BSN grad: grad school or work?

  1. 0
    Hello,

    I'm a senior nursing student who will be graduating in May 2006. My question is, do you suggest a new grad work first or go directly into graduate school?

    A lot of the schools I'm looking at requires a R.N. license to apply, does that mean working experience is a must to apply to graduate schools?

    Please reply and let me know. I'm so confused, thanks!
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  4. 15 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    It sounds like the programs you are looking at require you to graduate from nursing school & pass your RN boards first, & can then apply for grad school. I would contact each school to see if they want you to have work experience as an RN first & then apply. Every school is different. I just graduated with my BSN in May 2005 & I've been working as an RN since July. I'm applying to an MSN program & will hopefully start the program in fall 2006, but by then I'll have one year of RN experience when I start. Anyhow, I'd contact the schools to see what they prefer. Good luck!
    -Christine
    clark08 likes this.
  6. 0
    It depends on what type of grad school you want to do. If you are interested in nurse practitioner, most require several years as a RN. I think it is important to get a couple of years under your belt since there is so much that is not taught in nursing school that you experience in the real world of nursing. In my diploma program we had over 1200 hours of clinical time and it wasn't until I worked for several years that I felt comfortable. I think grad school will mean more to you/ be easier for you if you have some nursing experience first.
  7. 0
    I just graduated in May 2005 and became license in June. I'm starting my graduate program in January 2006. My schoool required 1 yr of experience as a license RN. However, by the time I start my clinicals in Aug 2006, I would of had 1 year of RN experience. The downside might be the fact that by the time I complete the program, I would of been an RN for less than 2 yrs, so I don't know how my future employment as an ARNP might be. However, education is never wasted so I will think about that when the time comes.

    To answer your question, unless your in a bridge program, most schools want you to be a license RN with an unrestricted license to be admitted as a full time student. You may be able to get around this by taking some classes as a non degree seeking student. Classes like Adv nsg culture, etc..
  8. 0
    Quote from lilboboxox
    Hello,

    I'm a senior nursing student who will be graduating in May 2006. My question is, do you suggest a new grad work first or go directly into graduate school?

    A lot of the schools I'm looking at requires a R.N. license to apply, does that mean working experience is a must to apply to graduate schools?

    Please reply and let me know. I'm so confused, thanks!
    Hello, lilboboxox,

    Many programs require RN experience and then, there are some that do not.

    I have always ascribed to the fact any individual desiring to become NP have at least 1 or 2 years of experience before entering the program. But, you will have many here that have gone straight to the NP program with zero RN experience.

    Now, if you are seeking MSN without NP, then I do not see why you cannot go right in, if your program is one that does not require experience.

    Good luck and great that you are furthering your education.
  9. 0
    hello!

    wow, thanks for all the replies!

    i have been working with my academic advisor and dean. they both advised that i go straight into graduate school to get my NP/CNS without any RN experience THEN work as a RN for a year with my master's degree to get the necessary experience, as strange as that sounds . . .

    they said by doing this, i won't feel like i'm stuck with bedside nursing (they both know i'm more of an academic person and will be likely to end up in nursing research) and can easily move onto something else with a master's degree if i wish. makes sense, right?

    inputs please! thanks a bunch
  10. 0
    Quote from lilboboxox
    hello!

    wow, thanks for all the replies!

    i have been working with my academic advisor and dean. they both advised that i go straight into graduate school to get my NP/CNS without any RN experience THEN work as a RN for a year with my master's degree to get the necessary experience, as strange as that sounds . . .

    they said by doing this, i won't feel like i'm stuck with bedside nursing (they both know i'm more of an academic person and will be likely to end up in nursing research) and can easily move onto something else with a master's degree if i wish. makes sense, right?

    inputs please! thanks a bunch
    That's not a horrible plan and it might be right for you. I've known some people who have done this and it has worked out OK for them. However, keep in mind these few things.

    1. While you are taking your graduate level courses without the benefit of practical experience ... your learning might be decreased because of that lack of experience. It often helps a person to understand complex material when they can relate it to their personal experiences. Experience can also help you see subtle nuances in the material that you would otherwise miss.

    2. You will need to get some of that "beginner-level" experience after you graduate with your MSN ... and the MSN might make it hard to find the right job. Some people may not want to hire you if they feel you are only looking for a short-term job to get some experience you don't really want. By getting the MSN first, you might be setting yourself up for a bad first experience in the work world.

    I think the best option for someone in your position is to graduate with your BSN and go through a standard new-grad orientation in the summer following your graduation. Then, start grad school part-time in January or in the following fall. It would delay your graduate school by very little ... while giving you the practical experience that will help you in so many ways. (You may also qualify for some tuition reimbursement that will help pay for grad school!)

    If, after getting half-way through grad school on a part-time basis, you want to quit your job to go to school full time ... or just work part-time ... you will be in a position to do that without compromising either your education or your development through experience.

    In the long run, you would end up at the same place in your career at the same time. ... But you would have the benefit of that practical experience that would help you get the most from your MSN education.

    Personally, I worked full time as a staff nurse for 2 years, then quit my job and went to school full time for my MSN. That worked well for me. After working 10 years as a CNS and in Staff Development, I went back to school full time for my PhD.

    llg (PhD, RN)
  11. 0
    Ilg made many valid points.

    From a business/hiring stand point, would you hire someone who is overqualified to work for less than they are worth and almost knowing for sure that the person is not going to stick around?

    Would you want a nurse w/ a BSN and years of exp taking care of you (teaching you) vs. a MSN w/ 0 yrs of exp? Having a higher degree can sometimes hinder a person from moving easily anywhere. I had a friend w/ a PhD but could not find work in his field for awhile and had a hard time finding someone who would hire him for a lower position because of that PhD.

    Many of my instructors pulled stories from their past experience to explain, enlighten, and enthrall us students. I am sure your instructors did the same thing.
  12. 0
    [QUOTE=lilboboxox;1396306]they said by doing this, i won't feel like i'm stuck with bedside nursing [QUOTE]

    What would they know about being "stuck" at the bedside anyway? I am all for those nursing jobs that do not require pt. contact, but nursing exists to take care of patients!!

    As for going on to the masters right away, I would hold off and get some floor experience first. Nurses need a good dose of the practical before moving on to the academic.
  13. 0
    Honestly, I truly believe it just depends on the individual. I don't believe in applying one "rule" to everybody. I entered my MSN program to become an NP with just 1 year RN experience. I've now completed my first year of the two year program, and have received straight As in all 9 of the graduate courses I have taken. I really do understand the material and have plenty of examples of my nursing practice to think about while we are learning all of this in school. So now i've been an RN for 2 years now and feel totally comfortable beginning my first NP clinical this month. So again, it just depends on the individual-how fast you learn and absorb material, and your comfort level.


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