Did anyone feel that the RN to BSN classes were utterly pointless?

Students ADN/BSN

Updated:   Published


I just got my RN a couple of months ago and am now finishing up my BSN.  I am getting so frustrated with my classes, as so far absolutely nothing has had anything to do with on the floor nursing.  Perhaps my struggles come from the fact that I have no interest whatsoever in working in management or participating in research. I love working the floor and have no intention of leaving it, and was hoping to get more in depth information clinical specialties. Everything in the program is about pushing advocacy and trying to get us involved in the politics of healthcare. On top of that, our advocacy lessons are spread over multiple different classes that could easily be compressed into one and cover the same material with ease. All the stuff about advocacy and helping the underserved is all well and good in principle.  In practice however, from what I've seen in the facilities where I have done clinicals and worked is that the nurses who try to push for changes get ignored, derided, and if they push to hard for a good idea, just get fired for pushing managements' buttons too much.  Even the managers who would like to change things always get rejected by the suits in control, and I have even seen managers get fired for trying to push corporate to change things too much. Besides, in my experience, the nurses are too busy running like crazy to get all the meds and treatments done and the social worker is the one that takes care of all the advocacy and ensuring that underserved populations are connected to necessary resources.  I don't have time to sit down with the patients and have in depth chats with them about their issues (much as I might like too), and I have always figured that is why we have social workers to take care of these issues for us anyway.  

I am normally one who believes it is important to obtain more education, and I agree with those who say that having a bachelor's degree helps put us on a more professional level equal with our colleagues.  I just feel that in the final year of my degree that at least some of it should be applicable to my job, especially given how unprepared I felt entering the clinical setting as an ADN grad.  If I was in charge of the BSN programs, the first semester classes would be focused on advanced pathophysiology, in depth critical care, management of all the machines in the ICU, how to respond to emergency situations, and focus on so many other aspects of nursing that only got a day or two's worth of coverage in the first couple of years.  This would be followed by a second semester that would be essentially a semester long-preceptorship where the nurse would work full time as a preceptor in the hospital, changing to a new wing every few weeks to ensure that there was exposure to various specialties.  I feel like something like that would have made me so much more confident in my abilities as a beginning nurse.  Thinking about it now, perhaps the frustration with how underprepared I felt entering the clinical setting is partly what is fueling my frustration with the current focus of my classes.

At this point however, I am understanding more and more why I have heard so many nurses say that BSN stands for "Bull-S*%# nursing degree.  So far I feel like absolutely nothing I have learned will make me any better at my current or future job.  

I'm still going to keep going.  I live in an area where the BSN is required now for hospital employment (or at least, you have to have it within a year of hiring as an RN to keep your job), so I have just accepted at this point that I will have to bite the bullet and get through this.  Am I crazy for feeling this way?


2,712 Posts

Specializes in oncology.
14 minutes ago, razzledazzle2428 said:

I am getting so frustrated with my classes, as so far absolutely nothing has had anything to do with on the floor nursing.  Perhaps my struggles come from the fact that I have no interest whatsoever in working in management or participating in research.

Professional education is different than 'in-service' education. A professional education is not "job specific" but rather is there to support you throughout your professional life. You learned to advocate for patients. What about if you decide to work for a non-profit that is focused on autism, cerebral palsy or poverty. You learned some skills to help you approach the problems of a not for profit agency.

When someone studies  business managment and takes a job in a bank, they may question why more was involved in their 4 year program than how to develop a balance sheet.

Education is not job specific. What you have learned will come in handy in even maybe 30 years. We seek to develop an educated (not job educated) population that provides community leaders..school board member, not- for profit program adminstrator, even girl scout leader..pass those learned ideas along, may  not right now but in the future!

Specializes in Med/Surg.

I understand that it is a good thing to be generally educated and be exposed to new ideas, and gain knowledge that will help outside the profession as well as in. But in my opinion, the BSN as it stands achieves neither of these objectives.  I would have no problem with them devoting a class or two to advocacy (and frankly, the several classes that I have taken on the subject have required so little work they could easily be compressed into one without any material lost). 

However, if they are going to require more education, it seems to me that devoting a portion of that required education to address clinical preparation makes more sense than 6 different classes that literally teach the same principles of advocacy in a dozen different ways.  Even national nursing organizations have recognized that here in the united states we have a problem with clinically underprepared new nurses.  In my opinion, teaching the exact same concept in a dozen different ways and then giving them college credit along with more letters by their name makes them neither a more educated person nor a more capable nurse. 

There hasn't been a single clinically-related assignment on anything.  They seem more worried about our ability to cite APA than our ability to be able to care for a patient correctly (I understand the need for proper formatting for papers as that is standard in college, but my program literally requires us to have an APA citation for each discussion post, discussion responses and each individual answer on worksheets we have done! On worksheets for heavens sakes!).  

Overall, I understand what your are saying I am supposed to be getting out of this despite the lack of clinical focus, but I don't feel like that purpose is even being accomplished.  I would still submit that they need a greater mix of both practical, clinical applications along with general advocacy training.  Everything I have experiences so far just seems like fluff to allow hospitals to add more letters to the names of their nurses and pretend they are more qualified.  


38,333 Posts

Just go with the flow. When you have the BSN diploma in hand and have updated your resume, you will have obtained any potential benefit and you can put APA formatting behind you until you start yearning for more ‘education’.

Specializes in Physiology, CM, consulting, nsg edu, LNC, COB.

When I was a student we all made fun of the nurses with advanced degrees because, smarta**es that we were, they didn't know which end the rectal thermometer went into. We were all going to be BEDSIDE NURSES! We didn't need to know all that BS!! We were going to be proud to be doing bedside care in a hospital, planned to do it for a whole career, and phooey on all the rest of that!


Fast forward a few years.

Leaving aside for the nonce the idea that there are a lot of jobs that will simply not be available to you without a bachelor's degree should you tire of bedside or discover interests or proclivities you don't have now) (like public health, school nursing, in-service education, cardiopulmonary rehab, midwifery school, clinical specialists, many others), you just do not know what your future holds. You don't know whether some of the bigger-picture stuff will, in fact, be interesting or necessary or intriguing to you after years of doing bedside. You might find you have a gift for mentoring students and want to be a preceptor, or support new grads as part of planning and delivering their orientation to your then-specialty as an in-service teacher ....BSN only. You might get intrigued by some of that cool stuff they do in interventional radiology ... BSN only. You might discover you've developed leadership skills and want to move up a bit in the hierarchy to be in a position to make things better for nurses giving care on your floor, wing, or hospital .... degree only.

All of these, and more, will require a broader perspective, which is what your current program seeks to give you. It is not the same as vocational education, the basic prep for going to work; you did that in your basic associate's degree.  I understand completely how it looks like fluff and nonessential and not what you need to do what you want to do .... but I can promise you that you are mistaken in all three of those. I wouldn't presume to say something as trite as "You'll just have to take my word for it," but someday you will be in a position to say those same words, and you'll get what I mean.

Good luck and have a nice life.


1 Post

Oh my gosh, everything you said! I couldn't agree more! I would love to enroll in your BSN program LOL. but seriously. Why not learn further/revisit the things that did not get super large quantity of time or depth because so much has to be crammed into a 2 year program! I would love for the time and energy (and money) I'm spending to help me learn how to provide even better care to the patients I'm already working with. APA formatting will not do that.  And that's kind of my main priority. If we could even have a little bit of choice for BSN, like priority focus, like you have to meet X curricula requirement and you can choose between these different classes to do it. That would be amazing. It's just a great opportunity for further development, honing of knowledge and skills that will lead to even better even safer, even more effective patient care. And it hasn't helped me with that at all. You said everything I feel!!

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