Diploma Program a bad idea?

Nurses General Nursing


I've just got to the point where I feel that I am confindent/mature enough to complete a nursing program (it's been a 3-year journey). I am finishing my last pre-req this semester and set to (hopefully) start clinicals at a local hospital diploma program in January. The problem is, all of a sudden I've heard a ton of negative things about diploma programs!! I know that this school offers more clinical hours and more personal support than the local ADN courses. You can also sign a contract with the hospital (based on your GPA) to work there after graduation and they will pay your tuition.

My anatomy professor, who is an internal medicine doc, actually told our class that diploma and associates were a waste of time and pretty soon hospitals will only hire BSNs. I do plan to get a BSN, it's just not financially possible at this point!! Am I completely wasting my time completing this program? I thought an RN was an RN regardless of how you got there!!???

Tweety, BSN, RN

33,494 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

The talk of BSNs only being hired has been around for decades. Even if this comes to pass, and it won't, you can always go for your BSN later.

Diploma programs rock in the clinical hours area and is definately not a waste of time. If it's right for you, then go for it.

An RN is an RN regardless of how you get there because of taking the same boards and coming out on equal footing. However, having a Diploma might limit your future opportunities as you age in nursing and want advance to other positions. Many positions away from the bedside require BSNs. You might say "I'll never want to get away from bedside nursing", but when you're 60 you might be singing a different tune. However, as I noted above, you can always go for your BSN through the many avenues available for RN to BSN, and might get some tuition reimbursement from the facility you're working. However, if there's a chance to get your BSN now, I would go that route, if not then go for the Diploma.

Best of luck!


214 Posts

when i went to "diploma nursing school" in 1972, they said within a year the only way to be a nurse would be to get a BSN, 37 years later we are still hearing it. is there any wonder why there is a nursing shortage!!!! i mean no insult when i say having a BSN does not make you a better nurse. in the end the only way to have RN after your name is to pass the boards regardless of where you went to school. education is wonderful and should be achieved at the highest level that is your goal, and on the flip side should never be discouraged in the route that one must take.

be the best you can be!!! and i am sure many will say "that is a diploma grad talking",,yes i am, and proud of it, i have never been turned down for any job i have applied for including management positions, experience does count for something, be proud of the road you take and never let anyone discourage you!!!


353 Posts

honestly, every job i've ever looked at/applied for had a minimum requirement of an associates

classicdame, MSN, EdD

2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

get your RN license the best way you can. Later you can decide about advance degrees. You might go online to your state's legislative website to see what is pending related to nursing. I doubt BSN will be required anytime soon (although I personally promote it).

morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts

as a "diploma" grad myself the only problem i see is that if your inst is a doc, are you not getting college credit for your academic subjects? or does he/she teach at a local cc? even back in the '80's when i was in school, the academics were done at the local state college that had a bsn track


304 Posts

I would probably go the ADN route.


337 Posts

Specializes in Gyn/STD clinic tech.

a diploma is an rn.

i am actually doing a diploma program and i love it, the clinical hours are quite a bit more extensive, thanks to the hospital based program, than a lot of adn associates programs.

our local hospital gives first picks to students who graduate from their diploma program, which is nice :)

our local university also accepts diploma rn's for their bsn program, as long as you have your rn and pre req's done!


80 Posts

how long does it take to complet a diploma program??

morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts

how long does it take to complet a diploma program??

may vary by program....would have to ask the particular program you are interested in....


36 Posts

Specializes in ER/Trauma.

Once you pass your boards, you are an RN. Like you, I had to consider the finances first. I took an ADN program, passed my boards, and now I am an RN working in the ER and loving every minute. In the next 6 months though, I will be going on to get my BSN. The important consideration for me in the program that I chose was that I would have the ability to work as soon as possible so that I cold support my family. Once I complete my BSN, I already have a Masters program in mind that I intend to pursue.

The point is this (well, for me anyway), you can complete the rest of the advanced degrees at your leisure. The best thing to do is to get started and begin to work. If your employer accepts diploma nurses, the door is still open to you.


50 Posts

The only diploma program in my state is hospital based, and people I know who have done that program came out wonderful and competent RNs. The only disadvantages I saw was #1: clinicals were ONLY at that one hospital, therefore they did not get clinical experience at various settings like my ADN program. Being only at that one hospital did not allow for exposure to the majority of hospitals in our state, which may or may not hurt your chances at being hired in a hospital other than the one you are doing the diploma program at. Not sure if your program is only at one hospital, but it is something to think about. #2: It is a diploma, not a college degree and I would rather have the degree, especially since the time to complete each program is relatively the same in time and cost. I am not sure what can be transferred over from a diploma to a BSN program. At least with my ADN, I know what I still need to take in order to get my BSN and that my credits are college based and will be accepted. If the diploma carries the same weight as a ADN in relation to credit transfer and getting your BSN later, then I don't see a problem if that is the program that is best for you. You should check it out first.

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