Planning early - advice would be appreciated

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    A little background: I have a BA unrelated to healthcare from 2009, then I graduated with ADN (RN) in June 2012, and passed NCLEX in late July 2012. I spent almost a year at a plasma donation center, and I'm now in my first year as a school nurse. I'm planning to spend at least 5 years in this district (paying into the state retirement system), and after that would like to pursue a degree for either PNP or FNP (I've got a few years to decide which).

    My concern is that while I graduated Cum Laude for my BA, I had a C average for my ADN. I'm also thinking that having zero hospital experience could hurt me as well. I'm going to start applying for PRN or PT work at the hospitals now that I'm past my "new grad" year, but that's not a guarantee I'll find anything.

    Would these aspects cause trouble in applying to programs, or are non-traditional career paths becoming common? Since I'm planning now for a few years down the line, is there anything I can do in the meantime to offset my poor GPA? I'm in so much debt from the BA and ADN that I don't think adding a BSN before an MSN would be financially feasible, but a few community college courses over a few years would be doable, for example. Or would studying hard and scoring well on the GRE be enough?
  2. 5 Comments so far...

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    If you have an RN and a BA in something else, I believe there are some RN to MSN programs out there that you could do. I think Vanderbilt used to have a RN to MSN program but there are others. This would give you a chance to get your gpa up as well. You may need a 3.0 with all your college credits combined to enter a program. If your BA had a high gpa it is probably doable. You could always pick up more certifications after your MSN. If you could find RN to MSN/FNP that would probably be even faster for you.
    RN-MSN Entry | Master of Science in Nursing | Vanderbilt University School of Nursing I think the RN to MSN at Vanderbuilt says RN and 78 semester hours of college credit. Many colleges have multiple MSN entry options try googling RN to MSN. Its so great that nurses have all these options now days!
    zmansc likes this.
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    Thanks for the info and link! My B-i-L went to Vanderbilt (not for nursing), he speaks very highly of the school in general. And it's reassuring to hear that there are ways to compensate for that poor GPA, I will definitely look into RN to MSN programs.
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    I have heard that schools typically only accept less than a 3.0 GPA if your GRE score was really great (then again, not all schools require a GRE score). I would think they would look at your RN GPA more than your BA GPA considering the advanced degree you are seeking. Who knows though. Some programs do have probationary periods for some students they admit with low GPA's, but applicant levels are at an all time high it seems. Your references will also help you out! Best of luck!!!
    fetch likes this.
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    Thanks!
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    I don't think it's going to be a situation where one size fits all programs. As was mentioned about I remember seeing several programs that would take non BSN BA degrees on a case by case basis. How they would handle your grades would be up to each program. I think you will have to do some leg work to identify the programs that might work for you and figure out if there is anything you need to do to make yourself a more viable candidate for them.
    I will say that depending on the program you want, not having hospital experience is probably not a big issue, at least it's not at my program.
    Good Luck!
    fetch likes this.


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