Better to have a BSN as an FNP?

  1. 0
    Hi all-
    Could any NP's out there (especially FNP's) comment on how useful a BSN is when you are an NP.
    I have a BS in a non-nursing science and I am applying to a entry-level MSN-FNP program in which you become an RN in the first year and a half and then work as an RN while finishing the MSN and becoming a FNP.

    Am I better off going into an accelerated BSN program and then appplying to a MSN-FNP program as a RN with a BSN?

    -OR-

    Should I stick with my original plan and just go into the MSN-FNP program straight away and not worry about my BSN?

    Hope this makes sense.

    Regards.
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  4. 11 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    For the track you are planning, a BSN is entirely unnecessary. I'm not an ARNP, but I have met several that took your route. It's a great choice!
  6. 0
    I was reading John's Hopkin's school of Nursing website and they listed the following as reasons for obtaining a BSN before becoming an NP. Could some NP's out there tell me how valid these following points are:

    -Many nurse managers prefer their employees to have earned a baccalaureate degree in nursing in addition to a masterís degree. Nurse managers and administrators recognize the importance of the baccalaureate degree and the strong foundation that it provides, particularly with its focus in critical thinking.

    -Employment in many government and military organizations require nurses to have a baccalaureate degree in nursing in addition to a masterís degree in nursing.

    -Graduates of the Hopkins Direct Entry to Combined BS to MSN option receive both the baccalaureate and masterís degree in nursing in approximately the same amount of time, if not less, than receiving only a masterís degree in a generic direct entry masterís program.

    -Admissions at Hopkins School of Nursing is flexible in that it allows students to elect to be ĎUndecidedí for the masterís portion of the BS to MSN at the time of application. The baccalaureate program allows for exploration and experience of many clinical areas and career mentorship prior to declaring a masterís focus. A Hopkins student may declare their focus at any time prior to enrolling in the masterís program.

    -Students may change their masterís focus while enrolled in the baccalaureate program. They may also choose to take a semester or a year break prior to enrolling in the masterís program or they may choose to end the program upon completion of the baccalaureate program.


    Thanks for your help.
  7. 0
    I just wanted to give my opinion on the subject as I am currently a student in a direct entry MSN program that does NOT grant a BSN.

    If I had to do it over, I would definitely go to a program that granted a BSN after the first year. It is not necessarily because I think the BSN will be useful in obtaining jobs (I'm honestly not sure but I can say that I haven't had any trouble obtaining interviews for nursing jobs), but because it will provide you with more flexibility. When I went into the program, I assumed I would finish the program straight without stopping. But, after the first year, I really don't feel comfortable going into the NP portion without having experience as a nurse first. My conflict is that I don't want to stay in this state for any longer than I need to. If I had a BSN, I could just stop and take a couple years off and then continue with the MSN at a time when I felt more comfortable and at any school I chose. Unfortunately, not having a BSN after the first year means that I HAVE to finish the program at the school I started at since after the first year, you're left kind of hanging with no degree or certificate given.

    I know it's kind of an unusual situation but if you can get the BSN-MSN in the same amount of time as a direct entry MSN, I think there is an advantage in case anything comes up as you will have something tangible after the first year.
    Last edit by celle507 on Jul 14, '05
  8. 0
    Thanks for your input.

    You mentioned that you wanted to get some experience as a RN before going into the NP portion of your program. Can't you work as an RN while you finish your program. That way you can gain experience as an RN while becoming an NP. Maybe it sounds crazy but I am planning (if I get in) to work full-time (probably 3 graveyards a week) after I become an RN in the program and while I work on my MSN.

    I am not looking to take a break in the program. I want to finish and be on my way ASAP.

    So, can anyone out there tell me if I am going to be at a disadvantage as an NP without a BSN (in terms of pay, jobs, knowledge, skill, etc.)
  9. 0
    Hey there,

    I'm currently in the middle of my program of getting an MSN, on a RN-MSN track to become an adult NP. I don't have a BSN, I do have a BA in a Biology, and I went to the local community college to get my AS in Nursing. I thought it would be a waste of time to get a BSN to get into the nursing field.

    If you dont have Bachelors and you are pressed for time and money, get your your nursing degree quickest way possible, then take courses to get your BSN or MSN. If you want to work in an acute care setting as an NP, most places want at least 5years experience as an RN. Your clinicals as an NP studentl (in my opinion) won't be enough to send you out on an acute care setting.




    Quote from serpico79000
    Thanks for your input.

    You mentioned that you wanted to get some experience as a RN before going into the NP portion of your program. Can't you work as an RN while you finish your program. That way you can gain experience as an RN while becoming an NP. Maybe it sounds crazy but I am planning (if I get in) to work full-time (probably 3 graveyards a week) after I become an RN in the program and while I work on my MSN.

    I am not looking to take a break in the program. I want to finish and be on my way ASAP.

    So, can anyone out there tell me if I am going to be at a disadvantage as an NP without a BSN (in terms of pay, jobs, knowledge, skill, etc.)
  10. 0
    I'm starting the second year of a masters entry program right now, and I also had a BS in Biology before coming into the program. I looked at the Hopkins program too, but after talking to a few people decided it sounded like not having the BSN (if you have a BS in another science) wouldn't be a big deal.

    I could be wrong - though I hope I'm not, since I'm already a third of the way into this program!
  11. 0
    Quote from celle507
    I just wanted to give my opinion on the subject as I am currently a student in a direct entry MSN program that does NOT grant a BSN.

    If I had to do it over, I would definitely go to a program that granted a BSN after the first year. It is not necessarily because I think the BSN will be useful in obtaining jobs (I'm honestly not sure but I can say that I haven't had any trouble obtaining interviews for nursing jobs), but because it will provide you with more flexibility. When I went into the program, I assumed I would finish the program straight without stopping. But, after the first year, I really don't feel comfortable going into the NP portion without having experience as a nurse first. My conflict is that I don't want to stay in this state for any longer than I need to. If I had a BSN, I could just stop and take a couple years off and then continue with the MSN at a time when I felt more comfortable and at any school I chose. Unfortunately, not having a BSN after the first year means that I HAVE to finish the program at the school I started at since after the first year, you're left kind of hanging with no degree or certificate given.

    I know it's kind of an unusual situation but if you can get the BSN-MSN in the same amount of time as a direct entry MSN, I think there is an advantage in case anything comes up as you will have something tangible after the first year.
    Hi Celle507,
    I see your point. Yes, since you are in a program that ONLY offers a NP and no intermediate stopping point, you do need to go on through the entire program. I agonized about that too. I am at Johns Hopkins for the direct entry BSN/MSN program. I was thinking of going straight through, but I think it would be better to get the BSN, work for a year as a RN fulltime and then go on for a masters. I will see if I change my mind, but I'm leaning that way.

    I have talked to some durect entry BSN?MSN students who worked fulltime after the 1st year (they got their BSN) and took classes part time. (The hosptial does not really like you to work part time.) But after the 2nd year (that's the 1st year master's portion), they had to drop down to working part time to take all the clniccals (those don't offer much flexbility for a schedule with a full time job). The hosptial by that time was OK with them working part time because they had already worked full time for a year. It had to be planned very carefully with their admissions counselor to be sure they were able to graduate. It's taking this one woman (who will be a FNP) 1 extra year (that's 3 years for the masters portion and 4 years total for the BSN/MSN.)

    There are a lot of direct entry NP programs with no BSN, so they must feel you can go through the program without getting RN experience. However, depending on the job maarket where you want to practice, you could have a challenging time to find a job as a NP striaght out of school without some RN experience. I would love to hear more from other NPs and direct entry grads for their thoughts on this. Thanks.

    Smile123
  12. 0
    Good luck to you in whichever route you take.
  13. 0
    Quote from smile123
    Hi Celle507,
    I see your point. Yes, since you are in a program that ONLY offers a NP and no intermediate stopping point, you do need to go on through the entire program. I agonized about that too. I am at Johns Hopkins for the direct entry BSN/MSN program. I was thinking of going straight through, but I think it would be better to get the BSN, work for a year as a RN fulltime and then go on for a masters. I will see if I change my mind, but I'm leaning that way.

    I have talked to some durect entry BSN?MSN students who worked fulltime after the 1st year (they got their BSN) and took classes part time. (The hosptial does not really like you to work part time.) But after the 2nd year (that's the 1st year master's portion), they had to drop down to working part time to take all the clniccals (those don't offer much flexbility for a schedule with a full time job). The hosptial by that time was OK with them working part time because they had already worked full time for a year. It had to be planned very carefully with their admissions counselor to be sure they were able to graduate. It's taking this one woman (who will be a FNP) 1 extra year (that's 3 years for the masters portion and 4 years total for the BSN/MSN.)

    There are a lot of direct entry NP programs with no BSN, so they must feel you can go through the program without getting RN experience. However, depending on the job maarket where you want to practice, you could have a challenging time to find a job as a NP striaght out of school without some RN experience. I would love to hear more from other NPs and direct entry grads for their thoughts on this. Thanks.

    Smile123

    First off, thanks for the input.
    In the program I am doing you become an RN after the first year and a half and then continue on to earn your MSN and become an FNP. My plan (and I hope it works) is to work full-time (three 12 hour night shifts a week) and go to school for my Master's during the day. It sounds crazy I know but it's the only way I can get the experience I need and finish this program in a timely manner. Has anyone out there done something similar, is it even possible or am I crazy?

    thanks,
    Serpico


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