Which route to nursing is the smartest option?

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    First off I'd like to say hi, I often lurk these forums for information and the pros and cons of nursing but now I am the one in need of advice. I have been researching the nursing field for about a year now and I am very excited to pursue a career in nursing. I am a little impatient as well.

    Currently, I am finishing my first semester of junior year at Loyola University in Chicago. I have been researching nursing programs in the area and have come up with a few trajectories to become an RN. I should also note that I have been taking my nursing pre-requisites at the same time, so depending on the program I decide on post-grad I have anywhere from a class or few left.


    Option A: Continue to pursue my BSW. After graduation, enroll in a community college AAS - RN program.

    Option B: Wrap up my BSW and enroll in Loyola's ABSN program. (For this, I would have to retake A&P 1 since they only accept B's and above and I got a C that semester).

    Option C: Drop out of BSW program after I complete this Fall semester, finish pre-requisites in the Spring semester and begin nursing school in the fall at Res U (BSN) or a community college (RN and later do a RN-to-BSN).


    At this time, I must honestly point out how tempting option C seems to me. I would like to get into the field as soon as I can but I am also concerned whether it is best to get my BSW first. The client experience and people skills I am gaining definitely help, but since I know I am not going to pursue a MSW it feels a bit impractical at the same time.

    Basically, I would like to hear your thoughts on the best route for someone in my situation -- time- and money-wise. I should also mention that I am on scholarship probation this semester at Loyola so if I don't pull off almost straight A's I will lose the scholarship (but in this case, my FAFSA may increase).

    I would also like to eventually go into a Master's program. I was looking into UIC and they have an option for someone with a non-nursing Bachelor's who also holds an RN license. I have heard how the MSN will transition to a longer program in 2015. There is also a requirement for the A&P classes not to be older than 5 years (I took the first semester this Summer '12). Any suggestions there?

    I'm sorry for this post being so long winded but if you could guide me in ANY aspect I've mentioned I would appreciate it to the stars and beyond! Nurses are my heroes and I cannot wait to be honored by joining your ranks!
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    What is a BSW?
  5. 0
    Quote from Saysfaa
    What is a BSW?
    Bachelors in Social Work?
  6. 2
    B sounds best. You are a junior. Finish what you started, if not this may lead to a bad habit. :/ nursing is tough right now, there are Minimal jobs and you MUST have that extra "something" as a new grad to get a spot. I'd finish ur current degree and start working. While working start An RN program. Don't stop working! Keep working!!!!!!!!! Once you graduate KEEP working until you find a hospital job, then switch over.
    quirk and cinasot like this.
  7. 1
    I'd pick option B as well. Within 5 years you'll have a BSW and a BSN and be ready to work in nursing. Don't think about Masters until you have some work experience.
    cinasot likes this.
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    Yes, BSW is Bachelor of Social Work. And times are tough for social workers too. You pretty much need at least an MSW now. Anyway, I would also go with plan B. However, why limit yourself to Loyola's ABSN program? I know it's a good school, but there are a lot of good schools with ABSN programs now, and many are not quite as strict with prereqs.
  9. 0
    Yes, a BSW is a Bachelor of Social Work. I should have clarified that.

    I will probably stick with Option B since I do not want to lose any accumulated credit hours in a transfer. Option B would require me not to work for an additional 16-month post-grad. However, I have the support of family members so I do not have to pay rent and such. It is also a more expensive route than getting an RN at a community college, but I would have higher marketability with a BSN (it also could end up costing the same depending on the RN-BSN program I choose).

    Everyone I know in the Social Work program is counting on getting a MSW. I know I would need one to do anything other than clerical work at an agency. Even so, it does not guarantee employment. A friend graduated top of her class at the University of Chicago MSW program and she is still having trouble finding a job a year after employment (she has resorted to applying to a lot of BSW-level jobs but she is told to be over-qualified). It really makes me nervous considering the lack of social work jobs.

    I do plan on holding off on the Master's plan until I gain some clinical RN experience. I mentioned the ABSN program at Loyola because their tuition for that is similar to the MSW tuition. It honestly makes me feel like the nursing program would be a better investment, both personally and financially.

    Quote from Cherry02
    Yes, BSW is Bachelor of Social Work. And times are tough for social workers too. You pretty much need at least an MSW now. Anyway, I would also go with plan B. However, why limit yourself to Loyola's ABSN program? I know it's a good school, but there are a lot of good schools with ABSN programs now, and many are not quite as strict with prereqs.

    I have not heard of many schools that do the ABSN program in the Chicago area. There is Loyola's ABSN. Rush and DePaul have the Generalist Entry Master's (GEM) and Master’s Entry into Nursing Practice (MS). Or do these count as ABSN as well? Do employers look differently at master's and accelerated BSN programs?

    Resurrection and UIC have transfer-BSN programs, so they take two years to complete after the pre-requisite coursework is done. I am not sure on their policy with second Bachelor degree holders.

    UIC has an option for non-nursing Bachelor degrees to complete the Graduate Entry Program (GEP) but this is to transition to an APN (Advanced Practice Nurse). The UIC GEP program includes 15 months of pre-licensure, then after you gain your RN you can work and complete the program in 2 years (fulltime) or 3-4 years (parttime). I think this is a good deal but you have to commit to the specialty right away as far as I understand. I can finish up my pre-requisites while I wrap up my degree at Loyola, and do a CNA program over the summer (then get a CNA job) in preparation, too.
  10. 0
    Hey, I just wanted to update that I went a completely different route and enrolled in Chamberlain in January. I love it so far, and I am glad I am not accumulating unnecessary student loans. The atmosphere is so different, too. The students I have had class with are very focused and ambitious. It is a much shorter commute, as well.


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