Cost vs benefit of BSN at middle age

  1. Would you get a BSN if it was not required?

    I am a middle aged (if I live to be a hundred) new ADN nurse. I work at a smallish hospital in a rural area that does not require a BSN. The hospital has no plans to change this policy. They do offer tuition reimbursement for nurses that want to purse a BSN, if that nurse is willing to sign a contract to work for the hospital 5-7 more years after obtaining the degree. They also pay a (whopping) $1 more an hour to nurses who have their BSN.

    I hope to work about 15-17 years before retirement. I would love some thoughts about the benefits, or lack thereof, of spending the money and time pursuing a further degree given my...ahem....advanced age.

    I recently ran into one of my former instructors and her opinion was that, in our area, the BSN wouldn't really pay off unless my interest was in management (it's not). She brought up MSN and teaching as an option. (We are also home to a community college with a great nursing program.) I told her that I am still dreaming of the day when I get through a shift confident in my skills as a nurse, can't imagine that teaching someone else would ever be a reality.
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    About Grengemly, RN

    Joined: May '16; Posts: 11; Likes: 19

    46 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    I'm over 40 and it doesn't make financial or social sense for me. I'd rather spend my time other ways, and I'm fairly confident that I'll be employable with an ADN for the rest of my working years.
  4. by   llg
    I wouldn't sign a contract that long to get it ... but I would be looking around for an easier, cheaper way to get it. "People say" that the BSN is only necessary for "management" roles, but that's often not true. There are a lot of other roles that might interest you some day -- and having a BSN will help you get those jobs.

    I am in my early 60's and my body is not the same as when I was 50, not be a long shot. A staff nurse job might be fine for you now, but you might feel differently in 10 or 12 years. I wouldn't make a huge sacrifice for the BSN if I were you, but I would be exploring whether or not there is a fairly easy, inexpensive way to get it so that you'll have it if ever you need a less physically demanding job.
  5. by   ICUman
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    I'm over 40 and it doesn't make financial or social sense for me. I'd rather spend my time other ways, and I'm fairly confident that I'll be employable with an ADN for the rest of my working years.
    That's surprising because I thought you were in So. Cal, land of BSN mandatory no exceptions.
    Apparently there are exceptions! I have desired to apply in that region but thought I'd be automatically excluded for only having my ADN.
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    You're never too old to further your education, but your hospital doesn't require a BSN, you're in later middle age, and you have no ambition beyond the bedside. What would be the point?

    On the other hand...education is never wasted, and if someday your body breaks down and you can't work the floor anymore, it would be a good thing to have that degree. There are many more opportunities open to nurses with a BSN. Management may not be what you want now, but that could change. Even if it doesn't, however, there are other things you can do with a BSN such as case management and utilization review.

    Frankly, if my workplace would have paid for me to get a higher degree, I'd have gone back to school even in later life. I went a long way with my ASN, becoming a director of nursing services and assistant administrator in assisted living. I did it because I got to the point where I could no longer work at the bedside and I wanted to go into management. (I could not do that today, as most employers want at least a BSN in those positions.) You might also want to think about what might happen if you should someday want to work for someone else; maybe they would require the BSN and *not* offer tuition reimbursement. A lot of places don't do that anymore.

    Bottom line: go back to school. I don't think you'll regret it.
  7. by   caliotter3
    I would take the tuition help to get the degree. You plan on working for that employer for those 5-7 years anyway, so make the time more productive.
  8. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from ICUman
    That's surprising because I thought you were in So. Cal, land of BSN mandatory no exceptions.
    Apparently there are exceptions! I have desired to apply in that region but thought I'd be automatically excluded for only having my ADN.
    A few years of experience will get you around the BSN preference at a lot of places. I moved here after working for two years in my home state.
    This is a more competitive market, for sure. If I had high aspirations, I'd definitely go for the BSN. I'm perfectly content working in med/surg and behavioral health, though ...two not-so-sought areas.
    With an ADN, you may be excluded from some of the big hospitals and/or the most desired specialties. You'll easily find work, though.
  9. by   sallyrnrrt
    I'm 69yrs
    My humble diploma program has never help me back for various mgt. positions

    Including director of nursing several times....
  10. by   ICUman
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    I'm perfectly content working in med/surg and behavioral health, though ...two not-so-sought areas.
    With an ADN, you may be excluded from some of the big hospitals and/or the most desired specialties. You'll easily find work, though.
    Well, I currently work ICU and ER. Do you think BSN is mandatory about for trauma centers or the big hospitals down there? Such as UCLA, Kaiser, Hoag, etc. Who else is down there that hires ADN?

    Also, not so keen on signing one of those "agree to enroll and complete BSN within 2 years of hire" contracts...I mean I'll get my BSN eventually on my own time but don't want an employer mandating it. I currently work in a neighboring state and city.
  11. by   Grengemly
    Quote from llg

    I am in my early 60's and my body is not the same as when I was 50, not be a long shot. A staff nurse job might be fine for you now, but you might feel differently in 10 or 12 years. I wouldn't make a huge sacrifice for the BSN if I were you, but I would be exploring whether or not there is a fairly easy, inexpensive way to get it so that you'll have it if ever you need a less physically demanding job.
    Good points, thank you! As I was trying to get myself up from a kneeling position on the floor of my patient's room yesterday, it did hit me that I am no "spring chicken".
  12. by   Grengemly
    Quote from VivaLasViejas

    You might also want to think about what might happen if you should someday want to work for someone else; maybe they would require the BSN and *not* offer tuition reimbursement. A lot of places don't do that anymore.
    Very true. It is a benefit, even with the contract.
  13. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    I would absolutely do the BSN now because things change, a lot can change in a 15-20 year span. You may decide you want to get out of bedside nursing, the hospital may change and decide they want BSN prepared nurses, or you may decide you want a change of scenery in a different hospital etc.

    I would not however sign a contract! My RN-BSN cost about 12K and I just ended up paying out of pocket by working a little extra (I am no spring chicken either). It was a lot of writing and busy work, but it was worth it to know I am a bit more marketable. I have a strong desire to work in pediatrics and that seems to be one of those specialty areas where a majority of employers want you to have a BSN, or commit to getting one. Here in the northeast most hospital require a BSN or require you obtain one within 5 years of hire.

    If you are up for it, I say do it now!!

    Annie
  14. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from ICUman
    Well, I currently work ICU and ER. Do you think BSN is mandatory about for trauma centers or the big hospitals down there? Such as UCLA, Kaiser, Hoag, etc. Who else is down there that hires ADN?

    Also, not so keen on signing one of those "agree to enroll and complete BSN within 2 years of hire" contracts...I mean I'll get my BSN eventually on my own time but don't want an employer mandating it. I currently work in a neighboring state and city.
    I'm honestly not sure as that's never been my scene. There are so many ERs and ICUs that I'd be shocked if there were no ADNs in the mix. Trauma is something I think of as ultra competitive, though.
    You should be able to check out their job listings and see what's required as opposed to preferred.

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