I graduated in May of 2011 with a B.S. in Finance. I have been working business jobs since then. A few months back I started volunteering at the Emergency Department of a hospital in Des Moines, IA. After carefully considering what direction I would like to take my life in, I have decided I would like to pursue a career in Nursing. That being said, I had a few questions. I had a tough time finding the answers to these questions on the site so I apologize if I'm repeating anything. Thanks in advance for your insight.
1) I am a resident of Iowa. I would like to pursue my BSN. Should I go on the waiting list at the local community college (Des Moines Area Community College-DMACC) and pursue my RN? And then from there, should I enter into an RN-BSN Program (University of Iowa offers an online RN-BSN program with some classes meeting in the Des Moines Area)?
Or should I just bite the bullet and attend a 4 year institution and pursue my BSN? I hope that some of my credits from my Finance degree will knock out some of the general education requirements. I'm hoping to obtain my BSN in 3 years if I go this route. Attending the University of Iowa (and hoping I get into the Nursing School there), would cost me about 60K for 3 years. If I pursue advanced education on top of that, the debt will easily double I assume.
There are also private universities in the Des Moines area, but just the tuition alone will easily be 60k for three years as well. I would be living at home should I pursue this route so it would be about the same price as going to a public university and paying for housing/an apartment. Given my situation, does anyone have any suggestions regarding what kind of a path I should consider? I'm very concerned about my ability to repay my loans. I was very fortunate and did not need the use of loans to finance the Finance degree. That being said, I will need to fund any Nursing degree entirely out of pocket through loans, scholarships, grants (if any are available to a 2nd degree student). Any debt incurred from nursing would be the only debt that I would have.
2) Say I do decide to pursue further education down the road, do nursing schools give any sort of preference to their BSN alumni?
Thank you very much for all of your help and guidance. I'm confused about what is the best path to take in my position.