How do you figure out which nursing degree to go for?

  1. Hi everybody,

    I'm a young woman just finishing up a bachelor of arts degree. I've been thinking about nursing for a long time now and I feel like it's what I'm called to do.
    I know that there are crossover programs out there - that take you from a BA to a BSN and MSN degree - but I don't really understand the differences. What are the advantages of getting the master's degree rather than just the BSN? Can you be an RN without having the master's degree? What about nurse practitioners - what exactly do they do?

    Also, do you have any suggestions about how I would best get in contact with nurses (I'm from Philly) in the area? It would be great to be able to begin shadowing nurses in different specialties so I could begin to get a feel for where I might fit best.

    Thanks so much,

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    About OhNatasha

    Joined: Nov '02; Posts: 6; Likes: 7
    Corporate Manager; from US


  3. by   Vsummer1

    I really can't answer much of your questions, but one thing:

    There are 3 ways to get to the point you may test for your RN license, thus be an RN:
    Diploma (offered through some hospitals)
    an associates degree
    a BSN

    After you take the NCLEX-RN, that is how you get to be an RN, not the degree. I can have a BS in Nursing, fail my NCLEX and never be an RN. BUT, an associates (ADN) can get you to the test also. Don't even need a master's, or a bachelor's!
  4. by   nec
    I am RN from Wilkes-Barre Pa I am currently obtaining my BSN, hopefully I will get accepted to CRNA school. I suggest that you call a university in your area and ask for info to be sent to you about different degrees that they offer. Try to schedule an sit with a nursing advisor, this person could be very helpful to you. Remember though weigh all the options, you could go far in nursing it is a rewarding service profession. I am proud to be a nurse, good luck I wish you well, hope this will help NEC
  5. by   almostanurse

    welcome. cant answer you question, but hi anyway
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    welcome to the board. I recommend going straight for the BSN ( I hold an ADN, so it's not a superiority thing w/me, ADNs are AWESOME bedside nurses). Why? cause if you want to do anything besides beside care and limited other areas as an RN, you will want it. It opens doors for you.

    I had no access to a BSN where I lived that was closer than 100 miles one way. If YOU HAVE local access, GO FOR IT! Trust me, going back later for your BSN is a pain in the butt! ( I am dealing w/this now)........and it's costly. Go for the BSN.....then you should be set.
  7. by   EmeraldNYL
    I am currently attending Drexel University's (formerly MCP Hahnemann) ACE BSN program. This program is for people who already have a bachelor's degree and want to obtain a BSN in 12 months. It is an accelerated program and is VERY intensive, but I think it is a great program. If you already have a bachelor's, there are several accelerated programs in the Philly area for second-degree students. Weidner U has a 2 yr. BSN program, and Jefferson has an accelerated program as well. I think Jefferson gives you the option to go straight to your MSN, but overall I think it is better to get some bedside nursing experience first before you get an MSN. Visit the websites of these schools (Drexel's is and request more info. on the programs. All of the programs require certain prereqs before you can start (like A&P, Micro, Statistics, nutrition, etc..). Good luck!
  8. by   Q.
    What are the advantages of getting the master's degree rather than just the BSN? Can you be an RN without having the master's degree? What about nurse practitioners - what exactly do they do?

    My sole reason and decision for getting my Master's is because, when I'd peruse the job openings, all the jobs I wanted required a Master's degree: namely education, being a Clinical Nurse Specialist, or other "coordinator" type roles.

    The reason I obtained my BSN was because I was unsure what I wanted to do in the future. I couldn't answer that I'd never want to go to grad school, and so, the BSN was a "safety net" for me in that if I ever wanted to do something different, I'd have that degree to get me in.

    And of course you can be an RN without your MSN. You can be an RN without a BSN, too. I simply wanted a college education, independent of the fact that I wanted to be an RN. In fact, I had decided to go to college looonnngg before I decided to be an RN. To me, there is too much life out there to not be exposed to it. Ideally, I'd like to experience everything first hand to learn it, but that is simply not practical. I enjoy studies OUTSIDE of nursing. I enjoyed my theology classes, my computer programming classes (which taught me logical thinking) I enjoyed my arts and humanities. They are all relevant to our life, in my opinion.

    As an RN, BSN persuing her MSN, I see many opportunities available to me now. I see my rate of pay slowly rising as a result. And bottom line, I'm happy with that. I love L&D, which is where I worked as a staff nurse, and love it so much, I want to influence CHANGE in it, and feel I can accomplish that with my MSN.

    Hope this helps.