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Forget 2nd degree BSN, Go Straight to MSN Nursing? Advice needed

Pre-Nursing   (5,222 Views 16 Comments)
by RunawayN RunawayN (New Member) New Member

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I am here in need for advice. I have a bachelors in a social science and even though I've been out of school for a while, I am in the process of going back to school for nursing.

I am interested in several Nursing program. One of which is a MSN program that will grant me a nursing masters after three years (but not granting me a BSN). The second are second degree BSN options.

The MSN program is appealing to me but I'm trying to figure out if it's the best choice career wise. During the application process, you have to pick a specialization and since I don't have any experience in those fields , I'm hesitant to make a choice (of course, I am in the process of volunteering in hospitals to get more experience about those areas). Out of 10 options, only 1 of the specializations is something I think I would like to do. At the same time, I'm interested in anesthesiology nursing and/or a little bit of travel nursing and I feel like a MSN would limit me in some way.

Aside from that, I've been considering the other factors:

Cost: Masters is about 60k, BSN can be around 60k at most.

Time: Masters takes 3 years, BSN can take 1-2.5 Years.

Also considering questions like:

Is it too early to get a Masters in nursing when I have no real work experience?

What is the job difference between someone with a MSN and someone with a BSN? My understanding is that a MSN takes more of a leader/manager.

Any advice will be helpful.

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PMFB-RN has 16 years experience and works as a Rapid Response, Trauma/CV ICU. ER/Transport.

68,888 Visitors; 5,143 Posts

I don't know the answer to all your questions but I can respond to a few. For travel nursing it is irrelevant what degree you have. Only license and experience count. When you say "anesthesiology nursing" I assume you mean CRNA. All CRNA schools require a bachelors degree. Most require a bachelors degree in either nursing or a hard science. Some, in particular the large universities, require a BSN.

In the intensive care unit where I work we have a bunch of direct entry MSN nurses. There is no difference at all in their rolls vs those RN who are prepared with ADNs, diplomas, or BSNs.

However you said you are required to pick a speciality. This tell us that the MSN program you are looking at is an advanced practice program, not just a direct entry nursing program designed to prepare you to work as a staff nurse.

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JROregon has 5 years experience and works as a Nurse.

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Wow, $60,000 is a huge amount of money for something you aren't sure about. Before signing on the dotted line, find out which hospital the school is partnered with. Talk to former students who have jobs as nurses. Do on-line searches to see if there are any disgruntled former students who never finished or did finish and have a huge debt to pay back but no job. Don't rush into any of these programs. If you have loads of cash or parents willing to foot the bill, you still need to do your homework on whether this is a good investment.

My community college ADN will cost around $10,000, including pre-reqs. When I get my BSN, it will cost around the same amount and I'll be able to take my classes on-line. It should take another year and a half. My college has a long standing partnership with the local hospital system and most nursing school graduates go to work for that hospital system or one of the local LTCs.

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8,713 Visitors; 284 Posts

I assume you mean CRNA. All CRNA schools require a bachelors degree. Most require a bachelors degree in either nursing or a hard science. Some, in particular the large universities, require a BSN.

You see, that's something I did not know about. I feel like a BSN has more flexibility in which areas of nursing I want to go through.

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8,713 Visitors; 284 Posts

Wow, $60,000 is a huge amount of money for something you aren't sure about. Before signing on the dotted line, find out which hospital the school is partnered with. Talk to former students who have jobs as nurses. Do on-line searches to see if there are any disgruntled former students who never finished or did finish and have a huge debt to pay back but no job. Don't rush into any of these programs. If you have loads of cash or parents willing to foot the bill, you still need to do your homework on whether this is a good investment.

My community college ADN will cost around $10,000, including pre-reqs. When I get my BSN, it will cost around the same amount and I'll be able to take my classes on-line. It should take another year and a half. My college has a long standing partnership with the local hospital system and most nursing school graduates go to work for that hospital system or one of the local LTCs.

Yea, 60k, tell me about. Of course, I am doing my homework when it comes to these things and I have a pretty good grasp of the reputation these schools have. I'm not in any rush as I still have to complete my pre-reqs; I'm just looking for an outside opinion aside from my circles.

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starmickey03 has 1 years experience.

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Just so you know you cannot enter a CRNA program without having at least 2-3 years of critical care experience and as a previous poster said you must also have a BSN to even apply to that program. So if you have interest in becoming an "anesthesiology nurse" it would be best to just go the 2nd degree BSN route and work for a couple years because thats the only way you can become a CRNA.

On another note, I had this same dilemma a while ago and everyone advised me against the direct entry MSN programs because they require a specialty. How can you choose a nursing specialty when you have no prior nursing experience? It wouldnt be easy and even worse you could end up picking a specialty that youll absolutely hate.

My suggestion is to either get an ADN and then do a RN-MSN program (this will bypass the BSN altogether and save you loads of money). Or if becoming a CRNA is something youre really interested in then do an accelerated BSN program and get your 2 years of critical care experience in, then apply to CRNA programs.

I have a BS in health science and opted to get an ADN in nursing instead of BSN because it'll only be about $8000. After a year or two of working then Im going to start applying to RN-MSN programs.

Good luck with your choice!

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8,621 Visitors; 887 Posts

The MSN route is if you want to do Teaching or Leadership or a Nurse Practictioner (Specializing and majority in an outpatient setting). If you want just want t be a beside nurse for right now, then a Master's is overkill, go for the ADN or BSN. The only difference between these is competition of programs and your area (if one is preferred over another). If you think you MIGHT want to do some kind of leadership or management you can bridge to a MSN later when you're ready with either degree.

I wouldn't suggest jumping into any specialty you may have not seen close up because sometimes it's not as glamorous as it seems. A lot of people wanted to do L&D because of cute babies, but when they were in clinicals at school the reality of blood, mucous, various other things squirted at you, prioritizing patients while balancing new admits and then juggling 8-10 patients if you worked the Postpartum floor, they changed their minds because their fantasy job was nothing like they expected.

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PMFB-RN has 16 years experience and works as a Rapid Response, Trauma/CV ICU. ER/Transport.

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Just so you know you cannot enter a CRNA program without having at least 2-3 years of critical care experience and as a previous poster said you must also have a BSN to even apply to that program.

*** Not exctly true. Most CRNA schools do not require a BSN. A bachelors degree in a har science or related field will do. It's is mostly the big universities that grant the MSN to their CRNAs (a small minority) that require the BSN. I have known RNs to be accepted to CRNA school with degrees in mortuary science, dairy science, biology, chemistry, forestry and well as nursing.

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iPink has 5+ years experience and works as a Mother/Baby Nurse.

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I'm in a similar situation as you. I've applied to one Accelerated BSN program and one Accelerated ASN program. However, out of all the ABSN programs I've looked into, they are no where near $60k as you stated. The ones by me range between $28-30k for 12-15 months in length.

Now, the reason why I didn't look into the MSN programs is I have no clue about nursing. When you graduate from those programs, you are considered an advanced nurse. I want the MSN eventually, but I rather get some nursing experience first before going after the FNP.

I don't want to discourage you from going that route, because I've actually seen the testimonies of people on here who are career changers that have decided to go straight into an MSN program. They have shared that they are doing well as a Nurse Practitioner and never regretted their decision. If you can handle it, then yeah go for it. You may want to post in the NP forum or other Advance Practicing Nurse forums to hear their opinions.

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PMFB-RN has 16 years experience and works as a Rapid Response, Trauma/CV ICU. ER/Transport.

68,888 Visitors; 5,143 Posts

When you graduate from those programs, you are considered an advanced nurse.

*** I don't know about that. I work with lots of graduates of direct entry masters programs and they are not considered any different than any other staff nurse. As new grads they are just new grads, trained and treated exactly as the new grads from ADN and BSN programs.

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*** I don't know about that. I work with lots of graduates of direct entry masters programs and they are not considered any different than any other staff nurse. As new grads they are just new grads, trained and treated exactly as the new grads from ADN and BSN programs.

Exactly! I think advance practice nurses (NPs and DNPs) are being confused with entry-level MSNs in this thread. An entry-level MSN is simply an RN; they do not practice any differently than a BSN. Entry-level MSNs must obtain an additional advance practice nursing degree to do so.

In my area MSNs make about $1 more per hour starting than a BSN; they also may have a "leg-up" in obtaining that first job in a tight job market.

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iPink has 5+ years experience and works as a Mother/Baby Nurse.

12,520 Visitors; 1,412 Posts

*** I don't know about that. I work with lots of graduates of direct entry masters programs and they are not considered any different than any other staff nurse. As new grads they are just new grads, trained and treated exactly as the new grads from ADN and BSN programs.

Doesn't matter how they are treated or differential in pay between them. What does a Master's level nurse mean then? Are they not advanced?

Edited by Glad2baSN

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