BASIC questions...

  1. Hi all, I have some pretty basic questions for y'all - and appreciate ALL of the responses and advice!!

    I'm serious about becoming a CRNA - HOWEVER I'm also serious about spending a few years in the military. I'm currently enlisted in NAVY as a Hospital Corpsman, but I'm thinking of talking to an Air Force recruiter to see what kind of nursing opportunities they have for me.

    Anyway, bottom line is I need to get my BSN, and I've gotta do the work online (due to expected travelling). HOWEVER, I'm not an RN and have no other degree or credits to speak of.

    Soooo, some of these may seem naive but I guess maybe I am, a little...

    -Can someone explain to me officially what it takes to become an RN? (regarding average time it takes and credits needed etc..)
    -There are many RN to BSN programs available online ... If it takes, say 2 years to become an RN (and the BSN is a 4 year degree) - this is the first 2 for RN and an additional 4, right? 6 years to get a BSN (on average)?
    -Would it be more time efficient to get a Bachelor's degree in something OTHER than nursing, and then do the 2nd degree accelerated BSN program?

    -Also, for anyone currently IN the Navy / Air Force, which branch has the better opportunities to faster get from point A to point B? (Point B being of course a BSN and then acceptance into an anesthesiology program for CRNA).

    I've been told that it would be faster to just skip the military and go to school - but that's not an option for me.

    Again, thanks for the help, it's mucho appreciated!

    Phil
    •  
  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   Megsd
    Quote from PhilRoman
    -There are many RN to BSN programs available online ... If it takes, say 2 years to become an RN (and the BSN is a 4 year degree) - this is the first 2 for RN and an additional 4, right? 6 years to get a BSN (on average)?
    -Would it be more time efficient to get a Bachelor's degree in something OTHER than nursing, and then do the 2nd degree accelerated BSN program?
    Phil,

    The RN to BSN programs are designed for people who are already RNs (who have either gotten associate's degrees previously or did a hospital diploma program, etc.) who want to get their Bachelor's. The courses are designed for people who are already in the field and are familiar with most of the basics, so they take more of the "management" and "theory" themed courses.

    The BSN degree takes 4 years or so and at the end you take a test to become an RN. Likewise, an associate's degree (ADN) takes about 2 years and at the end you take the same test to become an RN. The difference has to do with personal choice more than anything, but if you're looking to get your master's in nursing at some point, people generally recommend you go the BSN route.

    Honestly, if you want to get a degree in something else and THEN go to nursing school (which is what I'm currently doing) you're probably going to spend 5-6 years total. 4 for your original BA/BS degree, and 1-2 for your BSN (assuming you have already completed the prerequisites for the BSN). The accelerated programs cram everything into 1 to 1.5 years by expecting a bigger course load and more classes during the summer. The regular BSN generally would take 2 years.

    Hope that helps, coming from someone planning to dive in soon.

    Meghan
  4. by   Sheri257
    I wouldn't assume that an ADN takes just two years. Don't forget about pre-reqs. Programs do vary, but my school requires Micro, Anatomy, Physiology and, in order to qualify for those courses, you have to take basic Bio and Chemistry first.

    Add to that English, Math, two Psych courses, Speech, another Humanities and a Physical Education course and you're probably looking at another two years BEFORE they'll let you into the ADN program.

    Some ADN programs don't require all of this but a lot of them (including BSNs) do. Namely the Micro and A&P portions. The other stuff varies somewhat.

    I always laugh when people say you can knock out an ADN in two years.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Apr 12, '04
  5. by   orrnlori
    I graduated from my AAS with 80 credits, one usually needs 120-130 credits to obtain their BSN. In my situation, all of my general education classes plus nursing classes would count towards the BSN so I could have gotten the BSN with two additional years on top of the 2 1/2 it took to get my AAS, a total of 4 1/2 years IF I finished the BSN at the university connected to the community college where I went to school.

    However, what I have learned from looking at nursing programs all over the nation is that no two programs are alike. Some completion BSN's want different core classes than others. Usually what messes with you in trying to do this is not the nursing classes but the core classes and that's where you can get into 6 years to get the job done completely. Some BSN's are heavy in liberal arts, like literature, history, and religion. Some are heavier in the sciences or you have to repeat sciences you've already had because they don't like the wording in your syllabi from those classes. Higher education is a business and they are there to make money, period. It's to their advantage to throw out or add on more classes to get to graduation.

    To be a CRNA you usually must have a BSN then practice for a least one year in critical care areas. Then you have to undergo a pretty difficult selection process to even get in. Then it's two very very rough years to completion. I work with CRNA's every day in the OR, they are a very very sharp group. They are extremely accomplished at what they do.

    If you are already serving in the military then that's where you need to start looking for your answers about becoming a nurse. I just had a male nurse I work with switch from the Navy to the Army because he can be an officer in the Army with his AAS. He's working on his BSN and then intends to get his CRNA courtesty of the military, then retire and make good money. I say good for him. I would say you should get a BS in something complementary to nursing then go for an accelerated BSN. That would probably work best since you are serving in the military. Good luck and God bless you.
  6. by   Megsd
    Quote from lizz
    I wouldn't assume that an ADN takes just two years. Don't forget about pre-reqs. Programs do vary, but my school requires Micro, Anatomy, Physiology and, in order to qualify for those courses, you have to take basic Bio and Chemistry first.

    Add to that English, Math, two Psych courses, Speech, another Humanities and a Physical Education course and you're probably looking at another two years BEFORE they'll let you into the ADN program.

    Some ADN programs don't require all of this but a lot of them (including BSNs) do. Namely the Micro and A&P portions. The other stuff varies somewhat.

    I always laugh when people say you can knock out an ADN in two years.

    Good point. I was assuming one has already completed most/all the prereqs already.

    Meghan
  7. by   LauraLou
    Anyway, bottom line is I need to get my BSN, and I've gotta do the work online (due to expected travelling). HOWEVER, I'm not an RN and have no other degree or credits to speak of.
    If you don't have medical experience, you can't do your entire program online. You will need to do clinicals at a hospital. Excelsior College has a distance-learning RN program but I believe you need to have previous medical experience to qualify. Learning to start IV's, insert NG tubes, etc. requires hands on experience.

    -Can someone explain to me officially what it takes to become an RN? (regarding average time it takes and credits needed etc..)
    A hospital diploma (3 yrs), an ADN (2 yrs + 1 yr pre-req's) or a BSN (4 yrs).

    -There are many RN to BSN programs available online ... If it takes, say 2 years to become an RN (and the BSN is a 4 year degree) - this is the first 2 for RN and an additional 4, right? 6 years to get a BSN (on average)?
    If you have an Associates degree, it should only take another 2 yrs to get your BSN.

    -Would it be more time efficient to get a Bachelor's degree in something OTHER than nursing, and then do the 2nd degree accelerated BSN program?
    I wouldn't suggest it. Why waste time getting a degree in something else.

    Good luck!
  8. by   suzanne4
    I would not even consider doing an on-line program for your initial RN training.
    Sure, there are many programs out there but most are not recognized by the Boards of Nursing in many states. And you need BON approval to write the NCLEX exam, not just a diploma from your school. If you are looking to stay military for awhile, I would look into the programs offered by the Army. They used to have the best offers around and would pay for the most.

    Hope that this helps......................
  9. by   PhilRoman
    Hey thanks again for all of the great insight... I *THINK* I may be starting to better understand this whole process...

    -First I'll need to research nursing programs and find the best one's that fit the lifestyle of someone in the military, doing the job that I'll be doing (which btw IS in the medical field, hopefully that will help!).

    -Second I'll need to learn about the prerequisites for getting into an AA/nursing program, and start working on completing those prerequisites asap.

    -Third I'll need to get into the AA program and get the AA, which should take approximately 2 years or so (give or take).

    -Fourth, with the AA I'll need to get the RN license, right? (How long does this usually take, and is it just a matter of taking a test?)

    -Fifth, with the RN license, I can enroll in an RN to BSN program, and get my BSN (which should take approximately 2 to 3 years?).

    -The wildcard, I understand, is that I'll need at least a year in an ICU/trauma type setting. I've been told that in the Hospital Corpsman Navy program I can get this experience on the job. I don't expect anyone that isn't in the military to know this, but I just wanna list it here to maintain the flow of the process...

    -Once I have this ICU/trauma experience I can APPLY for anasthesiology school... I've heard that this is typically a 2 to 3 year program? I understand it's extremely competitive ... does anyone know what they look for when accepting applicants?

    Also, one *LAST* request, if I may (at least for this post, :chuckle ), I'm struggling a little with figuring out which branch of the military will best help me achieve my goals. I don't expect anyone not in the military to know how many credits my job training will count for or whatnot, but if you have a minute would you mind reading a brief description of the 2 jobs and give me an honest, objective opinion as to which of the two would best assist a 'future nursing student' get from point A to point B (based on the limited info given)?

    I'd really appreciate some opinions from people 'in the biz' that don't have a vested interest in whether I join their branch of the service or not


    Air Force "Surgical Service" http://usmilitary.about.com/library/...bs/bl4n1x1.htm

    Navy "Hospital Corpsman" http://usmilitary.about.com/library/...jobs2/blhm.htm

    Thanks again and I love this site...Nice, helpful people and interesting discussion...

    Phil Roman
  10. by   suzanne4
    As soon as you complete your courses in your two year program, you are eligible to sit for the NCLEX exam. As soon as you pass it, your state will issue you a license to practice. You will need to apply to that Baord of Nursing for permission to be able to sit for the exam. Depending on the state, your reslts can be available in just over 24 hours or a few weeks.

    Hope that this helps................
  11. by   nursedaisy
    Hey! I just got out of the Navy last year to pursue my BSN degree. I received my associates degree but due to work and standing duty it was impossible for me to finish my nursing degree. I would talk to your CCC and see if you would qualify for any programs like MECP, or Nurse Corps, or Seaman to Admiral. I couldn't apply because my contract was up before the results would have come back. I am currently in my first semester of nursing school and could not have imagined doing all this work while still in the military. Good Luck to you.
  12. by   Sheri257
    Phil: There are no simple answers to any of these questions. Especially if you're also looking at military options. As orrnlori mentioned, no two programs are alike at any level of nursing education, and there is no set formula, per se. Especially if you're looking at becoming a CRNA.

    I too have been looking at CRNA long term, but it's complicated. You can meet all of the academic requirements, score well on your GRE, take the additional courses many of the programs require (and, of course, even those requirements vary), and still not get in if you blow the interview (assuming you're even asked to the interview.) And, apparently, a lot of people don't make it through the interview. Not to mention, most programs prefer more than one year minimum of ICU (or, in some cases, other critical care) experience. You may be competing with candidates who have 3-5 years experience.

    So you can't just say you're going to get this done in X amount of years, IMHO.

    Then there are issues of whether CRNA salaries will remain high and whether such an investment of time and money will be worth it. Right now the physicians lobby is pushing states to license Anesthetist Assistants, who have a lot less education and training. Supposedly AA's have already driven down salaries in Georgia (where one of the two AA programs in the country are located). I don't know if the salary information is accurate, or how much of a threat AA's pose for the long term since there are only two schools in the country, but it's definitely something to watch. There are bills pending in Florida and in the local District of Columbia government to allow AA's, and I believe six other states already license them. The VA is also considering allowing AA's to practice in their hospitals as well. So, things can change quickly in the medical field, especially when the AMA is pushing an agenda.

    Personally, I'm going to wait until I come an RN first, and explore all options in the field and assess trends in the marketplace before I make a decision on CRNA or any other advanced education plans. Perhaps you should consider the same.

    :spin:
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Apr 13, '04
  13. by   orrnlori
    Quote from PhilRoman
    Hey thanks again for all of the great insight... I *THINK* I may be starting to better understand this whole process...

    -First I'll need to research nursing programs and find the best one's that fit the lifestyle of someone in the military, doing the job that I'll be doing (which btw IS in the medical field, hopefully that will help!).

    -Second I'll need to learn about the prerequisites for getting into an AA/nursing program, and start working on completing those prerequisites asap.

    -Third I'll need to get into the AA program and get the AA, which should take approximately 2 years or so (give or take).

    -Fourth, with the AA I'll need to get the RN license, right? (How long does this usually take, and is it just a matter of taking a test?)

    -Fifth, with the RN license, I can enroll in an RN to BSN program, and get my BSN (which should take approximately 2 to 3 years?).

    -The wildcard, I understand, is that I'll need at least a year in an ICU/trauma type setting. I've been told that in the Hospital Corpsman Navy program I can get this experience on the job. I don't expect anyone that isn't in the military to know this, but I just wanna list it here to maintain the flow of the process...

    -Once I have this ICU/trauma experience I can APPLY for anasthesiology school... I've heard that this is typically a 2 to 3 year program? I understand it's extremely competitive ... does anyone know what they look for when accepting applicants?

    Also, one *LAST* request, if I may (at least for this post, :chuckle ), I'm struggling a little with figuring out which branch of the military will best help me achieve my goals. I don't expect anyone not in the military to know how many credits my job training will count for or whatnot, but if you have a minute would you mind reading a brief description of the 2 jobs and give me an honest, objective opinion as to which of the two would best assist a 'future nursing student' get from point A to point B (based on the limited info given)?

    I'd really appreciate some opinions from people 'in the biz' that don't have a vested interest in whether I join their branch of the service or not


    Air Force "Surgical Service" http://usmilitary.about.com/library/...bs/bl4n1x1.htm

    Navy "Hospital Corpsman" http://usmilitary.about.com/library/...jobs2/blhm.htm

    Thanks again and I love this site...Nice, helpful people and interesting discussion...

    Phil Roman
    Hi Phil - I can't really tell you which would be best except that if you want to ultimately become a CRNA then the surgical service will let you see if that's what you truly want to do. Both jobs basically describe a kind of nursing, one is general, one is specific to the OR. In both jobs you would assist nurses and doctors and other personnel. The nurse I mentioned in my first post was in surgical services. He actually scrubbed surgeries while on duty. He went on to become a nurse. He was certainly ahead of the rest of us while going through our surgery internship program. But the CRNA does not really do that kind of nursing in the OR. The other job might be better to get the general areas of nursing in. You must be a nurse before you become a CNRA so maybe that area would be best.

    I still think it would be easier to do a general BS degree while in the military and then do the RN when you get out, I can't imagine trying to do the nursing classes while in the military, but the other stuff should be doable.

    Let me give you a site to visit to ask these questions. Go to degreeinfo.com and go to their discussions site. There are many active and previous military posters there continuing their education. There are ways to actually "test out" of a BS and never even attend class. People on there do it all the time. There are three colleges that will gather testing credits and grant an accredited degree in the US. They are legitimate. Also visit a site called BAin4weeks.com. The recipie for completing a degree by examination is listed in detail. Once you have a BS you can go for an accelerated BSN or even a MSN. It is possible if you want it badly enough and are self directed enough to study material and then take the tests. I'm finishing a BS in Individulized Studies with a concentration in Psychology. With this BS plus my RN I will complete a master's in nursing in the next few years. Do visit these two sites. Post your questions at degreeinfo.com. They will help you. Best wishes.
  14. by   orrnlori
    Quote from lizz
    Phil: There are no simple answers to any of these questions. Especially if you're also looking at military options. As orrnlori mentioned, no two programs are alike at any level of nursing education, and there is no set formula, per se. Especially if you're looking at becoming a CRNA.

    I too have been looking at CRNA long term, but it's complicated. You can meet all of the academic requirements, score well on your GRE, take the additional courses many of the programs require (and, of course, even those requirements vary), and still not get in if you blow the interview (assuming you're even asked to the interview.) And, apparently, a lot of people don't make it through the interview. Not to mention, most programs prefer more than one year minimum of ICU (or, in some cases, other critical care) experience. You may be competing with candidates who have 3-5 years experience.

    So you can't just say you're going to get this done in X amount of years, IMHO.

    Then there are issues of whether CRNA salaries will remain high and whether such an investment of time and money will be worth it. Right now the physicians lobby is pushing states to license Anesthetist Assistants, who have a lot less education and training. Supposedly AA's have already driven down salaries in Georgia (where one of the two AA programs in the country are located). I don't know if the salary information is accurate, or how much of a threat AA's pose for the long term since there are only two schools in the country, but it's definitely something to watch. There are bills pending in Florida and in the local District of Columbia government to allow AA's, and I believe six other states already license them. The VA is also considering allowing AA's to practice in their hospitals as well. So, things can change quickly in the medical field, especially when the AMA is pushing an agenda.

    Personally, I'm going to wait until I come an RN first, and explore all options in the field and assess trends in the marketplace before I make a decision on CRNA or any other advanced education plans. Perhaps you should consider the same.

    :spin:
    This is a great post, lots of good information. Right now they are begging for CRNA's at my hospital. But I've heard them talk about how the position goes in and out of favor. There's a lot to consider in this line of nursing. But if I was younger, it would be something I would look at. They make big bucks and are highly regarded at my hospital by the anesthesia doctors.

close