Jump to content

Enrolling in online RN to BSN after NCLEX: Should I work?

Posted
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Wondering if I Should Work,

The answer to Would (not working after I pass NCLEX) hinder me from getting a job?” is Yes, probably.” Waiting to start your career may very well hinder your successful Job Search down the road. I'm not sure I would want to take that chance.

Marketability

Employers look at the date you were licensed as Day One.

So if you wait to start job searching until you get your BSN, that puts you at around... Day 500 or so, right?

Employers will typically hire an inexperienced Day One nurse over an inexperienced Day 500 nurse. By waiting, you will have forfeited the golden new grad advantage. Now you are a Not a New Grad with Also No Experience.

What you would have in your favor at Day 500 is your BSN. You would have advantage over an ADN applicant if the targeted employer values BSN enough to outweigh the lengthy non-experience. You would not have advantage over another BSN applicant if that applicant was newly licensed (Day One).

Take a look at the employers in your area as you make your decision to see what they are looking for.

Experience

Marketability aside, I would not recommend working part-time as a new nurse. You need the full time immersion for at least a year while you are still a novice. Knowing this, many employers do not offer part time employment to new grads.

Working full time and earning your BSN are not mutually exclusive. Many programs are designed for the working adult, and you'll find they are very flexible. Another option is to take a year off from school if you are lucky enough to land a job. School will always be there. Jobs not so much.

I hope this helps you evaluate your situation realistically and make the best choice for you. Keep us posted on your journey!

Also be sure and check out the career discussion forum here at https://allnurses.com/nursing-career-advice/ for more collective wisdom.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

nurse-beth-purple-logo.jpg

Edited by tnbutterfly

PG2018

Specializes in Outpatient Psychiatry.

Get the BSN and work full-time during the process.

ADN with a job > BSN with no job.

Most places (around here at least) pay no different between an Associates and a Bachelors for new grads. The BSN will help you in a few years when your wanting to move up.

This is all based on if where you want to work even hires new grads with an Associates degree.

My plan has been get my ASN (done), get a year or so experience, focusing on learning to be a nurse (done), then enrolling in a RN-BSN (in process of doing now). I have so far had no negatives of not having my BSN, but know if I want to advance into management in a few more years, I need my BSN.

Personally, I have never looked at when a nurse became licensed as relevant to the decision to hire.

If you choose to go straight to BSN before working, I would look at you this way.

1) Did you have the means, and wanted the higher degree for personal reasons? Good

2) Were you afraid to start, and thought the higher degree would help overcome the fear? BAD

3) If you had the means, and went for the higher degree as a statement, are you really going to be committed to being a nurse? Maybe you have a spouse who makes a lot of money, and nursing is kind of a hobby for you? Will you start, then quit because you really don't have to work in the first place. BAD

4) Are you wanting to move from college straight to management? I know a nurse right now who did just that. Never laid hands on a patient, but wanted an administrative nursing role. She is excellent at this, and makes no excuse for it. Good, but only if you are applying for the right job.

5) Did you work in a low-paying job while you continued your BSN. This is really bad. I would have the sense you wouldn't cut it as a nurse, and wouldn't consider you.

6) Did you maintain a current, respectable, non-nursing job while you continued on. I'm ok with this. Stability is very important during education.

How you present in your interview, and how your story presents, makes all the difference.

maxthecat

Has 27 years experience.

Aside from the issues of employability already discussed, you will find that an on-line BSN program will typically assume you are a working RN and assignments will be based on information you would be expected to gather from that experience.

I started my BSN 2 mths after I passed the NCLEX. I was already looking for jobs but didn't get one until 1 mth after I started theBSN. My program was completely online so I didnt have to travel, but it still took up time. Anyways, RN-BSN is nowhere nearly as stressful as straight RN so you should definitely work. And, once you finish you'll be much more marketable because you'll have experience AND a BSN. So go for it. And if you work 12 hour shifts you will have plenty of time to do schoolwork, or if you don't feel comfortable, work p/t first. If you can't find anything part time, you should still be ok.

fostercatmom, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER and case management. Has 29 years experience.

exactly-- what maxthecat said..you will need experience to answer the questions and get where thay are coming from. i just finished an online BSN at OU, the people who were just out of school seemed to have found it much harder and their answers showed it. Online assumes some experience.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

Not working for two years after passing NCLEX usually equates to career suicide, even if the unemployed nurse is pursuing a BSN degree during those years. My advice to the anonymous letter writer is, "DON'T DO IT!"

Congratulations on finishing your ADN.

Focus on passing the NCLEX. For me, that was no easy task.

After that, take a week or even a month off and relax. You have come a long way and studied and worked hard.

Seems to me, right now you might be stressed out about getting a job when that really isn't your biggest priority yet.

After you do pass which you will, I would recommend applying to jobs at places you would love to work and for the time being, put off going back to school for your BSN. If you somehow cannot come up with a full time job as an RN, at that time consider the school route. Going back to school will look better on your resume than being out of work for a year.

Where I live (Los Angeles) there are so many jobs that will hire people without the BSN. In times of need, the places that "require" BSN will hire ADN's.

Also, in regards to part time working, I think you're going to find all the interesting part time Nursing Jobs are only going to be for nurses with years of experience anyway.

By the way, after working as a nurse 7 years, I have gone back to school for my BSN (and also MSN) at Western Governors. I believe they required having worked full time with my RN for at least a year or two.

Best of luck, Congrats. You're doing great.

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

Personally, I have never looked at when a nurse became licensed as relevant to the decision to hire.

If you choose to go straight to BSN before working, I would look at you this way.

1) Did you have the means, and wanted the higher degree for personal reasons? Good

2) Were you afraid to start, and thought the higher degree would help overcome the fear? BAD

3) If you had the means, and went for the higher degree as a statement, are you really going to be committed to being a nurse? Maybe you have a spouse who makes a lot of money, and nursing is kind of a hobby for you? Will you start, then quit because you really don't have to work in the first place. BAD

4) Are you wanting to move from college straight to management? I know a nurse right now who did just that. Never laid hands on a patient, but wanted an administrative nursing role. She is excellent at this, and makes no excuse for it. Good, but only if you are applying for the right job.

5) Did you work in a low-paying job while you continued your BSN. This is really bad. I would have the sense you wouldn't cut it as a nurse, and wouldn't consider you.

6) Did you maintain a current, respectable, non-nursing job while you continued on. I'm ok with this. Stability is very important during education.

How you present in your interview, and how your story presents, makes all the difference.

I have to disagree with some, not all of this. You do realize that it is against the law to ask if someone is married during an interview? For one of the exact reasons you stated. A woman who is married may not have the same dedication to a job that a man would have. If the man is married, he is considered an asset to have because he is stable. A woman, on the other hand, is more focused on the home and kids. Work is a "hobby" to her as you stated. Especially if the man is the breadwinner. That is so backwards. Maybe a woman likes to work. Maybe she likes being a nurse. Both men and women can cook, clean, and take care of the kids. Good partnerships are just that, partnerships. Maybe the woman likes being financially independent on her own. It makes her feel good to contribute to the household. I know I like being able to stand on my own two feet and not have to depend on a man for my money.

Years ago, when I was in retail, I did all of the management hiring for the whole state. I had set up a management trainee program and I taught store managers how to hire good associates to work for them. I've conducted hiring fairs and gone and recruited people already in the field. One of the biggest things is employment stability. No big gaps on employment in the resume. Or people that were considered job jumpers. I agree with the other posters to not wait to find a job. A lot of the skills you learn in nursing school will be forgotten or rusty in 2 years. You can find the right college to do this online. You won't need additional clinical hours so the extra classes will all be theory. Take one at a time while you get your feet wet in nursing. Having a BSN does not automatically equal job after graduation. The ADN with a few years experience will probably be hired over the BSN with no experience unless it's a new grad program.

curriculum.

Edited by AJPV
sp

I have to disagree with some, not all of this. You do realize that it is against the law to ask if someone is married during an interview? For one of the exact reasons you stated. A woman who is married may not have the same dedication to a job that a man would have. If the man is married, he is considered an asset to have because he is stable. A woman, on the other hand, is more focused on the home and kids. Work is a "hobby" to her as you stated. Especially if the man is the breadwinner. That is so backwards. Maybe a woman likes to work. Maybe she likes being a nurse. Both men and women can cook, clean, and take care of the kids. Good partnerships are just that, partnerships. Maybe the woman likes being financially independent on her own. It makes her feel good to contribute to the household. I know I like being able to stand on my own two feet and not have to depend on a man for my money.

Years ago, when I was in retail, I did all of the management hiring for the whole state. I had set up a management trainee program and I taught store managers how to hire good associates to work for them. I've conducted hiring fairs and gone and recruited people already in the field. One of the biggest things is employment stability. No big gaps on employment in the resume. Or people that were considered job jumpers. I agree with the other posters to not wait to find a job. A lot of the skills you learn in nursing school will be forgotten or rusty in 2 years. You can find the right college to do this online. You won't need additional clinical hours so the extra classes will all be theory. Take one at a time while you get your feet wet in nursing. Having a BSN does not automatically equal job after graduation. The ADN with a few years experience will probably be hired over the BSN with no experience unless it's a new grad program.

I know the law, that is why I would never ask. But nothing stops that person from trying to elaborate. Usually they do. But you want to hire the best person for the job, not to give someone a fair shake in the world. When I am hiring someone, I don't really want to know what their home life is like, unless there are reasons it may interfere with their ability to work. Sometimes, they talk themselves right out the door.

Fumanchuesday

Specializes in Neuro ICU, SICU. Has 3 years experience.

I would like to point out that the year to 18 months that it takes you to complete your RN-BSN is a long time that you will have to forget everything you learned in your ADN. I am doing online RN to BSN currently (working 4 12s a week) and I must say that there is no clinical aspect or pharmacology involved in my program

Oh my gosh, I am so happy I came upon this thread! I was wondering the same thing. I haven't started my actual RN program yet, but it is a dual-enrollment program, where you get your ADN from the community college (and can sit for the NCLEX), and you are also automatically enrolled in a state univerity BSN progam which starts the next sememster. It is NOT online however, and seems to be very much an in-person situation, taking a year and a half (due to it not going through the summer). So I would add to the OP's question...would it be best in this dual-enrollment situation to do the same thing as suggested above, or wait to take the NCLEX (which I think would not be a good option, as a lot of the BSN is more theory and leadership and other info could get rusty). The caveat is in my area it seems EVERYONE wants a BSN, regardless if it's in a hospital or not, so this worries me in trying to find a job as a new grad ADN. Should I add on a resumer that I am absolutely planning on getting a BSN? (which I am). You all are so helpful!

Steffy44

Has 3 years experience.

Get a job! Graduated from an ADN program in May and took NCLEX in August and passed. I then took the fall off to watch my son play his senior year of football and to finally take a break since I took no time off from retiring after 25 years in the Air Force. I did the job hunting starting in January and got hired in March with no prior nursing experience. I started my BSN program in August. I can't even imagine trying to do a BSN with zero practical, real, nursing experience. Nursing school does not give you enough foundation to really, truly, contribute to a great BSN experience.

Steffy44

Has 3 years experience.

Aside from the issues of employability already discussed, you will find that an on-line BSN program will typically assume you are a working RN and assignments will be based on information you would be expected to gather from that experience.

Very true. I started my BSN program 5 months after I started my first RN job. I couldn't imagine contributing a lot to the class with zero real nursing experience. It's hard enough with only a few months. I have a year under my belt now and still sometimes feel like I'm missing something.

I enrolled in an online only RN-BSN program right after finishing school and I think it helped me get my job. A lot of hospitals are Magnet or going Magnet and want to know that you're going to go back for it. I worked full time and did the program in 3 semesters, easily. I started school in august and work in september. If an assigment needed a real life experience and I didn't have one, I did a "what if". It's all about organization. Right when I got my due dates of assignments in the beginning of the semester I would put them all in my planner. Then I'd make my work schedule around that, knowing I need to get an assignment done if I work the 2 nights before it's due, etc.

Working full time and doing your RN-BSN is manageable. I don't have kids but I worked full time (3 12's per week) and did the program full time. It was only 3 semesters. The biggest thing is to stay organized. Once I got all of my due dates for the semester, I would put them in my planner and work around my due dates.