Should I get my ADN or BSN based on my life goals? - page 3

Hi.:D Im in my senior year in highschool. I have decided that I want to get into nursing. I just dont know if I should go to the community college and get my associates(about 2yrs) or to go the the... Read More

  1. by   kiwinarz
    Quote from grntea
    this is one of the most contentious issues in nursing: the level of education needed for a profession. as many of the an'rs know, i come down squarely on the side of a bs in nursing or bsn as entry-level educational preparation. when i had smaller kids and they asked me a question, i always asked them, "do you want the short answer or the long one?" since i can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times they ever said, "short" and still have enough left over for the boy scout salute, here it is again.

    (disclaimer: have worked as a staff nurse, inservice/staff development, instructor, nclex prep course instructor, case manager in multiple settings, and other stuff too numerous to mention. in short, been around, seen that, done that.)

    what's a profession? is nursing a profession? what's the basic educational prep for people you think of as professionals? would you want your chemistry research done by someone with an associate degree? your child taught high school math or english? your income tax advising? sure, there are good people with lower level education who succeed in life, but don't let that "we all have the same license and sit for the same exam" fool you. better education makes you better at what you do. there are any number of people who can give you examples of bsns or mns who don't know how to take a rectal temp (why does everyone focus on that and bedpans when they think of nursing, anyway?) and marvelous crusty old lpns who saved the resident's butt one dark and stormy night, but for every single one of those i will see your anecdote and raise you half a dozen godawful errors made by nurses who didn't take the coursework and didn't get exposed to the idea of autonomy in school.

    time: the bachelor's degree takes four years. the associate's degree (as or asn) takes ... three and a half, once you count all the prerequisites you're going to have to take before they admit you into the nursing program. and those who say you can work on your bsn while you are working as an rn with an as don't tell you (and maybe don't know, to be charitable) that many of your course hours from the as program are not transferrable, so it won't just be a matter of a semester or two or three. and working as a nurse is hard, almost as hard as nursing school ... think you'll have the mental, physical, social, and financial energy for more education at the same time? oh, and in most jurisdictions you can't sit for the lpn exam and work as one while partway thru a as or bsn program anymore, either.

    job opportunities: although the old a-nurse-is-a-nurse-is-a-nurse attitude is fortunately fading away, at entry level for new grads, about the same, and i realize that people who are just starting out have a very incomplete idea of what it means to be a nurse. however, go visit a hospital to look around the place and see who's working. are you planning to be older some day? do you see older nurses working in those entry-level staff or charge positions? if not, where did they all go? why do you care? you think you'll just be a sahm, right? hope that boyfriend of yours is independently wealthy, hon, cuz you'll be working.

    well, suppose you work on a general medical floor and get entranced by cardiac rehabilitation after following a patient who did it. a job comes up in the department, hooray! oops, bsn only. or you find your heart drawn to helping underserved women in a public health clinic for high-risk pregnancy. sorry, bsn only in public health. after five or six years as a staff nurse you have become a resource to new hires and your peers and you realize you have a gift for teaching. you see that a position in staff development has come open, and you are first in line at hr to apply. you got it.... bsn is the minimum. school nursing? bsn. hurt your back and want to go for a job in case management? bsn. you discover you have a gift for asking, "why do we do it this way?" and are amazed to find you want to look into jobs in management or nursing research.....bsn minimum. you are starting to get the picture now. also, many, many practice settings give you a differential for bsn. no, i know, not all, but hey. one more factor.

    growth: the questions in the licensure exams (nclex) are developed from errors made in the first year of practice by new grads, and regardless of pass rates from different level programs, anyone in practice can confirm the research: in the first year of work all new grads perform at about the same level as they get their feet under them and get used to the idea of working as an rn. but after that year, the bsns pull ahead in ways that are related to their higher level of education. why? because what we call in the ed biz "psychomotor skills," the things you do with your hands, can be done by anyone with enough practice. hell, we teach lay people how to do peritoneal dialysis at home or suction tracheostomies. but the understanding of why some things are as they are is something you get in better education: more science, more sociology, more psychology, more history, a basic statistics class, exposure to more clinical settings (i doubt if you'll get a full semester in peds, psych, ob, or any public health at all in any as program) give you the insight to ask better questions and make better decisions.

    well, dear, if you really want to be a nurse, don't you want to find yourself in the camp of folks who are grateful they learned more, rather than the ones who find they had to for advancement or competence and wish they'd done it in the first place? my answer is clear.

    wow!!! very well said. you're undoubtedly good, highly competent and exercising your evidence base nursing practice. the difference is obviously clear. thanks for this very sensible post! :x
  2. by   informaticsBee
    In my opinion & looking at your goals and life, I would probably recommend getting your associates first. Then while your working, you can get you BSN (which is usually an additional 12 credits). An associates will get you in the door quicker. Yes, employers prefer BSN-prepared nurses, however there are many that will HELP you get that BSN. Hope this helps
  3. by   JohannaR
    Perhaps you should continue with the research and do a pros and cons list for each degree. With the way the economy is and legislations and various states BSN's are becoming very popular and some times highly demanded. Most institutions are no longer hiring ADN degree holders (but this is not true for EVERY employer of course). Nursing is everything but simple, if simplicity is what you are looking for then I personally do not think Nursing is the route to go but again this is just an observation, I can be completely wrong. I hope you can figure out which degree you would like to pursue and its not too hard. I wish you the best of luck.
  4. by   Getting To Great
    Since a lot of BSN schools require ovarall gpa's; I will be going for my ADN since my overall gpa is below 3.0. I meet the standard requirment for the ADN programs since my gpa is well above the 3.0. This is the choice I'm left with and I will make the best of it and go for my BSN once I complete the ADN program.

    People have a mouth full to say that BSN is this and ADN is that, but sometimes reality and life situations does not make it possible for one to go towards that direction. Its not like once one achieves an ADN that they will not move forward towards a higher degree. Yes, one has that options but it doesn't make you less than the individual that has a BSN. The point is it depends on each and everyones circumstances.
    Last edit by Getting To Great on Nov 11, '11
  5. by   muesli
    Being a mom and a wife are admirable goals . I am both, and they are my most important jobs. They are also the most difficult, and the ones I love the most!

    I started out with my ASN, and got preggers during the final semester. I landed a new grad nursing job in 2008, but I only got it because I was an internal applicant (I worked for the hospital as a nurses aide). This is my #1 advice to you regardless of which degree you pursue - get at least a part time job in a good hospital during nursing school. I am now going back to school online at UMass Boston to get my bachelor's. Part of the reason is that there is no current nursing shortage. That is a myth. There may in fact not be enough nurses, but the fact remains that no one is hiring, especially new grads. I live in Massachusetts but I've heard this is true in other states. And when there are lots of nurses (especially new grads) competing for jobs, they usually take bachelor's nurses over associates, especially for new grads. With seasoned nurses it is a little different because experience counts for a lot. But as a new grad you have none.

    I have to tell you that if you ever found yourself needing to go back to get your BSN after you have kids - it sucks. Especially if all you want to do is be home with your kids like me. It sucks. So if you think you might need it one day, get it out of the way. Part of me wants to say err on the side of more education in case the economy sours again and your fiance/husband is out of work or underemployed. (Not to mention, 70K a year won't support a family with kids, especially when paying off student loans). But I would 100% advocate getting it at a state school which is much cheaper. At the end of the day, you will likely have student loans. Look online at 2-year and 4-year colleges/universities and find the cost per credit (including tuition and fees), and how many credits you'll need to graduate. Basically, it cost as much for me to get my ASN as I would have paid for 1.5 years of a 4-year BSN course. I am now getting my BSN online at UMass Boston at a decent rate, and with modest tuition help from my hospital, so I will have saved money overall, but at the sacrifice of time away from my kids. Alternately, I could have done my ASN then directly applied to the RN-to-BSN program, then had kids, but that didn't happen. Look at what educational opportunities are available to you in your state.

    As a side note, all my community college courses were transferable as the state U has a partnership with my community college - something to look into. You should calculate that you have at least a year of pre-req's prior to entering into a community college ASN degree program. For this reason, doing the ASN to BSN route may actually take longer than 4 years. And working after an ASN while you're getting a BSN can be good and bad; you're making money, but you're also taking time away from study, adding a lot of stress. The one reason I think a BSN is valuable simply for the sake of better nursing is that it gives you a good foundation for understanding nursing research, which helps you make better autonomous evidence-based decisions. My heart is honestly with my kids at all times, but since I'm in a profession in which I'm responsible for taking care of people, I suppose it's best to be the best nurse I can be. So I'm glad I'm getting my BSN.

    Ultimately, I applaud your decision to get your education and a solid career if anything were to not work out with your fiancee. SUCH a wise decision! And nursing is so flexible that even with kids, you can work part time or per diem and have flexible shifts (I do 3p-11p and have the morning with my toddlers). BTW, I am also an artist and hate school lol. But do it and study hard, because it is worth it!!!
    Last edit by muesli on Nov 12, '11