For those of you with a Master's degree or are working on one.... a question

  1. I had a phone interview today with a faculty member of a MSN program I am hoping to start in May. We were talking about the differences in undergrad and grad classes.

    How much harder do you think that graduate classes were than your undergrad classes?

    She is going to send me a part time plan and a full time plan, she told me to review them and sign the one I wanted to pursue and mail it back to her.

    I took 16 hrs last semester for my RN-BSN program, married with 2 teen boys, worked full time (M-F 8-5) and still pulled a 3.8 GPA. Do you think that it would be possible to work full time and take a full time load in graduate school? I want to do the best in school, and have the option of working baylor.

    She asked me what one of my strengths were that I would bring into the program... I told her that I dont believe in doing anything half way and very determined to do the best job possible. My weakness.... Im too hard on myself........... I dont want to hurry through my assignments and do it half way.

    Any comments/advice would be greatly appreciated.
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    About CardioTrans

    Joined: Aug '02; Posts: 1,046; Likes: 69
    Critical Care nurse
    Specialty: 19 year(s) of experience in ICU/CCU/MICU/SICU/CTICU


  3. by   nesher
    I worked 90% 12 hour shifts while I was in graduate school - until the second year then I dropped to 75%. Still had to call in to be able to finish papers on time.
    Grad school is great - but the amount of reading is pretty outrageous - I was doing 6 credits a quarter only on Fridays - that worked. While the amounts of reading is high - it is great stuff - so I would work less if I were you. Papers, projects and group stuff galore - no testing however! I was in an MN program.

    I came up with my 8 Simple Rules for grad school when I was mentoring the incoming class.
    1) you will not fail.
    2) you will not read everything.
    3) you will find a project idea.
    4) you will gain confidence in yourself.
    5) you will become a better writer.
    6)You will learn to research.
    7) you will get through the dark days.
    8) You will be sad when it is over so remember to enjoy the process.

    #8 it turns out is very true. I miss it

    Grad school is entirely different that your BSN program. You aren't treated like an undergrad - and there are expectations that go along with that.
    Treat yourself and the experience with the respect it desires - do it part time - and don't treat it as something to get past. It is a unique experience.
    Good Luck
  4. by   traumaRUs
    I'm finishing an MSN program - I'm doing 39 hours in 12 months - really, really yucky but gotta get through it. I also work full-time, am a volunteer pre-hospital provider and help to run my church's food pantry. Oh and I have a 19 y/o at home and a much-neglected hubby too. It can be done - its not pretty though. Can't wait until June.
  5. by   llg
    I got my MSN a long time ago, but have taught in another program, and got a PhD -- and worked along side with a lot of people going to school.

    Yes, it is possible to do both full time -- however, I doubt you will do your best at both -- and I wouldn't recommend it. Graduate education is a lot more "independent" and driven by the learner than undergraduate education. The faculty does not stand over you as closely and require you to prove yourself on every littlel point like they do in undergrad. The added freedom and flexibility in grad school can be terrific for a strong, motivated student -- but it brings with it the opportunity to "slide" a little, to do just the minimum and still get by.

    The vast majority of people I have seem over the years who take on such heavy load of responsibilities eventually start cutting corners a little. They don't intend to and may not admit it, but most do not give as much time and attention to their learning as the ones with a little less on their plates. They may get good grades and complete all their projects, but the depth of their work and of their learning is a little less than those who gave themselves time to think deeply about their work and to procede at a slightly slower pace. They go from project to project, class to class, completing the requirements and getting good grades -- but not integrating the material as well and not developing as fully as a scholar.

    I think it is best to pace yourself so that you can get the most out of your graduate education -- instead of rushing through it and learning less.

  6. by   nesher
    Good point llg about cutting corners - I saw it occuring in my cohort.
  7. by   ceecel.dee
    For myself, part-time was plenty! It was just too difficult to spend enough time on-line (mine is a distance program) when trying to do a full-time school schedule. The group projects just require so much interaction in order to keep them on track when you cannot actually "get together" to brief each other in class regularly. (I was working .8 and have the married with children thing going on.)
  8. by   Da Monk
    Fro my own grad school experience, I think some of the core courses were a pain, but after you get into courses that interest you more, things get easier. I worked nights full-time and attended school part-time, doing the program in 2 years. I had to travel a little more than 200 miles both ways, 2 days a week. Towards the end there were clinicals several days a week. One semester, it was three days a week. Fortunately, I was able to arrange my work schedule to fit my school schedule. I finished with a 3.9 GPA. And don't forget to allow for library and paper writing time. In grad school you are forced to focus, focus, focus. Some things must be set aside. In my case the experience placed some degree of stress on my marriage. IMHO, unless there's some urgent reason to complete a program in 1 year, go part-time if you must work full-time. Wait until you hit the Issues class and start to learn what's really been going on in nursing over the years. Good luck!
  9. by   zenman
    If you have to do a thesis, don't treat it like it's going to be a literary masterpiece or the most famous research to date! Every time I went to committee, I just did exactly what they suggested. A friend who started the same time I did, argued all the way. She finished a year after me! :chuckle
  10. by   CardioTrans
    Thanks everyone for the replies! I talked to my supervisor today and told her that I was definitely interested in the baylor position. I have been thinking about it and have almost decided that I can work the baylor and go to grad school part time. It will only add 2 semesters, but I will be able to concentrate on it more. I have applied to the FNP program and know that I will need all my concentration going on my classes.

    And, I will still be finished by the time my sophomore son graduates high school!

    Again, thanks so much for the replies!!!
  11. by   ProfRN4
    sounds like a good plan!! i am part time in my msn program, carrying 6 credits a semester. in the fall i will do 7, and the spring, 8. then i'm done :hatparty: i was crazy enough to think i could attempt it full time in 2 yrs. i thought, 9 credits isn't so bad, and it's not like i work 5 days a week. i work per-diem, but at least 2 shifts a week (often more).

    imho, graduate credits weigh more than undergrad. it is more time consuming than it is difficult (not to say it is a piece of cake :chuckle ). in my program (education) it is a lot of papers and group projects, which involve research and proving things, and backing up your theories/opinions. in the np, there is an even bigger element (which is why i did not chose that route). that is, the clinicals. the ones i am familiar with require 600+ hrs of clinicals (avg. >125 per semester). that, on top of raising a now five year old (and a husband), and working, seemed like a little more than i could handle. so it's one more year (2 more semesters, when you think about it). hey that's one more year i have to start paying back that loan
  12. by   CubanRN
    I just started a masters program. I work full time hours in management. At times I also pull night shifts.

    The best advice I have is get the support for your manager. Without her I do not know what I would do. Also get a mentor!!! Their support is going to be a god send!! :angel2:

    The work is more difficult in that they expect a high quality of work than your undergrad classes. Remember...masters level nurses at one time was the highest level that a nurse could hold. Look at it as an adventure on your professional journey.

    Also look for online programs. lonker2: The program that I am in is online and that is wounderful!! I can sit in my PJ's and do my homework!!! Can't beat that!!

    Good luck to you!!!
  13. by   JBudd
    I found the reading is enormously greater than undergrad. I'm doing a distance course, only one class a semester, and it is plenty. On the other hand, since it is only one class, I have time to get most of the reading done. I work .6 nights, homeschool 3 kids, 3 Scout troops, etc. If you really want to go in depth with the classes, I'd recommend going part time. You can always up it the next semester if you want!
  14. by   CardioTrans
    Thanks again for all the replies.

    I have sent her a "Thank you for the interview" letter. Classes begin May 9 and they should be sending acceptance letters in the next couple of weeks. So now I just sit an patiently (pronounced anxiously) wait.