Which path would you choose?

  1. Hi everyone!

    So here's the situation--I am at a crossroads, and need to decide between the ADN or BSN route. I realize that this is a personal decision with no right or wrong answer. However, I'm hoping that hearing what YOU would do in this situation will help give me a fresh perspective.

    Background: I have a prior bachelor's degree with minimal loans in my name (18k). These loans are currently deferred because of my low income. The rest of my education was financed by my mother, who currently pays about $700 a month on the loans she took out for me. It's not that she can't afford it, but it would be great if I could help her with the payments someday.

    My ultimate goal is advanced practice nursing. Obviously I'd like to get there as quickly as possible, but I'm not sure how that is going to pan out with the upcoming switch to DNP. Of course, with graduate education comes additional student loans.

    Option A, ASN: I'm 99% certain I will be accepted into my local community college's ADN program. I've already completed all pre- and co-requisites, so I'd only be taking the nursing core courses, about 8 credits a semester. This would leave time for a job, possibly as a tech. I've heard so much about new grads securing RN positions through their tech jobs. Unfortunately, I'm most likely going to be looking for a job in a different state, so I'm not sure how much of a advantage a tech position would give me. I would graduate in August 2012.

    Option A cost: ADN (5k) plus RN-BSN or RN-MSN bride (~5-10k) = $15,000. No loans for living expenses.

    Option B, BSN: This is assuming I'm accepted to at least one of the accelerated BSN programs I've applied for. The amount of time to complete the program would be the same as the ADN, give or take a few months. But, it would be a full-time program. No time for work, so I'd have to take out loans for living expenses. On the plus side, I might have a better chance at a job with a BSN, especially if its from a name-brand school that is nationally recognized. Also, I'd be on the fast-track to an advanced degree, which could increase my yearly earning potential by $20 - 30,000. That would help put a dent in my loans.

    Option B cost: 35-50k, plus living expenses = $60-70k

    Darn this terrible economy! I really feel like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. Does either option stand out to you?
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    About ktliz

    Joined: Nov '06; Posts: 383; Likes: 259
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  3. by   ricky75
    There is one more option, going to foreign school and whole program will cost you $2,500 for BSN in 1.5 years and living is very cheap. My friend had BS degree from US and he went to Philippines, finished the BSN course with no loan, passed NCLEX and now making $40/hr in nursing home and over the weekends he is teaching at schools- $50/hr. I don't like the idea of loan and you survive to pay it which is really tough.

    Another option is ask for scholarship for ABSN if you have good grades. Might help you with less loan.

    If i were you i would prefer the ADN route and study and work part time. In this field experience has more value then education. If you get both you will reach top, so first route you will save money and gain valuable experience.

    Hope this helps you.
    All the best.
  4. by   RN9742
    My perspective is this... The recent economy should teach us all an important lesson, NOT to live on credit, you just never know what life is going to throw in your path. Even if you graduate from your program and get a job right away, there is no guarantee that life will not throw you for a loop causing you to not be able to work for some reason.

    Now that does not mean to choose ADN, there are many ways to pay for school aside from loans! Look into those options, even if you do not get a full ride, it may offset the cost of the BSN program enough that it becomes financially more level with the ADN program.
  5. by   StephRN08
    First of all, you need nursing experience in order to become an advanced practice nurse. There are graduate programs that will accept students who have obtained a BSN without any nursing experience. However, I have worked with some of these individuals and there is a definite lack of knowledge. It would be in your best interest to get at least 5 years of nursing experience before stepping into an advanced practice role.

    I have not heard many good things about the accelerated BSN programs in the Pittsburgh area and we have 3 of them. However, this does not mean they are not producing quality graduate nurses. I precepted an accelerated BSN student this past summer during her transitions course. Their classes/clinicals were Monday through Friday with some evening classes in the mix. This is a lot! Also realized that you are cramming 2 years of material into a year.

    I would go with the associate degree program! Working as a nurse tech provides you with valuable experience and will be a foot in the door for a future job.
  6. by   jahra
    With the economy, I would strongly lean to the ADN. Work and
    get experience then transition to an RN to MSN bridge.
    I agree with the posts that encourage little or no credit.
    The conservative route might take a little longer, but you will be
    able to repay as you go.

    Best wishes with your goals,sounds like you have some good plans
    for attaining the NP.
  7. by   ImThatGuy
    I think in your case the ADN would be best. I wanted that too to be honest, but I've found the BSN program isn't nearly as complicated as they said it would be so I work all the time it seems. I'm like you in that I already has a bachelor's with all the prereqs minus nutrition. I was fortunate, however, in that I didn't carry any debt.
  8. by   GreyGull
    Rule of thumb: try to go with a degree that is equal to or higher than what you have unless you want something that is considered a "trade" or a "cert" like EMT or Paramedic. Yes there will be some here who will argue nursing is still a trade but the higher education is important also. This is especially true if you are forward thinking for advanced practice or DNP. Don't go backwards when you have advanced degrees as your goal.
    Last edit by GreyGull on Dec 2, '10
  9. by   Nikki RN BSN
    I don't think I'd go to a foreign country for school. I went to a local community college and paid about $2,500 for the 2 year program. I then entered a RN to BSN program upon graduating with my ASN and passing the NCLEX. The RN to BSN program was 3 semesters long so I graduated quickly. The only reason why I chose to go to a community college was because it was paid for by the Bright Futures scholarship (It's a Florida program that pays 100% tuition for community college, and paid 75% tuition for a University). Although it took me a bit of time (9 nursing semesters vs 5), I still think I saved money that way. There is no bad choice because they are both directions to be a nurse but here are some things to consider:

    *ASN is 4 semesters vs BSN is 5 semesters (I think accelerated is 3-4 semesters without any break i.e- spring, summer, fall, etc).

    *Obtaining an ASN at the community college is usually cheaper than a BSN at a University however, there are BSN programs at some community colleges. There are also nursing programs that are online. I would beware of schools that are not accredited by the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) because you may not be able to sit for the boards or gain employment in the hospital and some (pretty much all) universities will not accept nursing degrees from unaccredited schools when applying for higher education.

    * In any program regardless of ASN/BSN, as long as you are currently in a program and have passed the first semester (some hospitals/units require 3rd semester students), you can gain employment at a hospital as a nurse tech/extern/intern (there are numerous titles but you get the point). I had friends that were in the accelerated program that still worked as nurse techs so it can be done and remember that you can choose the hours you work for the most part.

    * Also remember that there are many scholarships out there including your college/university, the National Student Nursing Association (NSNA), American Nurses Association (ANA), your state's nursing association, and other local/national nursing organizations such as emergency nurses association. There is also loan forgiveness through the government although I do not know too much about the program. There is also loan forgiveness that is given as a benefit for working as a nurse for a facility. By working as a nurse tech in the hospital, you may be offered a scholarship to pay for your schooling but this usually requires a 2 year contract. I know that Tenet and HCA facilities have this scholarship.

    Because you already have a Bachelors Degree, I think you would be better off in a BSN program. There is the accelerated program and there is the traditional program that you can bridge into if you decide accelerated is too much.

    Whatever direction you decide on, I hope that you will enjoy being an RN and that you really do continue your education whether it is a BSN, MSN, DNP, PhD, etc.

    Best Regards!
    Last edit by Nikki RN BSN on Dec 2, '10 : Reason: addition
  10. by   RachH
    As a previous poster stated, most MSN programs (ALL programs in my area) require 1-2 years of experience as an RN before they will consider your application. Here's what I would do in your position:

    1. Go to your community college to get your ADN.
    2. Get a tech job while you're in school.
    3. When you graduate with your ADN, get a job as an RN through your old tech job.
    4. Do a ADN to BSN bridge. While your pursue your BSN, you will be working as an RN and getting those necessary 1-2 years of experience. Plus, your workplace may even pay for your continuing education!
    5. Graduate with your BSN and then apply for MSN/DNP programs.

    But as you wrote, this is a really personal choice. What I would do in your situation may not be anything like what you want to do! Good luck making your choice!
  11. by   GreyGull
    You best option is to talk to the career counselors at a couple of different colleges including those that offer advanced practice or DNP programs. You'll get a lot of advice on the forums but few are going to see your transcript nor do we want to know all the details of your financial situation. However, you can disclose all the necessary information to someone who can give you more accurate professional informaton and a better direction based on your transcript and current situation to find a program that best suits you. On anonymous forums you will get many personal and often very biased opinions especially when it comes to whether any education past an ADN is worth anything or the usual ADN vs BSN debate.

    Also, if you find a hospital that pays well toward your education, there are several "tech" type positions you can pick up just to get your foot in the door.

    Option B cost: 35-50k, plus living expenses = $60-70k
    This almost sounds like you are talking about an accelerated program in California or the northeastern part of the US.

    If it is California, Kaiser and UC both have some great options for nursing students.