Associates or Bachelors?

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    I have a question that I need some help with. I currently have a BS in Criminology and work in that field. I have been taking my pre reqs for nursing, and only need 2 more classes before I start my actual nursing courses. In the past I had decided to go straight for a BSN but am currently extremely dissatisfied with my job (honestly, that's a nice way to put it). I started to think about going back for my Associates in Nursing and working for a bit, then going back for my Bachelor's. I am concerned about getting a job with just an Associate's degree, though. I know that the market is getting tighter because a lot of laid off people choose to go into the health care field (go them!) and I was concerned that only having an Associates would put me behind them when it comes to jobs. Because I already have a degree, I wasn't sure if that would help me, or make me look like I just wasn't trying hard enough the second time. Either way, I will get a BSN, it's just a matter of timing at this point. Is there anyone who could give me some advice on this - I truly would appreciate it. Thank you!
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

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    Since you already have a BS degree try looking into an accelerated BSN program. They are specifically design for people with bachelor degrees. There are a couple in the Memphis area (Union, UT and I think U of M). Some are as short as 12 months.
    That way you can get your BSN is less time it takes to get an ADN. The drawback is cost? At least way the differences.
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    I looked into the accelerated BSN program here in Nashville and am going to apply to Belmont for that. My biggest issue right now is the fact that I can not quit both my jobs. If I quit my full time job, I have to keep my part time job, and vice versa. My husband's income is not guaranteed so I am the steady provider. If I got in and could at least cover my mortgage with extra student loans (stupid, I know, but I need to make sure I have a roof over my head!) I would totally do it since it is only 16 months. I just wasn't sure if only having an associates in nursing would put me behind on the job front. Thank you for the reply!
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    Hi editing. Make sure you check into the NCLEX pass rates before finalizing your plans for a nursing school. I would also consider briding to a master's program. Patient care is very complex and a master's degree will open even more doors for you and start you at a higher salary than a BSN especially since you are talking about taking out student loans. I have heard that the VA pays nurses according not only to their experience but educational background. That may be an employer you want to consider now or later. In addition, you may want to start out at the ADN level and then work for an employer that will pay for the rest of your nursing education. Just my take if I were in your position.
    NurseNic2012 likes this.
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    Mijourney - thank you. I thought about looking in to a Master's program but would appreciate your take on it - do you think it would be odd for me to have a Master's degree in a specialty that I have no other experience in? I wasn't sure if getting my Masters would give me the same clinical experience that having an Associates/Bachelors would. Can you give me your take on that? The VA is actually where I was looking to work since I already work for the State and do not want to lose the years that I have put in there (I only need 1 more year to be vested). Thank you so much for all the help!
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    I'm graduating in 12 days with my BSN and regardless it isn't easy to find a job anywhere. Many of my classmates have yet to find a job and are still interviewing everywhere. I am a strong proponent in getting your BSN as it has been researched that patient outcomes are better when the nurse has their bachelor's and also it elevates our profession as a whole by having your bachelor.

    I have talked to some who have done Unions program for people with degrees and they said if they could do it over again they wouldn't. They said it was so much stuff to take in in 12 months and there is no way you would be able to work during it. Not trying to discourage you, just letting you know what they said. Best of luck to you in whatever you choose.
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    Hi again editing. Check the website at Vanderbilt School of Nursing and click on multiple entry options. It looks like you'll need to go to school for at least two years to get an advanced nurse practice license. Keep in mind that if you went for the ADN or maybe even the BSN, you'll be going for about the same amount of time as the masters but may not have the same opportunities for job offerings once you graduate.

    I know of a couple of nurses who work for the VA in Nashville and seem to like it although it can be a long, ardous process to get on. It may be worth it though because as I understand it, they pay more than other health care systems in town. Since you don't like your job, you may want to check the website at USAJOBS - The Federal Government's Official Jobs Site and see what's out there. As a matter of fact, I've been on the prowl on that website myself. You may be able to get your foot in the door now and then have the VA, for instance, pay for your schooling to become a nurse. If you're serious about nursing and making that your 2nd or 3rd career, put alot of thought in the MSN degree. I wish you well in your decision.
    Last edit by Mijourney on May 4, '10
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    Thanks for the info. I had checked the Vandy program previously but was worried that if I got my Master's in a program where I had no previous experience I
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    Sorry, I pressed enter when I didn't mean to! I was saying that I was worried that getting my Master's degree in a program where I had no previous experience might be difficult. Since I would basically have no previous work in that field do you think it would make a difference? I thought about applying for their forensic nursing program that they have since that would be an awesome way to combine my previous degree with my (hopefully) new one! I will check in to it again, and thanks everyone for the responses!
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    I'm one of the VA nurses...it is worth the wait, believe me. I can't afford to leave! Help! I'm trapped in nursing heaven, yikes...


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