BSN vs MSN

  1. 0
    I am 43 and considering between pursuing an accelerated BSN versus a direct entry MSN. I've finished all the prerequisites for both programs including pharmacology and pathophysiology. I've been accepted into Sac State's accelerated BSN program starting in June and waitlisted on U of San Diego's MSN's program for CNL's program. I'm suppose to hear back from them in a couple of weeks. Of course if I don't hear back from them it's a moot point but I'm worried that if I do hear from them I'll have to make a very fast decision because Sac State's program starts June 1st and I"ll be moving up there the first week in May.

    If I were to go to USD it would be a fantastic program but the tuition alone is about $80K and is two years long. I'd have an MSN and a higher income but a higher debt load coming out (I could come out of Sac State debt free). I think with a MSN I'd be doing the work I'd really like to do as a nurse. As a BSN I think I'd still want to go back and get my MSN but not sure I could handle working and going to school. Still if I got my BSN work could pay for some of the cost of school and once I got into nursing my interests in nursing might change and the program of study might change with it.

    What do you think? Is it better at this age to just go for broke and get all the schooling and debt out of the way first or to go one step at a time and go as debt free as possible and gain experience as I go. BTW, this is a career change for me and I have no nursing experience already.

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  2. 11 Comments...

  3. 0
    Well one thing is I that I don't think you can count on starting out in a higher paid master's level positions straight out of a direct entry program. The CNL position is new, not widely understood or utilized, so there aren't a ton a positions out there for graduates (in my understanding and perhaps despite what school recruiters may say). You may also be expected to work a year or two as an RN before being considered for a higher level position... and I'm not sure how far one year part-time work while finishing the master's portions will take you.

    Definitely ask the school about the placement rate and type of jobs their graduates reported after graduation. Hopefully, they have such data available.

    Good luck! This will be a nice dilemma to have if accepted to both!!!
  4. 0
    I have a question about the direct entry MSN:

    After graduation, would you then be a Nurse Practioner? Or just an RN with a Master's?

    Whichever one you choose, congratulations!!
  5. 1
    I would be an RN with an MSN. I'd have an option to go directly into an NP program though as a 1 year extension. That brings up another topic. The Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article a few days about about doctors of nursings which might be another path of study.
    graceomalleyRN likes this.
  6. 0
    What is your current career? Do you have any medical experience? (for example... worked in Dr's office, volunteered in a hospital, EMT, etc.)

    My suggestion, based on the fact that this is a career change for you, is to go for the BSN - especially if you will come out debt free. At this point in your life, you know how important that is!

    You can certainly earn a very respectable salary, continue to build up your retirement fund / 401k / etc. as you learn what your true desires are within the vast field of nursing. And then you can easily continue your education toward that end, perhaps even part time while working over the next couple of years.

    My $0.02.

    Best of luck!!

    ~Anthony
  7. 0
    Hermosa

    I'd just add that I struggled with pretty much the same thing. I am currently an accelerated BSN student with one more semester to go. My debt will be considerably less than if I had chosen to go right into an NP program. I like the idea of working as a BSN and perhaps continuing on. There are hospitals, at least around where I am, that offer baylor hours (work 24, get paid for 36 or some variation of that) which would be great for continuing in school. Perhaps you can find something like that,while gaining experience and clarity about the area of nursing you are interested in.

    Just curious, how long is the accelerated program?

    Best of luck.
  8. 0
    Anthony - I was formerly a Financial Analyst in the Health Care Industry

    Trihn - it's a 15 month program. I was going to be in a 12 month program but it was a private college and $50K but then I notice that I was accepted into this program.... dropped the other like a stone!!!
  9. 0
    I would go for the (less expensive) ABSN for several reasons:

    I graduated from a private ABSN program (probably the one that you rejected) and the amount of debt that I have now is crushing. Because you can't really work to earn a living during the ABSN or the first year of entry level Masters programs, you may have to take out extra loans to cover living expenses. Since you already have a Bachelors degree, most of the loans will have to be private, and the interest on them is very high.

    Without bedside experience, you may have difficulty finding MSN level work with your entry level MSN. I am now working with two nurses who got entry level MSN's, and they make the same money as a bedside nurse as I do. Also, I have sensed a certain lack of respect among RNs for MSNs who have never worked at the bedside, especially when they are administrators and educators directing hospital policy. I get some subtle attitude from certain co-workers just for having completed an ABSN program; their scorn for the entry level Masters grads is even greater. There is a perception by some that we haven't paid our dues. Of course you shouldn't base your decision on the potential pettiness of coworkers, but it is a social phenomenon of which you should be aware.

    Many entry level MSN programs require you to pick a specialty fairly early in the programs. But how can you know what area truly interests you unless you've spent time working in the field?

    Finally, it's not that hard to get your Masters while working. Some hospitals are very flexible with scheduling around your schooling needs, and some even offer scholarships or help with tuition. One of my friends is in a local Masters program right now, works 24-32 hours per week as a floor nurse, and even has time to take vacations.

    That was just my 2 cents. I wish you the best of luck whatever you decide, and congrats on being accepted into nursing school!
  10. 0
    Quote from NOCnewbie
    I would go for the (less expensive) ABSN for several reasons:

    I graduated from a private ABSN program (probably the one that you rejected) and the amount of debt that I have now is crushing. Because you can't really work to earn a living during the ABSN or the first year of entry level Masters programs, you may have to take out extra loans to cover living expenses. Since you already have a Bachelors degree, most of the loans will have to be private, and the interest on them is very high.

    Without bedside experience, you may have difficulty finding MSN level work with your entry level MSN. I am now working with two nurses who got entry level MSN's, and they make the same money as a bedside nurse as I do. Also, I have sensed a certain lack of respect among RNs for MSNs who have never worked at the bedside, especially when they are administrators and educators directing hospital policy. I get some subtle attitude from certain co-workers just for having completed an ABSN program; their scorn for the entry level Masters grads is even greater. There is a perception by some that we haven't paid our dues. Of course you shouldn't base your decision on the potential pettiness of coworkers, but it is a social phenomenon of which you should be aware.

    Many entry level MSN programs require you to pick a specialty fairly early in the programs. But how can you know what area truly interests you unless you've spent time working in the field?

    Finally, it's not that hard to get your Masters while working. Some hospitals are very flexible with scheduling around your schooling needs, and some even offer scholarships or help with tuition. One of my friends is in a local Masters program right now, works 24-32 hours per week as a floor nurse, and even has time to take vacations.

    That was just my 2 cents. I wish you the best of luck whatever you decide, and congrats on being accepted into nursing school!
    I agree with nearly everything you said. I would, however, take issue with your implication that the only motivation or rationale experienced RNs could have for trepidation about direct-entry level Master's programs (or, for that matter, ABSN programs) is "pettiness."
  11. 1
    Quote from elkpark
    I agree with nearly everything you said. I would, however, take issue with your implication that the only motivation or rationale experienced RNs could have for trepidation about direct-entry level Master's programs (or, for that matter, ABSN programs) is "pettiness."
    Sorry, elkpark. I did not mean to imply that "pettiness" was the only reason one could have for trepidation. When I chose that word I was recalling certain personal interactions (with people who were generally unpleasant to all and would use anything for ammo) I had had as a brand new hire at my hospital and did not mean to extrapolate to everyone who might have objections to such programs.
    elkpark likes this.


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