Non-nursing Bachelors, Looking to Obtain BSN. Need advice.

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new to the site so forgive me if this is a repeat topic. I have a B.A. in Mass Communications/English and I'm looking to go back to school to obtain a BSN. I do have some volunteer experience and I'm certain this is something I'd like to do. I am currently registered at my community school for some prerequisites for the fall.

    I have a few questions and I was hoping someone could give me some advice.

    I work full-time, live on my own and obviously have bills to pay. I've heard that accelerated BSN programs leave little to no time for work. Is this true? If so, should I consider just trying to get into a regular BSN program and hope most of my credits from my other undergrad work transfer over?
    Secondly, I've heard that a CNA job could be beneficial (even if not for schooling, but just for experience in general). I have no experience in the medical field other than volunteer. Could I still be a CNA? If certification is required how could I obtain it?

    Thanks in advance for whatever advice anyone offers me!

    - Jessica
  2. 7 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    rn programs at all levels leave little room for work. so even if you went into a traditional bsn, you may not have 40 hours a week to work. could be that class and clinicals are scheduled during working hours or you just don't have the time to devote to both school and work. but, some people do it. they either work part time or full time outside of school hours. it can be done with a flexible work schedule and your commitment.

    if you're worried about money and you find that you can't work, you could save everything that you can between now and when you start a nursing program. you can also submit a fafsa for grants and loans to help you through. i saved for the last 3 years and i also have loans so i can quit my job and go into an adn program this fall.

    you can become a cna by going through a cna training program. the red cross has one and i'm sure if you google cna program and your state you can find more info. also look at your local cc's because they might also offer cna training.

    in my nursing program we were told that we can sit for the cna exam after we finish our first semester of nursing school. so that's another option if they allow that where you are.
    Last edit by willowita on Aug 1, '12 : Reason: font size
  4. 0
    Welcome to Allnurses!

    The "best" approach is probably different for each & every person. I was lucky enough to have a spouse bringing in a paycheck after I quit my full time job as an engineer prior to going into my accelerated BSN program ~5 years ago.

    I'd urge you to do your best to go the accelerated route. If you have to leave your job, you'll be without an income for the 12-18 months needed for your accelerated program (plus the time needed to get a job upon graduation). Think about looking into student loans to help pay for tuition & room/board while you're in school. Ask your schools if they offer any sort of scholarship to help cover tuition. In my program, if you scored over a 1100 on the GRE, you were eligible for a Graduate Scholarship (which covered up to 60% of the tuition), and if you worked ~16 hours/week as a grad assistant, the remainder of the tuition was waived.

    Note that even if you go the accelerated route, you may need to take some prerequisite courses (stuff like A&P, micro, pathophysiology, genetics, pharmacology,...) before starting your accelerated program. Check with the program adviser for prerequisites. You should try to knock these prereqs out of the way if possible before quitting your job. You might be able to take some of them online.

    If you go the standard 4 year BSN route, and you try to do that while working, you will probably NOT be able to do it while working full time. In nursing school, you'll need to have total scheduling flexibility to take nursing classes when & where they're offered. Trying to fit that into a work schedule may not be possible.

    In my accelerated program, some of the students managed to work part time during the program. One guy continued to work full time as a youth pastor while doing the accel program. Needless to say, he was very very busy. Another member of my class was a mother to 3 or 4 kids, and was also active in the military reserve. She kept up with her Reserve obligations even while doing the accel program.

    Good luck!
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    Thank you both for all of the advice and information you have offered me. I really appreciate it! Yes, I am already scheduled to take some prerequisites in the fall. Which I guess brings me to another question. I noticed many of the accelerated programs require DIFFERENT prerequisites... Some require more, some require less.... So I guess you really need to know which program you want to try to get into before hand? So you aim to meet all of the prerequisites for that particular program?
  6. 0
    Quote from JessW
    I noticed many of the accelerated programs require DIFFERENT prerequisites... Some require more, some require less.... So I guess you really need to know which program you want to try to get into before hand? So you aim to meet all of the prerequisites for that particular program?
    Yes, pretty much. Identify the schools you want to apply and take all the pre-reqs for all the schools. Make an appointment with the school if you're unsure about anything. You want to make sure classes will transfer and are equivalent to the pre-reqs they require.

    And like Cruffier said, you should be able to hang onto your full time job while taking pre-reqs. I was able to go to school at night for my pre-reqs while I worked during the day. It's doable. The trouble comes in nursing school but you have some time for that.
  7. 0
    Quote from willowita
    Yes, pretty much. Identify the schools you want to apply and take all the pre-reqs for all the schools. Make an appointment with the school if you're unsure about anything. You want to make sure classes will transfer and are equivalent to the pre-reqs they require.

    And like Cruffier said, you should be able to hang onto your full time job while taking pre-reqs. I was able to go to school at night for my pre-reqs while I worked during the day. It's doable. The trouble comes in nursing school but you have some time for that.
    Thanks again!
  8. 0
    I was in the same situation you are - BA in another field and I went the 2nd degree route. It's 19 months and it's flown by. I am finishing up the 4th semester now (we go all year) and will graduate in April 2013. I highly recommend you try to find a BSN program that works for you and go the accelerated route if possible. I realize some people can't do this, but if you can afford it (time and $), you will be better off IMO.

    Keep in mind that some programs give extra points for taking the pre-reqs at their school, so do check before you do them all at a CC. The pre-reqs are all handled differently too. Some preload all the non-nursing classes including patho and pharm and some don't. Also, keep in mind that basic science classes like bio and chem have expiration dates, so check with your prospective schools to be sure that you are okay.

    So, shop around if you can and find the program that makes the most of your existing credits AND has a good NCLEX pass rate. Good luck!
  9. 0
    Quote from JessW
    Thank you both for all of the advice and information you have offered me. I really appreciate it! Yes, I am already scheduled to take some prerequisites in the fall. Which I guess brings me to another question. I noticed many of the accelerated programs require DIFFERENT prerequisites... Some require more, some require less.... So I guess you really need to know which program you want to try to get into before hand? So you aim to meet all of the prerequisites for that particular program?
    When I was looking to go into an accelerated program, I was doing prerequisites for TWO local programs. This was done to "hedge my bet", since I wasn't sure that I was going to get into my top choice.

    It's all about doing what you've got to do.


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