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Considering going into nursing...

ks97 ks97 (New) New

Hello, Nurses. I am beginning my final year of high school this fall, and I am seriously considering going into the nursing profession (registered nursing, that is). If I go through with this, I will definitely want to get a BSN. It has been brought to my attention that a RN with an ASN/ADN (i'm not sure if those acronyms are interchangeable) makes nearly as much money as a RN with a BSN, but I have heard that a BSN almost always has more opportunities and job security than a RN with just an ASN/ADN. My main dilemma is deciding which route to take in college. Should I start out at a community college, do my prerequisites, complete the 2-3 year ASN/ADN program, become a RN, and then go to a university to receive a BSN, or should I just jump straight into a BSN program at a university? Does one route take less time and cost less money than the other, or do they both even out in the end in terms of time and money. By the way, either direction that I take, I will have to be living on-campus. I would greatly appreciate your advice and hearing about your experiences. Thanks.

Edited by ks97

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

If you can afford to live on campus, you can afford to earn your BSN.

A Bachelor 's degree is now the standard degree most facilities are willing to hire in this fluctuating job market.

Please consult school counselors to guide you in this.

I completed all of my prereqs at a community college before I was accepted into their ADN program. I started this process in the summer of 2011 and I will finally obtain my ADN in December of this year. I will then enroll in in online BSN completion program which will take another 18 months which will be sometime in 2016. So that's at least 5 years if I stay on track.

Do I wish I would have just started with a BSN program in the beginning? Sure I do but at the time this was the best option for me and my finances. I don't qualify for financial aid so I pay for everything out of pocket (tuition/books/uniforms/supplies) while trying to keep up with bills of living. It's hard but I wouldn't be able to so it if I was paying at least double for tuition at the university. I am also still able to secure employment in my area with an ADN so I can work as an RN while completing my BSN. In many major metropolitan areas, it is impossible to secure employment with an ADN.

To sum this up, an ADN might be cheaper in the beginning but it will likely take you longer in the end. Do your research regarding perspective schools in your area. Take a look at cost of tuition, NCLEX pass rates from your states BON website and inquire about possible wait lists. Also, inquire with hospitals in your area to see if they require BSN as a minimum to work as an RN. Only you can decide what is best for you based on the options that are available to you.

Most bigger hospitals are only hiring BSNs these days unless you have a lot of experience. Try to go all the way through and don't get sidetracked by anything! :-) If I had to do it over again I would have gone straight through. I did not know about the whole BSN thing when I graduated a few years ago with my ADN. Now even with three years experience my opportunities are limited and so I am about to start an RN to BSN program.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

Welcome to AN! The largest online nursing community!

I can speak to this....I just went through this process with my daughter.

Nursing is very competitive right now. The "cheaper route" is the ADN/ASN (yes they are essentially interchangeable...the ASN has more science) is at a community college. These programs typically have huge waiting lists. The ones that do not are EXPENSIVE.

Be sure the school is nationally accredited. Look at the NCLEX (nursing licensing exam) pass rates.

Right now there is NO nursing shortage. With a plethora of nurses out there there is a movement for facilities hiring only BSN new grads in some areas of the country. IN general even if you go to a ADN school...you will need to get a BSN minimal in your career early on or as a condition of employment.

Which school to go to? The one you can get into. Apply to a few schools, both BSN/ADN, leave your options open. Competition is stiff. Have you started on your college prep in high school? Have you taken your SAT? What courses are you taking in school? Are you active and have volunteer work? What is your weighted GPA?

If you could live at home that would be the best. Incur the least amount of debt that you can. If that is not possible try to not have more debt than you can make in your first year of employment.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

applesxoranges, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

My advice is to look into around five programs in your area and a mix of ADN and BSN programs. Compare the basics such as their pass rate, retention rate, tuition, and accreditation.

If you go for an ADN, the program should have NLNAC or ACEN (same thing, just a name change) accreditation for their associates program. If you go for a bachelors, usually either the NLNAC, ACEN, or CCNE accreditation is fine. CCNE does not accredit diploma, associates, or certificate programs. So if a school is advertising they are CCNE accredited and have both a bachelors and associates program, the associates program is NOT accredited under CCNE. The importance can factor into getting jobs at some hospitals and continuing on for a BSN or grad school.

Then figure out how they accept students. Is it a waiting list? Is it a points system? In my area, the points systems are common now and wait lists were phased out. I was one of the last students on a waiting list at the school I graduated from. The points system involves ranking all applicants for the start date they are ranking for. They compare a variety of things such as grades, GPA, ACT/SAT, TEAS tests, etc. The highest ranking students get admitted and the other ones can apply again. If it is a points system, I would recommend getting three or four colleges that you would be willing to go to.

After you have three or four colleges, look at the pre-reqs. I would talk to admission counselors and find out what credits would transfer from each college. Talk to the admission counselors at the school you want to transfer credits to and not at the school you're taking credits at.

ADN programs usually have BSN partner schools. OU and my school were partner school so I took all the other fluff classes like fine arts before I graduated. This way, I could graduate with a BSN in under 1 year.

Also, before you sign up for any pre-req class, look up the professor on rateyourprofessor.com.

When I decided to go into nursing, I started at a community college. I completed all my pre reqs there (so much less $ was spent) and, while in my last semester of community college pre reqs, was accepted into a BSN program at a four-year university. I transferred that fall.

It would depend on your area.

In my area, for a new HS grad, I'd strongly suggest going straight through the BSN program. There's a few offered around here, so you'd have a choice. I myself did my pre-reqs first, then the PN cert, went straight into the ADN, and I'm now enrolled to complete my BSN while working as a FT RN. It would have cost me less to just go for my BSN after completing my pre-reqs at a state college, but I needed to be able to stop at any step of the way and work if my family situation deteriorated.

One thing to look at is what the hospitals in your area (if you plan on staying there to work) are hiring at. One (the hospital I'm at) is requiring all new hires to have their BSN completed in 5 years. They're working on attaining magnet status and are at 72% of the nurse force BSN or higher currently. This will most likely NOT be changing again. So, if you want to work in a specific health system, you need to know what they are hiring at, are they going for magnet, and what their percentage is at. The other hospital that I applied to does not plan on attaining magnet and are well-known for hiring new-grad ADNs.

I strongly agree that you should talk to your guidance counselor. Hopefully they can help you navigate the complex college/university system as well as the demands in your area for nurses.

Don't always take nurse recruiters at face value. :)


NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

It depends on what the hospitals are hiring in your area. I am getting my ADN first. I live in a small town. I want to work up here for a few years and gain some experience. While working up here, I am going to get my BSN online. Then I am going to apply to the bigger hospitals in the city. My end goal is pediatric oncology. Even more than the degree, many hospitals want nurses with experience. So having experience + a BSN would be golden.


Specializes in Maternal Child Health, GYN.

You won't go wrong with attending the BSN program. In many areas there is no difference in pay for ASN/ADN and BSN.

I certainly agree with all the others who have responded to your post.

You do want to look at the cost and how much you can afford without being buried deep in debt at the start of your


Look at the hospital where you want to work and find out what they require for entry level.

Talk with your High School guidance counselor and ask all the pertinent questions upfront.

Best Wishes with your career plans