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Get my BSN or Direct-Entry MSN?

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I am 25 years old and just graduated last year with a BS in Biology, which took me 6 years to finish because I changed majors numerous times. I am now interested in going back to school to become a nurse, but need some advice! I can't decide whether to go back to get my BSN (either through an accelerated program or 4 year program-ugh!) or go into a direct-entry MSN program. I can't stand the thought of going back to school for 4 more years, so that is why the direct-entry programs and accelerated BSN are tempting, but I'm not sure which is the better choice. A Nurse Practitioner I know advised me to become an RN first rather than going straight to direct-entry to become an NP, because I wouldn't gain enough experience.

Any advice would be helpful! Also, the thought of taking out more student loans makes me cringe...It is worth it, right?

I have heard the same thing. I was told that it is harder to get a job as an NP if you've never worked as an RN previously. It is hard for the hospitals to justify paying you the salary of an NP without work experience.

Because of this, I applied to the accelerated BSN programs and hope to get in for Fall 2012.

PMFB-RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in burn ICU, SICU, ER, Traum Rapid Response. Has 16 years experience.

Some things to consider. In some areas direct entry grads will stuggle to find a job. One of the health sysems I work no longer hires them after experience with a number of them. I assume from you post you are considering a direct entry NP program were an RN is earned along the way. Many of these programs expect their students will gain nuring experience after they become RNs but before they finish the NP portion. Not going to happen. A nurse manager isn't going to want to make the large investment in training on a nurse they KNOW for certain is leaving as soon as they finish the NP part of their program.

In my personal opinion several years of high qualiety nursing experience should be required for NP programs. Many people share this opinion.

With your degree in bio and your desire to work in health care have you considered med or PA school? PA programs include a lot more clinical time since they do not assume a wealth of nursing experience.

is it worth it? Only you can answer that but I know many nurses who struggle with crushing student debt. It is demoralizing for them.

Thanks for the replies. I have heard all of that as well, but wanted to post here to get more opinions.

In the past I considered medical and/or PA school, but my experience as a Hospice volunteer made me switch to the idea of becoming a nurse. I spent the evening with a patient who was actively dying, and I found it to be the most amazing/uncomfortable/horrifying/humbling/humiliating event I have ever experienced. I am more interested in caring for the individual. Plus, as far as loans go, medical and PA schools have much larger student debt than nursing school!

Another question I want to ask:

Why did some of you become nurses?

Thank you!

PMFB-RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in burn ICU, SICU, ER, Traum Rapid Response. Has 16 years experience.

In the past I considered medical and/or PA school, but my experience as a Hospice volunteer made me switch to the idea of becoming a nurse. I spent the evening with a patient who was actively dying, and I found it to be the most amazing/uncomfortable/horrifying/humbling/humiliating event I have ever experienced. I am more interested in caring for the individual. Plus, as far as loans go, medical and PA schools have much larger student debt than nursing school!

*** Well PA schould cost be the same, or more likely be cheaper but you will likely make more money after graduation. Yes med school will cost considerably more but so will your compensation to pay it back.

Another question I want to ask:

Why did some of you become nurses?

*** I was a combat medic with the airborne infantry in the army. After the army I worked as a paramedic briefly until I learned that I could challenge the LVN boards in California and then become an RN in 9 months in Wisconsin for a total cost if $2600. When I learned how much nurses could make and of the very independant positions one could work into it was a no brainer for me. I enjoy it very much.

I have a friend that attended an accelerated BSN program that's 1 year here. She worked for a year while applying for NP program which is also 15 months. She hasn't had a problem finding a job here.

I am hoping to take a path similar to hers. I don't want to stop at BSN.

If I am accepted into a ADN program I will try for the direct entry MSN. If I am accepted into an accelerated program I am planning to do the 15 month MSN.

Although I must admit it does seem as if one should have solid nursing experience before entry. Since you don't I definitely plan to go for it right afterwards. I am almost 30 and don't plan on wasting anymore time.

I am 25 years old and just graduated last year with a BS in Biology, which took me 6 years to finish because I changed majors numerous times. I am now interested in going back to school to become a nurse, but need some advice! I can't decide whether to go back to get my BSN (either through an accelerated program or 4 year program-ugh!) or go into a direct-entry MSN program. I can't stand the thought of going back to school for 4 more years, so that is why the direct-entry programs and accelerated BSN are tempting, but I'm not sure which is the better choice. A Nurse Practitioner I know advised me to become an RN first rather than going straight to direct-entry to become an NP, because I wouldn't gain enough experience.

Any advice would be helpful! Also, the thought of taking out more student loans makes me cringe...It is worth it, right?

I am in the same position as you. I'm about to graduate and I have no idea which program I should apply. I've asked many nurses, and they all told me various things, but it all came down to whatever I prefer which is funny because I really don't know. I just want to be sure that I can find a job. Some suggested ABSN, and other suggested MSN. I have yet to make a decision. What you decided or applied yet?

A lot of the direct entry MSN programs are for MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader. Honestly, I have no interest in being a clinical nurse leader so I'm not too keen on applying to those programs. I'm focusing on BSN programs right now. I plan to get an MSN but it'll be in something else. I also don't expect any financial aid which is where going for a MSN vs 2nd degree BSN would come into play as I think you can get more loans if it is a MSN rather than a second degree BSN.

I think I am going to go for the BSN right now because it is cheaper, and a lot of programs make you decide with NP specialty you want, and since I have no nursing experience, I have no idea! I think I will get my BSN, work for a year or two and then go back for my MSN.

A lot of the direct entry MSN programs are for MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader. Honestly, I have no interest in being a clinical nurse leader so I'm not too keen on applying to those programs. I'm focusing on BSN programs right now. I plan to get an MSN but it'll be in something else. I also don't expect any financial aid which is where going for a MSN vs 2nd degree BSN would come into play as I think you can get more loans if it is a MSN rather than a second degree BSN.

Is that really true about the loans for BSN programs? How do people pay for school if they go back for a second degree? It's seems hard to believe that prospective students would have $50,000 laying around to pay for school! I know I don't! I'm trying to save as best I can, but I'm still going for the BSN instead of the MSN. :)

Is that really true about the loans for BSN programs? How do people pay for school if they go back fro a second degree? It's seems hard to believe that prospective students would have $50,000 laying around to pay for school! I know I don't! I'm trying to save as best I can, but I'm still going for the BSN instead of the MSN. :)

I should've clarified in that I was referring to federal loans. You can still get federal loans for a second degree BSN programs but the limits are less.

For a BSN, your yearly limit is $12.5k, but it fits under the $57k lifetime limit for BS/BA degrees. I borrowed $10k for my first BS so this wouldn't be an issue as I should still qualify for up to $47k in stafford loans.

For a MSN, your yearly limit is $20.5k and the lifetime limit is $224k.

If you have a $50k tuition, then private loans are the way to cover the difference. Even if you had a $50k tuition, the MSN limit still wouldn't meet the tuition costs so private loans would still be required

PMFB-RN, BSN, RN

Specializes in burn ICU, SICU, ER, Traum Rapid Response. Has 16 years experience.

A lot of the direct entry MSN programs are for MSN-Clinical Nurse Leader.

*** Clinical nurse leader is a title looking for a job. First, while there may be hospitals that hire people for the position of clinical nurse leader, I have never seen it. I have worked at a number of hospitals in 4 states and never heard of, or seen a clinical nurse leader, or an open job posting for one.

Even if such a position exsists nobody is going to hire a new grad with no experience into it. I think many people see the irony of a brand new grad being called a "clinical nurse leader".

How was your experience? I'm facing the same issue now. The option I'm looking at now is either ABSN or MSN - however the man dies not give you NP.

I'd like to eventually teach so I was debating if I should do the ABSN and move directly to a DNP after gaining the experience.

Are you happy with your desicion after becoming a nurse?

Thanks.