Trying not to beat a dead horse

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    So I know it have to some extent been talked about in other threads, but I was hoping to get a little feed back for the Chicago area in particular. Right now I have an art degree and I am looking to get my RN. I am taking some science pre-reqs right now. I am sort of nervous about all of the people having trouble finding work after graduation. I am hoping to get advice on what I can work on now to improve my employability later. First, is it worth it to go to an master entry level program like DePaul as opposed to getting an ASN? I am mostly concerned about longer term career advancement and flexibility. I am not trying to say the ASN folks are worse nurses or anything. I am just curious if in the Chicago area in particular, hospitals are not as excited about hiring them. The community college programs are so temptingly cheap but I don't want to handicap my career because of money. Are the people who aren't finding a job mostly ASN, or are many BSN and Master grads struggling also? Second question, is it worth it to get a CNA license this summer and a little work experience before I start school hopefully the next year? Would this give me a huge leg up to get more choice of a job setting when I graduate? Thanks every one in advance. a future- I really wish I knew someone personally in the field that I could take out to lunch and pick their brain.

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    Quote from Whole Life
    So I know it have to some extent been talked about in other threads, but I was hoping to get a little feed back for the Chicago area in particular. Right now I have an art degree and I am looking to get my RN. I am taking some science pre-reqs right now. I am sort of nervous about all of the people having trouble finding work after graduation. I am hoping to get advice on what I can work on now to improve my employability later. First, is it worth it to go to an master entry level program like DePaul as opposed to getting an ASN? I am mostly concerned about longer term career advancement and flexibility. I am not trying to say the ASN folks are worse nurses or anything. I am just curious if in the Chicago area in particular, hospitals are not as excited about hiring them. The community college programs are so temptingly cheap but I don't want to handicap my career because of money. Are the people who aren't finding a job mostly ASN, or are many BSN and Master grads struggling also? Second question, is it worth it to get a CNA license this summer and a little work experience before I start school hopefully the next year? Would this give me a huge leg up to get more choice of a job setting when I graduate? Thanks every one in advance. a future- I really wish I knew someone personally in the field that I could take out to lunch and pick their brain.
    I had a non-nursing bachelors and went the ADN route for my nursing degree. I could not justify the $60,000 for Depaul's direct entry masters. I also could not justify the $40,000 for an accelerated BSN program. I know people who have graduated from these expensive options and it took them longer than me to find a job after passing the boards. I received a job offer four days after I got my nursing license. Also, I did not work as a CNA and got this job offer through networking/who I knew.

    In terms of your second question, it might be helpful to work as a CNA towards the middle or end of nursing school so it could transition into a job. It would not hurt to start working this summer though. Just don't get burned out. For example, a friend of mine worked as a CNA from the beginning of nursing school and quit her job midway through school because it got to be too much for her. People often recommend working as a CNA before beginning nursing as a way to see if the nursing field is a good fit for them.

    Another thing, a lot of people in my ADN program were second degree people. Many had masters degrees, we even had a lawyer.
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    I agree with the remarks of the above poster. I have a bachelors also and chose the ADN route (or ASN but ours was called ADN.) I am qualified now to go straight into a Masters program if I so desire because I have all the undergrad required courses already. The only advantage of getting a BSN would be if all the hospitals required a BSN as a new grad upon hire, but that is not true. Some hire ADN along with BSN new grads, you have to look for the jobs.

    Regarding your second question, yes! Work and see if you like this kind of work before you commit 2-4 years of schooling to it. Also, work as a tech or CNA during school. The people in my class who worked as tech's/CNA's were the only ones hired on the first round. Hospitals are picky. However, this isn't a hard and fast rule, as the above poster said of herself. But it does really help to have a work history with a hospital and then to get hired by them once you are licensed.

    Lastly, I would stay away from anything accelerated. Accelerated BSN or direct entry Masters. JMO. There is so much material and clinical time that I cannot imagine you wanting to accelerate. I graduated with honors, highest of my class, and am glad my semesters allowed me to spend extra time at the hospital or with my instructor or study group. Plus if you want to work, it may just cripple you. Also, I have seen some people graduate with a Masters who have absolutely no hospital experience. And this is not taken well by others in the field. Keep that in mind. And one last thought, I know that UIC direct entry Masters requires you to claim your field upon application. IE you need to apply to family nurse practitioner when submitting your application. There are 2 problems with this: if there is not room in the family nurse practitioner program to accept all the applicants, then you have to wait another whole term/year until a slot opens up in THAT field. You can't reapply for a different field, say one that does have slots open. Secondly, you are claiming a specialization even before you have started any nursing classes, before you have been on any clinical rotation, so how can you possibly for sure know that THIS is the best route for you?

    I interviewed with UIC direct entry Masters and my head just said "*****" Makes no sense. Again, JMO, but I think they are capitalizing on those people are career switchers. People who already have a bachelors, or a masters in one field. These people are trained to believe that credentials and MA, MBA or what have you behind their names will open doors and accelerate their career. That mya work in business, but nursing is different. You really need the floor experience and direct patient care before anyone is going to award you the responsibility of working at a higher pay level.

    Just my 2 cents. Go into the nursing profession smart, well prepared, and proud of your choices. Be certain of your skills first and always, and the doors will open for you.

    Blessings!
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    Thanks for both of your replies. I had one bad college semester (in which I stopped going to class at the very end and failed because of it), so I don't think I could be able to get into UIC. I wish it was an option for me. I was looking specifically at De Paul's program, which has no specialty. It seems like they just include a bunch of research course so that if you did want to go on later to get, say, a post master's certificate as a FNP, you have some a bunch of classes done. So I would not graduate and be an "advanced" nurse. The program is two years, including summer semesters which means it would be the same length as an ADN program. I would just come out the other end with more debt and a higher degree level.

    On a related note, does anyone know how much work CNA classes are? I am considering taking one this summer, with one or two other pre-req classes. Is this way way too much? Are EMT-b classes about the same work load as CNA classes? Which one is easier to get a job with after? My husband works at Northwestern. Is it very hard to get a job there? Or even volunteer? I don't care so much about pay or benefits. I just want a foot in the door for later.
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    You can easily find CNA courses at any CC. CNA is not difficult at all. You will have a time commitment tho. There is class and clinical (most likely nursing home for clinical). As far as NW, who knows. Have your husband root around a bit for you. These days it is extremly difficult to find a job - regardless. Just know what you are getting into as the other posters have said. Nursing is not a sure thing anymore. You really have to have some decent connections to get a job worth working in nursing for. Also the Chicagoland area as well as other parts around the country are saturated with foreign import nurses now. If you do get your CNA, you will be able to scope out the situation during your clinical time if you get time in a hospital - take note of this as it will directly affect you. Some networks find this gives them a financial advantage - which means less jobs for others who are not foreign imports. If you are a second career person, it's similar in some ways to the time when US engineers were laid-off and had to train their foreign replacements.
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    When I read your words "more debt and a higher degree" I got really nervous. The market is not good right now to be carrying debt. You may not get a job right away and so I would advise to NOT carry debt. I don't think it is certain either that a higher degree will help you get a job. I don't understand why you would want to take a lot of "research" and theory classes prior to your job as a floor nurse. I understand this happens at the graduate level, but during your first nursing job you need to be focused on policy and procedures and your own time management, less about theory. IN other words, you won't be using that till later in your career, 1 or 2 years in, so why not wait to go to a Master's then with 1-2 years of experience under your belt, and the knowledge that "yes", you do want to stay in this profession.

    I know this is my opinion. I wish you the best. I just hate to see people go into this naive, which you are not :-D, but thinking they need to spend a lot of money on school so to have a career. The schools want you to believe that. The jobs want you to be skilled, and only then they will care if you are qualified to become a NP.

    Best wishes!
    jessm215 and netglow like this.
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    Quote from Whole Life
    Thanks for both of your replies. I had one bad college semester (in which I stopped going to class at the very end and failed because of it), so I don't think I could be able to get into UIC. I wish it was an option for me. I was looking specifically at De Paul's program, which has no specialty. It seems like they just include a bunch of research course so that if you did want to go on later to get, say, a post master's certificate as a FNP, you have some a bunch of classes done. So I would not graduate and be an "advanced" nurse. The program is two years, including summer semesters which means it would be the same length as an ADN program. I would just come out the other end with more debt and a higher degree level.

    On a related note, does anyone know how much work CNA classes are? I am considering taking one this summer, with one or two other pre-req classes. Is this way way too much? Are EMT-b classes about the same work load as CNA classes? Which one is easier to get a job with after? My husband works at Northwestern. Is it very hard to get a job there? Or even volunteer? I don't care so much about pay or benefits. I just want a foot in the door for later.
    You're welcome Whole Life. My neighbor is finishing up his last year in DePaul's Direct Entry Masters program. He had gotten in to medical school and was planning on taking out $200,000 in student loans for that so when he decided to do nursing instead, I don't think the $60,000 phased him very much. Overall, it sounds like a great program with some interesting clinical sites. He mentioned he had to take a bunch of nursing theory classes that he does not find interesting. This was his only complaint. I know they have to take some exit exams at the end of some semesters that determine whether you can continue in the program. Bottom line though, if I had to do it again, I would still go the cheap ADN route.

    I never took a CNA class. My program did not require it at the time I applied. So, I can't give you any advice from my own experience but I don't think it would be very challenging. Another thing to keep in mind, in the state of Illinois you are eligible to sit for the CNA test after you complete your first semester of nursing school.

    I don't know much about Northwestern. My mom did their diploma program back in the day (the program not longer exists) so all I know comes from her experience and that was in the 70's and I don't think that would be much help to you. Although, the story how my parents met there is kind of interesting...


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