Dual social work/RN program?

  1. 1
    Hi everybody,

    I am torn between going back to school to become an RN or to get an MSW. Does anyone know of any programs that combine the two degrees?

    I have a BA in Cultural Studies & Spanish, and would be love to become an RN as fast as possible. Because of my undergraduate majors, I am well-qualified to enter an Masters of Social Work program, but am lacking many prereqs for nursing. It would be great to combine my studies in both areas without having to invest the time and money into two completely separate schools. Google has not yielded any results for me.

    Thank you for any direction!
    Katulka
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  4. 0
    Quote from katulka
    Hi everybody,

    I am torn between going back to school to become an RN or to get an MSW. Does anyone know of any programs that combine the two degrees?

    I have a BA in Cultural Studies & Spanish, and would be love to become an RN as fast as possible. Because of my undergraduate majors, I am well-qualified to enter an Masters of Social Work program, but am lacking many prereqs for nursing. It would be great to combine my studies in both areas without having to invest the time and money into two completely separate schools. Google has not yielded any results for me.

    Thank you for any direction!
    Katulka
    Hello,
    My situation was a little bit similar in that I wanted to go for my MSW and my MSN....in the end I turned down the MSN in order to go for the RN first.

    I figure that with the RN there is much, much more job flexibility due to demand.

    However there are also other reasons as well, and while I see RNs as being very involved with aspects which are similar to social work I also see a clear and definitive boudary between the two job descriptions. As a nurse you will likely not have time to do the work of a social worker.

    However again, when I was applying to my entry program I was also applying to an np entry program, (which takes much longer) and I was told that the entry to np programs really, really are thrilled to take MSWs. So, you really need to weigh which you want to come first, how long your nurse pre-reqs would take and so on.

    I don't know which would be best for you, go for the MSW and try to work the pre-reqs at the same time and then go for MSN or go for MSN first and earn a better salary sooner?
    Gen-I know, no help
  5. 0
    Gen-
    Thanks for your insights. It's good to know I'm not the only one interested in both fields.
    My conflict is that it's easier for me to get an MSW right now, but what I really want more is to become an RN. Maybe I should think about giving up on the social work idea, in favor of a better return on my investment in nursing...
    I'm lucky to have this sounding board!
    Katulka
  6. 0
    An RN will give you more flexibilty. You may want to look into case manager or discharge planners positions too. Typically, these jobs are RNs who do some social work. Another area might be in the ER - assisting with discharge planning, dealing with the homeless and mentally ill. I did an ER case manager position for two years and loved it.
  7. 0
    I recently went through the same dilemma, trying to decide between continuing on the RN track or going for BSW/MSW instead. The advice I received was the same as what TraumaRUs wrote to you -- get the RN and then go for a case manager or discharge planner position. With a nursing degree you have more career options in the long run, better pay, and less chance of your position being eliminated if budgets get too tight. I chose to stick with my current plans partially for those reasons but more than that, I have always wanted to be a RN and really do not want to stray from that path now that I have gotten this close to starting school. At any rate, good luck with whatever you decide!
  8. 0
    As someone who was recently trying to make the same decision, I second the advice given by traumaRUs. I was debating between MSW or RN/MSN. I ultimately decided on RN/MSN, figuring that I would pay less for the education and earn a greater return on investment. You will get better pay, greater flexibility, and more opportunities as an RN than as a social worker. There are some positions available for RNs that are similar to social work. Case in point: my best friend and I share the same job title (case manager). She works in a hospital and I work in a community mental health agency. We both have bachelor's degrees. She earns more than double what I do - because she has the title of "Registered Nurse."

    Also, if you are interested in working with the mentally ill, or in doing therapy, you can go into psychiatric nursing and eventually get your MSN to be a psych NP.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  9. 0
    Thank you all for your perspectives. At this point, I think I will continue planning to become an RN. There really do seem to be more options this way, plus more job security.

    I currently work in nonprofit social services with homeless people, and I like the idea of working in the ER as well as case management, as ways to serve poor communities. I'm also just finishing a case management class, but didn't know that was an option for nursing practice!

    Thanks again for all the help, and if you think of any other advice, please share!

    Be well.
  10. 0
    Go for the RN, I work running group homes, and the pay is AWFUL. Not worth it to get a MSW where I live. Not worth it at all. Starting salaries where I work for people with a MSW is $27,000. Of course if you are going to be doing social work for the sheer joy of it, go for it, but if you have any expenses, like food- social work is not a good field to be in, & if you ever want to purchase a new vehicle. LOL
    Good Luck, but I really think an RN/MSN will pay much better. & Most of us do go to work for a paycheck.
  11. 0
    There is a new program at the University of Southern California, in their School of Social Work, that combines nursing and the MSW degree/Case Management Certificate. I know you don't have an RN yet, but this may be an intriguing option for you.

    More info: USC School of Social Work: Nurse Social Work Practitioner program
  12. 0
    I agree with what the others have said. I have a friend who is a LCSW/MSW. She worked as a hospice social worker for years doing the work of saints. Now she's an insurance agent because she could not live in near-poverty any longer.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Dec 7, '06


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