ABSN vs Direct Entry Masters -- will it affect me being able to get a job?

by MDabroski MDabroski (New) New

I am a 32 year old with a prior Undergrad and Masters degree in non-science related fields. I am trying to decide between pursuing an ABSN or a direct entry Masters program. Cost is not a factor, more-so time of program and being able to get into the working world.

I heard that most places will start requiring a BSN, but how does that affect you if you earned an MSN (comes with an RN license but not BSN). I would be looking into the MSN one so that I can work towards a Masters while I am already in school but completely understand that I would not have the clinical experience to start off at a higher job than those with the BSN (and not MSN). Is that really the only difference, that I would just need to start at the same point as those with a BSN even though I have an MSN?

Just trying to make sure that even though I will have spent 2 years working towards an MSN that I won't need to go back to school to complete an RN to BSN program just to get that "BSN" on my resume even though I'll have the advanced degree.

Hard to get an answer from schools on this because they all want your money and I don't have any direct contacts within the nurse hiring system to know what they'll be looking at. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Specializes in Cardiac (adult), CC, Peds, MH/Substance. Has 8 years experience. 754 Posts

You'd start off in the same place generally, as someone with a BSN. It's advisable to be very humble starting, because you will be learning from people with BSNs and in many cases ADNs, and their opinion of you will dramatically impact your future.

I'm not trying in any way to detract from the MSN option, but is there a reason you aren't really looking at ABSN programs, then getting experience while working on an MSN. You may find your clinical experiences change your vision of your future and lead you to an MSN that concentrates on something different than the one you're looking at now. Some ABSNs are.. very accelerated.



Specializes in Critical Care. Has 4 years experience. 371 Posts

Do whatever is cheaper. I went for the accelerated masters and it was way too expensive.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience. 9,051 Posts

Hiring managers in my organization are actively avoiding hiring entry level MSNs due to many issues. Overall, they have not fit in very well into our residency programs & are not as well prepared for entry-level jobs. I don't think that their programs are doing a very good job of preparing them for the real world. It seems to be a shock when they discover that there are no special considerations for their 'advanced' degree because it is pretty worthless in any entry (new nurse) job.


llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

My institution (in a different region of the country than HouTx) has no problem hiring graduates of MSN entry-level programs. We have some good quality ones in our state. We hire them into basic, entry-level staff nurse positions and find they do as well as other new grads. However, after 2 or 3 years as a staff nurse, they often seem a little more ready to move up to unit-level leadership positions that the typical new grad.

Of course ... each individual and each school is different. You need to assess the quality of the particular programs you are considering and be aware of their reputations (and hiring rates of new grads) before you can make an informed decision for yourself. It really does depend on the quality and reputation of the individual program -- and the opinions of the particular hiring hospital.