Just starting and I need HELP pleaseeee !

  1. I am a 39 yr old full time Mom with a B.S. in elementary ed. It has always been my dream to be an RN. I have no idea which direction to go though. I still cannot believe I am even considering going back to school but I just lost my Dad Dec5th of 06 and it has left me realizing that life is too short not to be doing what you really want to do so I thought what the *!ll I'm going for it. I think he kind of put that idea in my head but that is another story. Anyway I would sooooo appreciate some guidance on what degree I should go for whether I should do it online or at a brick and mortar . I do want the highest paying and best advancment option. If anything ever happened to my husband I would have two children to support as well as myself and a mortgage etc, etc. etc. just like any other Mom would. So I have things like that to think of. Yes I do have the teaching degree but I never got my certification and to get that would take at least two yrs. of school anyway so why not invest in something I really want to do instead. I really am looking forward to getting to know everyone here.
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   romie
    Welcome to Allnurses.com! You will find that you are in good company here and that there are many her who are in their second, third or even fourth career.

    One of the first things you should do is investigate all of the nursing schools in your area to get an idea of what is available in terms of degree types and program formats, assuming that you wont be relocating for your nursing education. I think allnursingschools is a good place to begin.

    The next thing you will want to look at are admission requirements for each school and determine what you will be able to complete realistically. For example, there may be a school that can grant you a BSN in 12 months, but will require 2 years of pre-reqs. On the other hand, there may be an associates degree program nearby which has requirements that you have already met.

    If, as you said, you want the highest paying and best adancement options. then you should probably consider accelerated BSN or direct entry MSN programs, as you already have a bachelors degree. Good luck
  4. by   sunnyjohn
    Welcome to allnurses!


    Take a gander at this.

    http://www.aacn.nche.edu/Education/pdf/APLIST.PDF

    AACN-Nursing Education
  5. by   sunnyjohn
    With the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting the need for more than a million new and replacement registered nurses by the year 2012, nursing schools around the country are exploring creative ways to increase student capacity and reach out to new student populations. The challenge inherent in these efforts is to quickly produce competent nurses while maintaining the integrity and quality of the nursing education provided.

    One innovative approach to nursing education that is gaining momentum nationwide is the accelerated degree program for non-nursing graduates. Offered at both the baccalaureate and master's degree levels, these programs build on previous learning experiences and transition individuals with undergraduate degrees in other disciplines into nursing.

    Shifts in the economy and the desire of many adults to make a post-September 11 difference in their work has increased interest in the nursing profession among "second-degree" students. For those with a prior degree, accelerated baccalaureate programs offer the quickest route to becoming a registered nurse with programs generally running 12-18 months long. Generic master's degrees, also accelerated in nature and geared to non-nursing graduates, generally take three years to finish. Students in these programs usually complete baccalaureate-level nursing courses in the first year followed by two years of graduate study.

    Though not new to nursing education, accelerated programs have proliferated over the past fifteen years. In 1990, 31 accelerated baccalaureate programs (BSN) and 12 generic master's programs (MSN) were offered around the country. Today, 168 accelerated BSN programs are operating and the number of generic master's programs has increased to 50. According to AACN's database on enrollment and graduations which is based on responses from 590 of 687 institutions (85.9%), 46 new accelerated BSN programs are now in the planning stages. This number far outpaces all other types of entry-level nursing programs currently being considered at four-year nursing schools. Twenty new generic master's programs are also taking shape.

    Graduates of accelerated programs are prized by nurse employers who value the many layers of skill and education these graduates bring to the workplace. Employers report that these graduates are more mature, possess strong clinical skills, and are quick studies on the job. Many practice settings are partnering with schools and offering tuition repayment to graduates as a mechanism to recruit highly qualified nurses.

    Changing Gears: Second-Degree Students

    The typical second-degree nursing student is motivated, older, and has higher academic expectations than high school-entry baccalaureate students. Accelerated students excel in class and are eager to gain clinical experiences. Faculty find them to be excellent learners who are not afraid to challenge their instructors.

    "Our accelerated students are a remarkable group," said Nancy DeBasio, PhD, RN, Dean of the Research College of Nursing in Kansas City. "Their mean GPA is 3.3, they come from a wide array of backgrounds, and the experiences they bring with them enrich their nursing." The compressed program format is a key motivator for this group of students. "Our exit surveys indicate that the one-year program completion time is a primary reason for enrollment in our program," Dr. Debasio explained.

    Second-degree students bring new dimensions to nursing and a rich history of prior learning. "We are seeing a steady increase in applicants to our accelerated program this year, and those accepted come with backgrounds that are varied and impressive," said Janet B. Younger, PhD, RN, Associate Dean of the School of Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University. "We welcomed several PhDs, some MDs from other countries, and a few fine arts majors. These students excel in class and perform very well post-graduation."

    Students in accelerated programs are competitive, maintain high grade point averages, and almost always pass the NCLEX-RN licensure exam on the first attempt. "Second-degree candidates are excellent students and are very likely to see the program through to graduation," said Afaf Meleis, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. "These students are committed to their studies, are actively engaged in research, and very often involved in university organizations."

    Susan M. Di Biase, CRNP, MSN, a faculty member at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, knows a thing or two about second-degree students. She was one. "As a nurse educator, I have taught dozens of second-degree students who often distinguish themselves as class leaders," explained Di Biase. "When I was taking classes, I thought the students were strong academically and many said nursing was harder than their first degree. My first employer made a custom of hiring second-degree students because she thought they were good thinkers and strong patient advocates."

    Accelerated Baccalaureate Programs

    Accelerated baccalaureate programs accomplish programmatic objectives in a shorter time frame than traditional four-year programs, usually through a combination of bridge courses and core content. Instruction is intense with courses offered full-time with no breaks between sessions. Students receive the same number of clinical hours as their counterparts in traditional programs. Admission standards are high with programs typically requiring a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and a thorough prescreening process.

    Typically, students with a prior degree are not required to take the liberals arts content included in a four-year BSN program. Accelerated programs do require prerequisites, many of which may have been completed during the student's initial degree program. "Before students can begin our program, their college transcripts are reviewed to assure that all prerequisites are met," stated Maureen C. Creegan, EdD, RN, Nursing Program Director at Dominican College (NY). "Almost all students meet the arts and social sciences requirements; most do not meet the natural sciences requirements, including anatomy and microbiology. To assist students, we offer back-to-back prerequisite courses just prior to the start of the accelerated program."

    Accelerated programs require a heavy credit load and intense clinical experiences. Identifying students who will flourish in this environment is a priority for administrators. "Due to the intensity of the program, an interview was added to the admission process to better screen students," explained Maryann Forbes, PhD, RN, Accelerated Baccalaureate Program Director at the State University of New York-Stony Brook. "Faculty feel that the interview and ongoing mentoring are key components to student success."

    "The most successful accelerated students are bright, inquisitive, and sophisticated consumers of higher education who actively pursue learning opportunities," said Harriet Feldman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the Lienhard School of Nursing at Pace University (NY), whose Combined Degree Program (BSN/MS) has been in existence since 1984. "As adults, these students tend to know what they need and aggressively pursue programs that best meet their needs: fast-tracked, competitive, and well respected. While some students do attend part-time, most are full-time students who want to reach their career objective as quickly and efficiently as possible."

    "Our accelerated BSN program attracts second-career seekers who are unable to make the time and financial commitment to a generic master's program," explained Elizabeth McGann, DNSc, RN, CS, Dean of the Department of Nursing at Quinnipiac University (CT). "Our program gives students the option of entering basic nursing practice now with graduate education as a potential future step."
    AACN - Publications - Issue Bulletin
  6. by   sunnyjohn
    Generic Master's Degree Programs

    Having already completed a degree at the baccalaureate or graduate level, many second-degree students are attracted to the generic master's program as the natural next step in their higher education. "Why would a bachelor's prepared applicant, thinking about a career in health care, want to get a second bachelor's in nursing when they can get a professional master's or doctorate in every other health care field?," asked Melanie Dreher, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the University of Iowa College of Nursing. Recently approved by the state board, Iowa's professional Master's Degree in Nursing and Healthcare Practice may be completed in four semesters including a semester-long clinical internship that occurs five days a week for three months.

    "In 1974, Yale University was the first school to open its door to college graduates who were not yet nurses and instituted the Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing (GEPN)," explained Sharon Sanderson, Director of Student Recruitment for Yale's School of Nursing.
    AACN - Publications - Issue Bulletin

    You can read the rest there.
  7. by   Megsd
    Two websites I would recommend that greatly helped me in my research for nursing school:

    Discover Nursing
    All Nursing Schools - A Complete Directory of U.S. Nursing Programs and Your #1 Resource for Nursing Programs Admissions Info

    The first has lots of FAQs and basic info about nursing, as well as a search tool for nursing schools. The second helps you search for schools by area and speciic program.

    As romie said, you may want to consider an accelerated BSN program as an option. You will likely have to take prerequisites to enter, but they are generally quicker than traditional BSN programs. My accelerated BSN program is 15 months, vs. 27 months in the traditional program at the same school.

    Good luck in your journey into nursing!
  8. by   shippoRN
    In addition to Romie's advice, you might want to think about weather you will need to work while in the nursing program. can you and your family get by with one income over the "x" amount of years, it will take you to finish pre-reqs and nursing program? You should also check out the open house schedule of the schools in your area and attend them. That way you can speak to the admissions people and maybe get to talk to students already in the program. You can also get a feel for the school at these open houses, so to speak.

    Ultimately, it's going to all depend on your needs and what you believe is best for you and your family and most of all follow your gut
    This is definately do-able

    Good Luck!!!
    Happy Holidays!!!
  9. by   sunnyjohn
    Take a look at the CNL role. It is an avenue open to direct-entry students. Althouth the role is new, for soemone just starting out, it would present one of the best early options.

    AACN - Clinical Nurse Leader
  10. by   sunnyjohn
    My direct-entry program is 15 months. I will start in May and graduate August of 2008 with a Master of Nursing.

    In truth the best program for you is the one that maximize your resources. You might find that an diploma or ADN program is best given your circumstance (local waiting list, finances, family commitment, etc).

    If that is what is available TAKE IT! The NCLEX-RN is the equalizing factor as all new nurses take the same licensing exam.

    I wish you Good Fortune on this journey
    Last edit by sunnyjohn on Dec 23, '06
  11. by   sunnyjohn
    Here is one accelerated online program for you to consider. It has a good reputation here at allnurses.

    Accelerated Online Bachelor's to BSN Program

    This program allows qualified students who already have a Bachelor’s degree to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) within a 12 month time period. Students must meet admission qualifications and have completed all academic prerequisites before the beginning of the program.
    The program currently has two cohorts. One runs from May-May; the other from October-October (if demand warrants). Students take one course at a time (although some clinical courses run concurrently with a corresponding theory course) and progress through the program as a cohort. Theory courses are offered online at a rate of one credit per week. The rapid pace demands a full-time commitment to academics. Therefore, students are required to sign an agreement stating they will not hold employment during the program. There are three weeks of campus residency: approximately three months into the program students come to campus for two weeks of intensive skills and health assessments labs and the first clinical rotation. The last week of the program, students come to campus for the culminating capstone experience.
    Students complete clinical rotations in their home cities or nearby locations under the direct guidance of a qualified registered nurse preceptor and are supervised by UW Oshkosh clinical faculty. Generally, travel distance to clinical sites is within a 50-mile radius of the student's home community.
    Undergraduate : Accelerated Online Nursing Program : University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing
  12. by   mauxtav8r
    Welcome!! I began my treck to become a nurse at age 38 after a career in another field. I have a bachelor's in another field, so I took a year and a half to complete pre-reqs for nursing. Now I am in the middle of the nursing program at a large state school and I'm loving it.

    The information about generic masters is helpful. Bear in mind there are still states out there that will not let you practice without a proper "nursing degree" according to that state's guidelines. Since we might move from here one day, I've opted for the BSN. I'll go for the master's one day, but for right now BSN will be great.

    I've not discovered an online nursing program for new nurses (only for RN to BSN). If you find one, please let me know.

    As far as how long this will take you, as they say, you can't push a river. There is a ton of academic information that you need to become a nurse. I would kindly suggest that you allow yourself time to digest it. Particularly A&P and micro, patho, pharm. These are the foundation courses for your career as well as the NCLEX.

    If you have financial concerns, contact the nursing schools in your area about 1) whether hospitals will pay for your schooling in exchange for a commitment to come to work after you graduate, and 2) jobs while you go to school.

    Working in the hospital is SOOOO helpful when you are changing careers. I was not in healthcare before, so my part-time job in a busy hospital was very helpful in preparing me for when I got to class.
  13. by   mauxtav8r
    I see Sunnyjohn's post about online BSN. Very interesting.
  14. by   sunnyjohn
    The generic masters is a 'proper nursing degree'. All schools that offer this degree have a traditional BSN and MSN curriculum and are experienced in educating new nurses.

    All these programs are FULLY accredited by AACN- American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the same organization that accredites traditional schools. The programs also recieve the approval of the state BON is which they operate.

    These programs are not 'fly-by-night'. Yale's program has been around since 1974.

    Grads of a direct-entry are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN and practice in all states.

    The U of Wisconsin online program is also FULLY accredited. The addmissions requirements are tough but the program is for folks with a non-nursing Bachelor's. Wisconsin has a good reputation and word is this online program is TOUGH but doable.

    These programs don't get lots of press. Elizabells, Gennaver,ELKMN and I tend to field questions on these programs here on allnurses.

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