RN or A-BSN Program?

  1. Hello,

    I currently have a B.S. Biology and B.A. Psychology from U of CA. I have gone back to school and recently completed all of my nursing program prereqs. I have the option of applying to an accelerated BSN Program or a RN program. Both will take about the same amount of time to complete. The big differences are (besides degree type):

    1. The RN program is much closer to where I live now in the Tampa Bay area.

    2. The RN program starts Fall 2018. The A-BSN starts Spring 2019.

    3. I've been assured by the RN advisor that I'm basically in the RN program because of my GPA, all I have to do still is complete a computer competency exam. I have not applied to the A-BSN program yet because applications don't open up for a few more months.

    4. The RN program is less expensive than the A-BSN.

    My questions are:

    1. What do you recommend if I intend on eventually getting an MSN? (Since there are RN to MSN bridge programs, traditional BSN to MSN programs, and I already have 2 bachelor's degrees.)

    2. Will the BSN make me SUBSTANTIALLY more competitive in the job market? Or will my other bachelor's degrees help at all on an application with the RN degree?

    3. Is there a big salary differential between RNs and BSNs?

    4. When you are actually out in the real world practicing nursing, is there a quality difference between an RN and BSN? (I have never noticed as a patient...) Is there a PERCEIVED, but not actual, difference?

    If there's any other advice or considerations you think I should know about, please let me know. Thank you for reading!
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   jaderook01
    If they take the same amount of time, then go ahead and get your BSN. I already had a B.A. and a master's degree when I went to nursing school. I work with someone that was in a similar situation to my own, but she just did an RN program whereas I have my BSN. Where we work, everyone is required to get their BSN within a particular time frame. Save yourself the trouble of being put in a tight spot. If you want an MSN, then take the path of least resistance and get the BSN starting out.
  4. by   imtoonice
    I have some free time so I'll answer your questions to the best of my ability. I'm a current nursing student in California who turned down an ABSN program in favor of an ADN program. I had a BS in Biology from a UC just like you. I'll explain why at the bottom.

    1. If a MSN is your ultimate goal then I'd suggest doing an EL-MSN. It'll take 2.5 - 3 years to complete. Essentially, you'll complete your BSN within your first 12 months during the program.
    2. In California, I have been told many hospitals won't even look at your applications without a BSN. This is simply not true. It might be difficult to get into a new grad residency program without a BSN, but jobs are still available for those who are not picky. I know some recent ADN grads who didn't have trouble finding a job and some who did, and the same for people with a BSN. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a friend of mine said that many hospitals in Florida are still hiring ADN nurses as long as they sign a contract to obtain their BSN within a certain span of time. I think the most important factor is networking/connections when it comes to finding a job post-grad.
    3. Some hospitals give a small differential for having a BSN. In California, it's usually 50 cents - $1 more per hour.
    4. I can't really answer this question yet as I am still a student

    For me, it was either a 24 month ABSN program or 2 year ADN program + RN-BSN online or RN-MSN. I was tempted to do the ABSN program, but the cost kept me away from it. The ABSN program would've cost $80k which included tuition and cost of living. Meanwhile, the ADN was tuition free (I just have to pay for books, supplies, uniforms, etc) and RN-BSN costs $15k. The ADN to BSN meant taking an extra year but I will save over $50k to put towards my MSN education. There are a few RN-MSN programs in California that only costs around $40k tuition the last time I checked so that's a viable option too. I'm currently working as a CNA at one of the hospitals around LA. My "grand plan" is to have the hospital hire me internally once I get my RN then I'll do the RN-MSN while letting the hospital pay for a part of my tuition as I go. This route is more affordable and "safer" in my opinion. There are too many BSN grads with six figure debt who have trouble finding jobs -- I didn't want to be one of them.

    I guess my point is: if you can afford to go EL-MSN then do it. If not, there's nothing wrong with going RN->BSN/MSN, especially if you have a family/need to work while going to school. I have seen plenty of single parents go the slow route and are able to find jobs at hospitals even in a competitive area like Los Angeles.
  5. by   amberscareer
    Thank you both for replying! You both gave me some important things to consider.

    @jaderook01: I hadn't considered that eventually an employer may make me get a BSN...

    @imtoonice: I didn't know about entry level masters programs for nursing. I'll definitely look into those now!

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