Haunted by my past...What are my options?

Nursing Students NP Students


The year is 1987. A young man, raised in a cloistered small town in rural Alaska is accepted to a mid-western university. At first, things go well. Then, trouble begins. Girls and other worthy diversions are discovered, and classes are nearly forgotten. Our protagonist spends over three years rudderless and adrift, amassing an absolutely dismal academic record.

By chance, he takes an EMT class, and discovers his calling in the medical field. He ends his prodigal ways, moves back in with relatives in a different mid-western state and enrolls in an ADN program, and does quite well.

After 20+ years of ER/Critical Care transport and Urgent Care experience, the now not-so-young man enrolls in a RN to BSN program, and does VERY well.

He thinks to himself, "I'd like to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, and move back to rural Alaska. I can help provide care to people who really need it."

As he looks through the institutions which offer FNP, he begins to panic...."3.0 Cumulative GPA required for application...." "Applicants must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA to apply." "Minimum cumulative GPA required: 3.0."

Our subject gets a sinking, hollow feeling in his gut: Even with the good grades achieved in the ADN program, and the excellent grades in the RN to BSN program, his cumulative GPA sits -like an elephant upon an MI victim's chest- at a disappointing 2.78.

"Well," he says to himself "Maybe they don't mean it. Maybe if I just explain that I was a different person 30 years ago, and I have since gotten my act together. The RN to BSN grades prove that, don't they?" He completes the application for Concordia University, and the admission essay, he points out that his life has become more focused, more intentional and more driven than it was those 30 years ago.

It is to no avail. The dreaded letter arrives from Concordia: "Dear applicant.....regret... inform...GPA...does not meet requirements..."

A labored calculation shows that our hero must take 40 credits worth of classes at a 4.0 to raise his cumulative GPA to 3.0.

Are there any other options? Are there any programs which do not require a 3.0? Are there programs that look not at your cumulative GPA but at your major-specific GPA? Are there programs that cater to now-experienced middle-aged folks who may have made some mistakes in their distant pasts?

Specializes in kids.

I didn't do an APRN program but did do my Masters at a brick and mortar school. Had a 2.8 (I think) undergrad, applied and was put on probation for the first class. Aced it and got 8/9 A's and 1 B.

Thanks for all of the insight, folks. It makes me feel better to know I am not the Lone Ranger in this whole ordeal.

My dad used to say "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement!"

What was your GPA when you got accepted into the BSN program?

Why don't you just retake the classes you did bad in? That could help raise your gpa up to the magic 3.0 I'm sure.

I feel your pain. My story is a little different since I have been trying to get into BSN programs for nearly 2 years. I decided to make a career change and go back to school and there had been nearly 20 years since my last college class. Like many I didn't take school seriously back then and have a wide range of classes based on changed majors. Since going back two years ago I have made excellent grades, however due to my extremely low cumulative GPA it is preventing me from getting into local BSN programs.

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

I have not read all the responses, so forgive me if I am repeating advice already suggested. You have the option of taking an MSN degree and then, after doing fantastic academically, should have a good chance of getting into a postgraduate FNP program, which would take about a year to acquire. There are MSN programs online that are accelerated. is one that comes to mind.

Best of luck. The world needs you and will open up a way.

Wow! So many helpful and encouraging posts! Thank you all so much!

NotDoneYet, your suggestion is a path I had not considered, thanks!

JackDawson, the problem is not the BSN classes. I got a 3.87GPA (one stinking "B+") for those. The problem is the mass of low GPA credits from a university several states away.

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

I earned my MSN in one year at .....the flip side though is that it is competency based (pass/fail) and as such, you can't earn higher than a 3.0 across the board. However, having the MSN already in hand makes the admission for FNP postgrad certificate less stringent. I believe many programs also only add up the GPA of courses that actually apply to the degree being earned...meaning anything you earned in your early days and did poorly in, but would not be applicable to this degree, would be excluded from calculation. This is how I got into nursing school in the first place. I had a good 'ole time my first time around in college. Managed to fail horribly difficult (#sarcasm) courses like computer keyboarding because I got drunk the night before, was hung over and fell asleep during the final exam. What can I say, I was hit with the stupid stick.

Seriously, examine all your options. You got this. It just may not be quite as straight forward as hoped.

Specializes in Psychiatry, Community, Nurse Manager, hospice.

Cumulative GPA should be the GPA you got for the degree you have. You should not have to submit your academic record from a school that did not count toward your BSN.

What GPA do you have for your nursing degrees? By this I mean your ADN and BSN. You state you did well in nursing.That is all that you should be putting on your application. Apply somewhere else, and do that. Your education record is protected by federal law and your prospective university does not need to know about irrelevant courses of study.

The applications I have seen and the one I filled out for Concordia were some variation of "List each College or University you have attended."

Do you mean that if I do not list a university, they will not know about it? What about my transcipts from my RN to BSN progam? Will they not indicate the use of credits earned at a different university toward the BSN?

Don't get me wrong, I would be overjoyed if I can simply ignore the college where I earned my abysmal grades. But abysmal as they are, I am using some of those credits. It seems as though if they would accept that, they would say "List each College or University you have attended...that are pertinent to your degree."

I am a nurse that is being tortured by my past. I have been a nurse for 18 years. Life got ruff a few years ago and I decided that it was too much. I went to a call room in the hospital and tried to give myself propafal. I then tried to jump off the 5th floor balcony. I was off the clock, not in a patient area or scheduled to work. It was reported to the board of nursing they charged me with fit for duty. The problem lies that they did not do a fit for duty drug test. The drug test in the ER was neg. They waited a year to take me before the board. I couldn't work and had no income to obtain an attorney I place my life in there hands because the hospital said if I didn't fight it they would pay me disability. I needed it. I received a 2 year probation. Ok 2 years later after hours of therapy and working for 27.00 at a LTC facility you would think it was over. Not even close. They reported to the national practitioners data base that I could not preform my duties due to substance abuse and mental issues. I WAS NOT WORKING. This is a government data base and will haunt me for the rest off my life. My career is basicly destroyed. How about that for past haunting you. Just remember sometimes you have to fall. I can't find a lawyer willing to take on Dartmouth Hospital and New hampshire board of nursing. Im still looking. What are my options they are bleak

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

1). Find a university/program which will accept you as you are. AFAIK, they are most common among mid-range brick-and-mortar or for-profit online programs. One I know is Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

2). If you got some money, boost your GPA. The most foolproof way is to go to a local university which has BSN AND MSN programs AND offers many electives. Ask for repeating one or two courses under premice that you'd like to make sure you are not rusty, patho and pharm, for one example. You may have to enroll as :non-degree student" for this. As soon as you're in, enroll in credit-heavy elective(s). Choose whatever you like; some programs offer "nursing abroad experience" which is 99.9% guaranteed "A" and 5 or 6 credits for a vacation with a thin covering of nursing sauce. 6 to 8 credits of that kind, and if you get all As, your GPA probably will be right above that 3.0

3). Ask NPs whom you know and who can attest for your great job where they studied. A letter of recommendation from former grad can make some difference.

4). Very difficult to do but very effective as well: find a place where FNP students do their clinicals, get a job there and make a stunning impression. Such places are known as "feeders" for CRNA programs, but some high-ranking FNP schools have them, too. The place to search for them is LinkedIn and personal connections.

In any case: your goal is to make yourself known as an amazing, smart PERSON, not whatever your GPA says you are.

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

BTW, it is true that you may not list any degree that is not pertinent to nursing. Only one trouble is that your undergrad program will be contacted and they may be asked to report your GPA you came there with - in which case, ther would be questions where it all came from.

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