Do additional college degrees help when looking for a nursing job?

  1. Fellow Humans:

    I am what some would call a professional student. I have two other college degrees in addition to my ADN degree that I will be completing soon.
    So can anyone tell me if the additional education that I have achieved will be looked upon favorably by the H.R. people who will be reviewing my resume? Could it give me an extra edge in finding a job?
    The area in which I live is flooded with nursing students and finding a job can be difficult.

    Please share your opinions and wisdom with me. :spin:
  2. Visit krazykev profile page

    About krazykev

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 154; Likes: 83
    Registered Nurse; from US
    Specialty: Neurosciences

    20 Comments

  3. by   TazziRN
    The degrees themselves? No. Job experience, yes, because it shows things like job longevity if you're older.
  4. by   scrubby bubby
    Unless they are healthcare-related degrees, they probably won't help you out too much. Hospitals are looking for nursing experience and healthcare-related experience and education when hiring RNs. While these other degrees certainly won't hurt you and might make you look good in the eyes of HR, they won't necessarily get you the job.
  5. by   Quickbeam
    I was a career changer and had 2 degrees (BS, MA) prior to getting my BSN. They were completely unrelated to nursing. They did not help me at all. In all the jobs I've held, no one (save my present job) cared at all about any of my prior education or professional experience that wasn't nursing. It was a wake up call for me.

    My current community health job requires a ton of legislative work and public speaking. My prior degrees were extremely helpful in landing this job. It was more luck than anything else.


    Do be aware that other formal education, even graduate degrees, will not substitute for a BSN or nursing degrees. I have many disappointed friends who too late found out that their MA would not get them a "BSN required" job.

    These are excellent questions for you to be asking! Better to know now, unlike my experience!
    Last edit by Quickbeam on Apr 10, '07
  6. by   mom2michael
    I have other degrees too and they've done nothing to aid in finding me a nursing related job.

    My work experience on the other hand, even none nursing eperience.....that helped out tons. Maybe because I had virtually the same career since I graudated with my 1st degree 10 years ago...I don't know.
  7. by   futurecnm
    I have a degree in an unrelated field and have been a stay at home mom for over 4 years and I totally believe that my previous job experience got me an interview and position as an intern for this summer (100 jobs for over 500 applicants). I do not believe I would have gotten an interview at all if it hadn't been for my previous college degree and work experience. i had no medical experience at all on my resume. I have not worked in ANY field for 4 years. Therefore, this internship was a result of my previous degree which will in turn help me get a job as a RN after graduation. If I do well, I have my foot in the door with a major healthcare system that owns many hospitals and I will have a better chance of getting a job. So, my answer is YES it has helped me so far!!!
  8. by   peds4now
    I doubt they help, but they should! My previous college degrees helped me immensely in RN school (I graduate in 8 WEEKS!). All that critical thinking, expository writing, higher level reading ability, gen'l communication skills they always go on about really are important. Nursing changes so quickly, and they need people who can take in new information and incorporate it into practice quickly.
  9. by   anne74
    My previous bachelor's in advertising/PR did nothing for me. I was actually surprised at how little anyone cared that I had an additional bachelor's and I had 7 years work experience in large Forture 100 corporations. Didn't get any more money, and it really didn't help me land my job. Maybe my work experience helped a little, but not much. I think it's still relatively a new thing for hospitals to be getting new grad nurses with multiple degrees. They don't quite know how to treat it yet. I think being older and more experienced has helped me be a better nurse. I'm just not compensated for it.
  10. by   krazykev
    Yes, I think they help too. But, all of my classmates say they do not matter, but they do not have any additional degrees either, so maybe I need to look more closely at the sender of the message. I know that if I was hiring a newly graduated nurse, I would look for other educational experience because it would tell me that I not only have a person that enjoys learning, but has a work ethic as well.

    Quote from futurecnm
    I have a degree in an unrelated field and have been a stay at home mom for over 4 years and I totally believe that my previous job experience got me an interview and position as an intern for this summer (100 jobs for over 500 applicants). I do not believe I would have gotten an interview at all if it hadn't been for my previous college degree and work experience. i had no medical experience at all on my resume. I have not worked in ANY field for 4 years. Therefore, this internship was a result of my previous degree which will in turn help me get a job as a RN after graduation. If I do well, I have my foot in the door with a major healthcare system that owns many hospitals and I will have a better chance of getting a job. So, my answer is YES it has helped me so far!!!
  11. by   Selke
    In my experience, NO. I'm better educated than nearly every RN and manager I've known and my degrees (including a master's from U of Chicago) have gotten me nothing but grief in nursing. A liberal arts education makes you think critically and in nursing it's important to follow orders, be a good little nurse, and kiss up to management, not think critically, question policies and authority, have a global worldview. I have learned the hard way to keep my mouth shut about what I think about, what books I read, what matters to me, my goals. There's a lot of anti-intellecualism in nursing, and resentment of those who have aspirations, which may be social class-related. I've had managers who resented the fact that I was a graduate of so and so school and she couldn't even get into an MSN program (I did get into an Ivy MSN program too BTW). (And no I dont' go around talking about myself -- I keep to myself and don't talk about my personal life.) This woman hounded me until I quit. This was my first nursing job and set the tone for the rest of my career. Others have made a point of excluding me from their "group" rather than treating me as a valuable resource to develop, so I have never been considered for anything beyond a low level staff nurse. However, degrees in other fields make all the difference when you apply for graduate school in nursing -- the faculty notice. So my experience has been bitter on this subject on the whole and hasn't made me exactly like being a nurse, and I've learned that to advance in life I must use my education to get out of staff nursing into a higher level job to be around others who value me and my contributions. Yeah, another health related field would have suited me better: medicine, policy, anthropology, but those have been beyond my reach.
  12. by   Quickbeam
    There's a lot of anti-intellectualism in nursing
    I hear you. This was very hard for me to get beyond.

    On the other hand, I find the academic side of nursing unbelievably cloistered. My experiences with Sigma Theta Tau left me feeling these people wouldn't know a nurse if they fell over one. I'm a member and presented at a biennial conference...and it was a brag fest about how many PhDs you could accumulate. Without, you know, ever touching a patient.

    On topic, I think my prior education was never wasted...it made me a better critical thinker and gave me a terrific in when a niche community health job happened to require my prior career skills. However, right out of school? No one cared at all. I was just another GN.
    Last edit by Quickbeam on Apr 12, '07 : Reason: typo
  13. by   Selke
    Quote from Quickbeam
    I hear you. This was very hard for me to get beyond.

    On the other hand, I find the academic side of nursing unbeleivably cloistered. My experiences with Sigma Theta Tau left me feeling these people wouldn't know a nurse if they fell over one. I'm a member and presented at a biennial conference...and it was a brag fest about how many PhDs you could accumulate. Without, you know, ever touching a patient.

    On topic, I think my prior education was never wasted...it made me a better critical thinker and gave me a terrific in when a niche community health job happened to require my prior career skills. However, right out of school? No one cared at all. I was just another GN.
    Believe me I don't think prior education is wasted I totally agree about Sigma! I maintain membership for my resume and grad school application. I completely agree about nursing PhDs and faculty -- this is another thread, not the OP's topic. And let's not get started on nursing theory. Go study philosophy if you are interested in theory. There are other threads on this, too.

    Nursing, IMHO, is a practice profession, not theoretical. Get a PhD in a real academic field: sociology, anthropology, scientific research, whatever, and apply it to nursing/health care, participate in the larger academic community, become a writer (my dream), forget Sigma. Nursing schools are ghettoized away from other academic disciplines.

    To the OP: Technically, only your nursing degree (ADN, BSN, diploma, MSN) count towards pay, employment, &c. Value and cherish your nonnursing degrees; they educated you and helped shape your soul and intellect. Your nursing degree will pay your bills, and you may get to do some good in the world with it, help others, it may give you the means to put into practice (praxis) what you learned with your other education, especially if you were in the liberal arts. Don't look for mentorship from nursing or nurses. It might be best to not talk about having other degrees or education with your manager or coworkers, unless you also happen to work with other RNs with other degrees. As the nursing workforce diversifies with second career people, this hopefully is increasingly the case. That said, there are exceptions: I also worked at a hospital in Cali in which many of the RNs had degrees in other fields, even graduate degrees, and none of us were stigmatized. I am a cynic on this topic at this point in my life, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
  14. by   krazykev
    I agree that there's a lot of anti-intellectualism in nursing. It is actually quite sad that it is this way because there is so much knowledge that we could use to help patients. Don't all nurses understand that knowledge power?
    Last edit by krazykev on Apr 12, '07

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