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Best educational path for older student?

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Hi- I'm 41 and working through my pre-requisites at community college. Very much enjoying studying sciences and finally pursuing the goal of nursing in a real way after years in a very different career. I have been surprised by the intensity of the pressure to make all As, but doing well so far (while also working part-time, caring for 2 young kids with special needs).

Been going to open houses for several accelerated 2nd-degree BSN programs (I already have a bachelors in a communications/creative field, not science). I'm in NYC if this matters, though these things probably hold true in many parts of the country? All of the affordable (city/state college) programs are competitive as hell and require more pre-requisites. Private accelerated BSN programs seem cozy and inviting by comparison, but of course super-expensive.

Another option is to apply for candidacy in the ASN program at my current community college. The hope would be to get the RN, and pursue the BSN education later while working as a nurse in some capacity (I believe New York is making the BSN mandatory in the near future, too). My fear after talking to many real-life nurses in NYC is that no one wants to hire a nurse with an associates -- especially a new nurse without experience (and I'm sure, being in my 40s will NOT help here). I can see this option working better for someone much younger -- but maybe I'm wrong? It seems like the smartest path financially, but the accelerated BSN programs sure look good too (and at 41, I don't have time to mess around).

Would love any insight as I try to map out some kind of plan. It's been hard getting info that is especially relevant to my situation -- older age, wanting to be employable, not go into massive debt at private school. Thanks!

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

Acquiring massive debt that will follow you for a decade or more* vs. waiting for an affordable program (while saving and maybe even paying cash).

I'm always going to take the lower debt option vs. the impatient higher debt option.

*Impacting your lifestyle in every possible category in a negative manner

Thanks! Do you think getting an associates (with plan to work toward BSN) is a good use of time, or would I be much more employable to go directly to BSN first? Very concerned about age being against me.

I'm in a similar situation - 36 and transitioning from a career in the public sector into nursing. Currently, I'm working on pre-req's and trying to navigate the best path forward. At this point, I think the ABSN route makes the most sense for me, for reasons that you've already stated (mainly timeframe and the increasingly common BSN requirement for jobs). I'm lucky that there are several public ABSN programs near me (I'm in Ohio) so numerous lower-cost options available. The main issue I'm running into is that they all have different pre-req requirements, so it's challenging to figure out which one's to take and how competitive my application will be. If I was you, I'd stay away from the ASN at this point and focus on getting into a public ABSN program. It sounds like you're doing well in your pre-req's, which is helpful as a solid cumulative transfer GPA should help make you competitive! Good luck!

I'm 42 and starting prenursing in June at my local community college. I have a BS in Health Science (basically Health Ed & Promotion). I have 3 kids in school and a husband with a job here (so no option to relocate), and have no local option to do the accelerated BSN, even though that is what I would prefer. So I am applying to the ADN program, with the plan to continue on to a BSN program as soon as I can. Local hospitals do hire nurses without a BSN, but it must be obtained within 2 years. I really would prefer to be able to apply to a 2nd bachelors program, but I just don't have that option.

Hello, Im from the New York City area as well and a second degree student. How about applying for affordable bsn programs. To be honest, I find that the time frame between doing pre reqs, applying for an adn program, getting accepted, and completing the program can well go into 3-4 years (currently my path).

Quota, BSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology. Has 1 years experience.

I'm currently about 2/3rds of the way through an aBSN at a public university, just turned 36. I went with this program because it was the fastest and cheaper method of reaching an RN. I was able to continue working full time while I completed my pre-reqs and have enough savings to cover school and supporting myself for the 12 months my program runs. Extra bonus of my parents deciding they wanted to help me with my tuition so I don't burn through all my savings. ASN wasn't a good option for me because the local programs are just as competitive as the aBSN options, take longer, and I'd have to start a bridge program shortly after. I was even considering the private program that is three times the cost if I didn't get into the public university program, very glad I didn't have to do that.

Another drop of advice, be open minded. Getting into nursing in NY is not an easy task, especially if your looking for affordable. Apply to all affordable schools: adn, bsn, and absn when your done with your pre reqs if you can. The goal is to get your foot in the door, try to take age out of the equation. Every route has pros and cons.

To answer you question regarding competitiveness in other parts of the country...It definitely varies from state to state. I moved to Maryland to pursue nursing and its less competitive and they tend to except way more students in programs than they did in NY.

Edited by RainbowSprinkles
additive

There are accelerated 2nd degree BSN options through the more affordable public schools as well. Dont saddle yourself with massive debt from a private school.

If you did an ADN program at a community college and then followed that immediately with the University at Buffalo's RN to BSN program, you'd be done in three years and it would cost about $25K. Then you'd have the coveted (and mandatory) BSN and would most likely be able to find work around NYC.

So glad there's so much activity on this board! I have not yet met many people in my classes who are in my situation (most are still much younger, and/or pursuing fields like PT), or any mentors/advisors I can really talk to about this yet. Working on it, going to info sessions. I found the Hunter one super discouraging (don't even bother applying here unless you have a 4.0 and can walk on water). Lehman seems more promising, but haven't been able to find an info session yet. Going to a SUNY Downstate session soon too.

Another big factor is also the *transition* from my current career/life -- doing school part-time/work on and off as a freelancer, which means we're broke and I'm not getting very far in school yet (kinda have one toe dipped in both ponds). Considering a loan so I can power through pre-requisites full-time, but not sure I can make good grades taking, say, chemistry and microbiology at the same time. All these public programs seem to mean As only in these classes. It's very confusing figuring this out as a grown-up with kids, etc.

HarleyGrandma, ADN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency. Has 2 years experience.

I'm 10 years older than you, and I'm graduating with my ADN next month (yay!). I knew I wanted to work in an emergency room, so I got my EMT and began running rescue last summer. Found out I in fact love working emergency, and having that experience helped me get my dream job. It also avoided many of the issues related to my age, the hiring nurse got to hear from my squad directly about how active and physically capable I am on calls.

I bring this up to suggest you think outside the box as a way to combat some potential age discrimination!

Best of luck

Wow! You sound like a really awesome person. Congrats. This is a really smart idea. I'm always asking the EMTs in my A&P class about their jobs, so maybe there is something about that area that appeals to me as well. It does make me feel a lot "younger" to get to discover new things about myself/achieve new stuff :)

I'm not too far off what you're doing (40 when I start my ADN in August). I have a BS already, 2 kids, but no job and neither of my kids are special needs - just young. I decided that the summers with my kids NOW (before I have a job) were more important than being able to work 6 months earlier.

If you do an ADN/ASN make sure the hosptials around you are HIRING them!

My plan is to do the ADN then have my employer pay for the RN>BSN program. It may take longer, but ultimately I'll end up in the same place AND I'll still be able to work as an RN in the mean time (makeing the same amount of money in my market).

BSN may be mandatory in the future, but in many places it's NOT. If they want it, they will help you pay for it and give you a few years to get it. But again, that depends on the local environment.

ETA -- 41 is not 'near the end of your employability' ;) You have many MANY more good years of working - even if you injure yourself and can't work bedside.

So glad there's so much activity on this board! I have not yet met many people in my classes who are in my situation (most are still much younger, and/or pursuing fields like PT), or any mentors/advisors I can really talk to about this yet. Working on it, going to info sessions. I found the Hunter one super discouraging (don't even bother applying here unless you have a 4.0 and can walk on water). Lehman seems more promising, but haven't been able to find an info session yet. Going to a SUNY Downstate session soon too.

Another big factor is also the *transition* from my current career/life -- doing school part-time/work on and off as a freelancer, which means we're broke and I'm not getting very far in school yet (kinda have one toe dipped in both ponds). Considering a loan so I can power through pre-requisites full-time, but not sure I can make good grades taking, say, chemistry and microbiology at the same time. All these public programs seem to mean As only in these classes. It's very confusing figuring this out as a grown-up with kids, etc.

I'm a dad like you. One small child at home, that I care for full time. And this semester I took a&p 2 with lab, chem with lab, micro with lab and human development. I have a 4.0.

I'm not saying this to brag but to assure you that yes, you can do this. Work hard. Stick to a study schedule. Power through it.

But it can be done, with A's and you can get into the school you want.

When faced with the choice between an ASN and BSN program, choose the BSN program. If you are accepted at an ASN program, but no BSN programs, then go to that program, unless someone puts in writing the intention to give you a clear seat in the very next BSN program term. A BSN out of the gate not only cuts down time, effort, and usually cost, it puts you at an employment advantage out of the gate. Why wouldn't you want that for yourself at this point?

Thanks so much for the feedback. I finally had a chance to speak with a nursing advisor at my community college, and was surprised to find myself pretty sold on the associate's degree track (also after talking to some nursing students I met waiting outside her office). I only need a couple more classes to apply for ASN candidacy, and the idea of being closer to real-life nursing experience (and not taking out a big loan) is very appealing.

Interestingly, the nursing advisor thought my existing bachelors (totally unrelated to nursing/science) can still actually give me a little 'edge' when looking for nursing jobs with the ASN -- though she also mentioned enrolling in an online BSN program at that time to show I am on it.

Anyway, we'll see... but I really enjoy hearing different perspectives on this.

I am 52 and graduated last year with an ADN at community college with ~10k in student loans. I had no trouble getting hired since life experience does count. Granted, my area has/had a shortage of nurses. I am now getting my BSN online while I work and am not incurring more debt. This has worked out very well for me but I am not sure what the nursing situation is in NY.