Doctoral degree or Nursing


Hi Everyone,

I will be finishing my Masters in Health Administration in Spring 2014 and currently have a BA in Psychology and thinking about going for a doctoral degree in Public Health or Psychology (usually last 3-7 years). (Hopefully this will bring the same results, with me being an administrator for a health program) However, as I begin to look at positions in my field I see most careers are either entry level for high school level or Executive, 5-10 years of experience (which I do not have and because of financial obligations do not have 2-3 years to work as a volunteer) I have been noticing that nursing has lots of positions available and unsure what should I do.

I know there are Direct Entry Programs at the Masters and even found a few at the PHD level for nursing (I also know about the ADN, Diploma, and ABSN programs) but unsure if Nursing would be "going backwards" especially since I would have to take pre-req's and probably wouldn't get into a program until 2015....(just thinking about it making me a little anxious.) I kind of just want to begin earning a decent living and transition from being a student to being a professional.

Also would an ADN with a masters assist me moving up the ladder faster if I do pick a career in nursing or regardless of my masters degree, a BSN or a MSN is the only way of moving up the ladder.

Just wanted to know if anyone has any suggestions, comments, or ideas. Thanks for your help in advance everyone



612 Posts

Firstly, I'm wondering why you believe that Nursing would be taking a step backward?

Secondly, so do you even want to be a Floor/bedside Nurse?

Third, I'm sure you can enter some direct entry program. There's tons that take you straight from a ABSN- Onto a masters in nursing, but from my knowledge, an advanced degree in nursing will not guarantee you a top notch nursing executive position.

From my personal exposure, DONs and Nursing Admins have floor nursing experience, time in the trenches.

Think about it, you're going to hit the floors and tell seasoned nurses how to do their job?

It sounds like either way you go, you have to work the trenches to reach the top.

I'm pretty sure having 5, 10, 20 degrees won't hurt .... but people want someone with an advanced degree AND nursing experience.

I guess to move up that ladder, you got to do some good old climbing. :)

Just thoughts from the local SN.

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 45 years experience. 7,899 Posts

What do you do for a living right now?



39 Posts


Thanks for taking the time in responding. When I stated a step back I meant a another year just to do pre-reqs to get into the nursing program. In comparison if I moved on to the doctorate degree then I would have completed a year of a possible 3 year program (on a full time basis). I have no probably with doing bedside nursing. In high school I become a CNA so I know about bedside nursing well at least from a CNA perspective.

Maybe I was unclear but I wanted to know if you can have an ADN and a master in Health Administration and work your way up the ladder in nursing or is it best to just have a BSN instead. Honestly I am not looking for an executive position but if I have a degree I might as well use it (speaking about the Health Administration). Thanks again for your help and much success to you in your career.



612 Posts

I misinterpreted your original question. I had thought you were wondering which avenue would lead to an executive position. If your long term goal however IS management, I would recommend a bachelors degree. It all comes down to what you want to do in the future. What position do you want to land? If you want to be a floor nurse, I would STILL suggest a BSN ... here is why ...

1) you most likely have all the prerequisites (maybe not chemistry, microbiology, A&) for the BSN.

2) BSNs are moving away from being the management type degree, to being entry to practice

3) You have more doors open, for higher positions

4) It's a lot quicker for you to do a ABSN, than to do an ADN and then bridge to BSN.

Now, you say you may just want to obtain an ADN and conjunct it with your other degrees (In hopes of moving up, once you've been in the trenches), I'm unsure to be honest if that would work ... and that's where I hope someone else comes along and helps you.

Either way ... an ADN would take 2 years + those science prerequisites (I'm unsure if you have: chem, microbio etc.)

A ABSN would be anywhere from 10 - 15 months.

I'm leaning toward the ABSN ...

Bottom line, from where you stand ... with all those college credits you already have ... doing an ADN might be time consuming.

(unless there are reasons you MUST pursue the ADN first ... less expensive .. location ... only place that accepted you etc.)

Hope all this made sense (including my typing) ! I'm sleepy and off to clinical tomorrow:sleep:... Good Luck. I'm sure someone will pop in ... if this forum doesn't get hits maybe you can ask an admin about the best place on AN to generate answers for your question. (=

Edited by StudentOfHealing
Incorrect wording


Specializes in NICU. Has 7 years experience. 4,047 Posts

I would say your best bet would be either an ABSN program then MSN or direct entry MSN. My thought is that you would need at least a MSN to get executive jobs (along with your MHA).