that offer these dual programs in my area or even an accelerated Bachelors degree program are very expensive private schools. It will cost me at least 3 to 4 times as much if not more to get a degree from one of these schools.

    I guess my question is , how accurate are their opinions? Or are their opinions just personal bias based on their own choices. They definitely felt I would be limiting myself with an Associates degree.

    Is this true?

    thanks in advance for your honesty....
    Last edit by Tealeaf72 on Dec 23, '06
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Jules A
    Hi,
    I'd probably look at a state university program for my bachelors if I was you and then down the road you could decide if you want to go further. Since you have a bachelors you will finish just as quickly with your BSN as your ADN. The state univesities while a bit more expensive shouldn't be outrageous and also you may be able to start sooner than at a CC. I don't believe there is a huge difference in getting hired as a new grad with your ADN vs. bachelors at most hospitals right now although the rumbling is that some are pushing toward bachelors degrees for their nurses so at some point that may be a consideration. As you already know others will disagree so keep in mind this is just my take on things. Sad to say but it seems within the academic arena there is a lot of competition and almost snobbery with regard to the different levels of education. I guess people work really hard to earn the alphabet soup behind their name but really its unnecessary to belittle someone who didn't choose to go that route, imvho. I'm sure others will write in with more advice for you. Best wishes, Jules
  4. by   Batman24
    I am going for my ADN first and then I will go straight into a BSN/Masters program. This will allow me to work p/t and go to school p/t.
  5. by   Tweety
    It's inaccurate to say that advanced degrees are preferred at the bedside. RN's are in demand and usually there is no discrimination for one or the other. I can say that is definately true in this area. So I think the ADN fits in well with your goals.

    I'm not sure how old you are now, but if you're young (of child bearing years, so I'll make a stretch and presume you're young) you might consider a BSN at a later time for more options as your goals and desires change as you age.

    Also, make sure you understand that the so-called "flexibility" in nursing might be true, however, that should include the understanding that you might have to work off-shifts, weekends and holidays.....without much negotiation. It's a 24-hour operation 7-days-a week. But I love working just three 12-hour shifts a week (and a little overtime here and there), so having 4-days off fits in well with a family.

    Don't rule out a BSN for the future, but it sounds like the BSN fits in with your goals and financial situation.
  6. by   Southernurse
    [font=book antiqua]hi! i also need to add my two cents here. i know that there is a possibility that there will be less for you to do with the degree you have, but with it being 10 years old, certain schools may not honor those credits. as for asn or bsn, the two states i am licensed in , fl and tn, as far as i know, do not pay higher-degreed nurses more for bedside, floor nursing. higher degrees are mainly for people who want to sit behind a desk, and have never wiped a bottom in their career. they are the policy makers who have a textbook approach to nursing. i do not get that vibe from you that you want to be so far detached from the patients. with your psyche background, you have a good leg up on patient care. from what i have noticed, the most self-satisfied nurses are the asn's. the bsn's sometimes get caught up in the competition of education, and it becomes a fight over who has more letters after their name. ad's and np's can write prescriptions, but only for a select few things. they are not happy still, because they feel like patsies to the md's. there is no level of education that will make this kind of nurse feel respected. i am almost done with my rn, and it is an asn degree. my education is not "less" than a bsn in the sense that i can tend to every need of my patient, to the best of my ability, to the fullest extent of my scope of practice. a's and b's all have the same scope of practice, but some like to be on the front line of care, while others are more drawn to supervise. the best thing about nursing is that one can find a niche and customize their practice and do cardiac, med/surg, office nursing, school nursing, or even teach. here in tn, one does not even have to have a bsn to teach. nurses are in great demand, everywhere. you will not have a hard time getting a job. most of the time, any patient care environment you do your clinicals at will offer you a position upon graduation. you will get the feel of what care environment id best suited to you, and believe me, you will have no trouble getting a job. best of luck to you!
    southernurse, lpn:spin:
  7. by   sunnyjohn
    The best thing about the Bachelors' you already have is that it gives you options. If for some reason the ADN, diploma or BSN program in your area is waitlisted or impacted you have the option of seeking out a direct-entry MSN/MN.

    ADN, BSN or direct-entry MSN/MN, it doesn't matter right out of the gate as a new grad. They all take the same NCLEX-RN licensing exam.

    Research each school you plan on attending. Talk to present and former students. Speak with the faculty. Sit in on a class (if they will let you). Check out their attrition rates AND their NCLEX pass rates.

    Get the degree your money, time and location will afford you. Look at your future goal and decide accordingly.

    Good luck.
  8. by   futurecnm
    As a 32 yr old mother of 2 young kids ages 6 and 4, I would recommend doing ALL your schooling BEFORE having kids. Even if you aren't sure you will need it later, do it while you can and so you don't have to try to go back to school later when you have kids. I am doing an associates degree because of the cost. I looked at a accelerated program, since I also have a bachlors degree in another field. I would have loved to do it, but the cost was just too high to afford. I plan to get my bachelors when I can, and hopefully find a job that will help pay for it. I would love a masters someday also when my kids are older and I can focus on the schooling. Going to school with kids is the hardest thing I've ever done. I would take all your generals for sure at a community college, much cheaper and they will transfer. I found that many colleges want the sciences within 5 years so you may be looking at taking some of them over (bio, chem etc). If you have already taken them, that is. Even an AD program is 3 yrs with all the generals/pre-reqs required to get into it.

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