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2nd Degree BSN or Direct Entry MSN for ultimate goal CRNA?

This is my first post and first off, I just want to say how impressed I am with the level of posting on this board.

I am a career changer (I have a J.D.) at the age of 29. I realized for many reasons that the kind of work I want to do for the rest of my life has to do with health care as a provider. I am at the beginning of starting the 5 or so prereqs I need to enter into a 2nd degree BSN or direct entry MSN program and will probably enter into a program in 2009. I have been volunteering and shadowing physicians, PAs, NPs, and RNs at the local hospitals. After thorough research into avenues into health care as a provider, I would like to work as a CRNA because it is a fascinating field and it compliments my interests.

The question is should I persue a 2nd Degree BSN work in ICU for a year or two then apply as a CRNA, or should I get an MSN in acute care as nurse practitioner and then go for CRNA. I realize that the MSN would take three years and then CRNA would take another 2 or so afterwords. Since I am 29 with no experience as a nurse so far, I feel like time is a factor (I feel old!) and maybe I should persue a nurse practitioner route as that would get me into the provider position that I am looking for faster as I am worried that many of the CRNA programs require many more years of ICU and nursing experience instead of just rigourous nursing course work and experience as a lawyer. But then again I should persue my dreams.

I would very much appreciate any advice. A nurse at one of the hospitals was accepted to a CRNA programs (she has 20 years experience in many hospital units) advised me that I should just get a BSN, save time, and then apply to CRNA program after a year.

Advice? Thoughts?

Thank you!

Ok, this is what I did. I switched my career in my 30's I was an IT professional. I went and got my MSN (entry-generic) and then I worked for an year in an ICU and now I hav been accepted to CRNA program. I like it this way since I am done with all my theory classes and will be working on just Post Master's in anesthesia. I will continue to work in ICU part time for the first year though which may not be hard at all..

Need more info.. PM me

Ok, this is what I did. I switched my career in my 30's I was an IT professional. I went and got my MSN (entry-generic) and then I worked for an year in an ICU and now I hav been accepted to CRNA program. I like it this way since I am done with all my theory classes and will be working on just Post Master's in anesthesia. I will continue to work in ICU part time for the first year though which may not be hard at all..

Need more info.. PM me

I have PMed you some more pertinent questions. This goal that I have seems so daunting and hearing that someone like me is successful in this task gives me heart and courage. I hope that I am up to the task. Thank you so much!

japaho41 specializes in MICU & SICU.

It makes sense to go the fast track MSN program. I wish that I would have done that considering that I had a degree prior to getting my BSN. I think that if I were in your shoes I would not go the NP route but just the a basic MSN especially if it only takes three years. You will have the advantange of having the core courses out of the way when you get to into a CRNA program. The only advantage is going the BSN route is less time and more time that you can be getting experience in the ICU while taking some MSN courses.

It makes sense to go the fast track MSN program. I wish that I would have done that considering that I had a degree prior to getting my BSN. I think that if I were in your shoes I would not go the NP route but just the a basic MSN especially if it only takes three years. You will have the advantange of having the core courses out of the way when you get to into a CRNA program. The only advantage is going the BSN route is less time and more time that you can be getting experience in the ICU while taking some MSN courses.

That is great advice. I have to tell you that even volunteering at the hospitals around here and talking with PAs, NPs, and Physcians let's me know I am on the right path. I am very excited and can't wait for my first prerequisite class to begin this summer so I can move forward in my new career.

How has your experience as a second degree nurse been so far?

Thanks!

This is my first post and first off, I just want to say how impressed I am with the level of posting on this board.

I am a career changer (I have a J.D.) at the age of 29. I realized for many reasons that the kind of work I want to do for the rest of my life has to do with health care as a provider. I am at the beginning of starting the 5 or so prereqs I need to enter into a 2nd degree BSN or direct entry MSN program and will probably enter into a program in 2009. I have been volunteering and shadowing physicians, PAs, NPs, and RNs at the local hospitals. After thorough research into avenues into health care as a provider, I would like to work as a CRNA because it is a fascinating field and it compliments my interests.

The question is should I persue a 2nd Degree BSN work in ICU for a year or two then apply as a CRNA, or should I get an MSN in acute care as nurse practitioner and then go for CRNA. I realize that the MSN would take three years and then CRNA would take another 2 or so afterwords. Since I am 29 with no experience as a nurse so far, I feel like time is a factor (I feel old!) and maybe I should persue a nurse practitioner route as that would get me into the provider position that I am looking for faster as I am worried that many of the CRNA programs require many more years of ICU and nursing experience instead of just rigourous nursing course work and experience as a lawyer. But then again I should persue my dreams.

I would very much appreciate any advice. A nurse at one of the hospitals was accepted to a CRNA programs (she has 20 years experience in many hospital units) advised me that I should just get a BSN, save time, and then apply to CRNA program after a year.

Advice? Thoughts?

Thank you!

Don't sweat the age thing bud....let's say you finish up in your mid 30's..you'll still have 30ish years to work. Plenty of time if you ask me. You did pique my interest with leaving the law field, at least for the time being. How come? Feel free to PM me if ya like.

Summitk2 specializes in CVICU, CCRN, now SRNA.

I'm confused. What would be the benefit of getting an unrelated MSN? You'll be doing 3 years of school and still required to work a min. of 1 year in an ICU as an RN. Yes, you'll have some core grad courses done, but it doesn't seem you'd be much ahead of an accelerated BSN student who will have far more time at the bedside and getting certifications in the same amount of time.

Free2be could've been getting their bedside experience 2 years earlier with a 1 year accelerated BSN. Even though you're post-masters, you're still in anesthesia school for 2-3 years. An applicant with an unrelated MSN (and a whole other prior career) may also appear to have less direction in their NA school application.

Am I missing something?

Not really. It took me only 2 years to get my MSN. While I was taking my pre reqs for MSN I was still working.

After 2 years of MSN (full time and no job held) and 1 year ICU experience, I got accepted. Now I will be working full time for 1 more year as RN. ( altogther I will have 27 months nursing experience by the time I quit my job!!)

If I'd gone BSN route, I would have graduated in 12-15 months (depending on the school) and 2 years experience and full time MSN for anesthesia.

It all works out the same as far as time, but while in anesthesia school, I wanted it to be less stressful. Besides, If i had not gotten accepted to CRNA, I would have gone back to school for 9 months to get my (any) NP certification.\\It is just a preference and palnning my future with a few options

Free2Dream,

Do you think having a MSN or NP would give one advantage accept to CRNA program? I just want to hear some opinion, I'm sure some would say no, some would say yes. For me, I think it would be. In addition, I thought about get the NP while working as a RN because the hospital would pay for it since it's a teaching hospital, second, it would take 2 to 3 years part time, that's about the amount of time I want to work before I apply to CRNA program. So again, do you think it would be an advantage or disadvantage.

Not really. It took me only 2 years to get my MSN. While I was taking my pre reqs for MSN I was still working.

After 2 years of MSN (full time and no job held) and 1 year ICU experience, I got accepted. Now I will be working full time for 1 more year as RN. ( altogther I will have 27 months nursing experience by the time I quit my job!!)

If I'd gone BSN route, I would have graduated in 12-15 months (depending on the school) and 2 years experience and full time MSN for anesthesia.

It all works out the same as far as time, but while in anesthesia school, I wanted it to be less stressful. Besides, If i had not gotten accepted to CRNA, I would have gone back to school for 9 months to get my (any) NP certification.\\It is just a preference and palnning my future with a few options

It worked out as an advantage for me. I know a few CRNA who are NPs. But why would you want to be in school for so many years (although someone is paying for it!!)?

YOu can use the time to get CCRN and other certifications that are pertinent to anethesia.

But it would be a good back up plan if you do not want to do bedside nursing anyway after a few years...

Getting your NP does not give you an advantage to getting into CRNA school. The only thing it might do is show that you can handle grad school work, but remember that CRNA coursework is much tougher than NP coursework and if you want to prove you can handle grad school work, just take a class or 2.

what about a AASN with a bridge to BSN or MSN. DO I have a chance at getting into a CRNA program? I have been accepted to an ABSN, but not sure when I'll go for masters and if it will be in CRNA. I thought I'd save money and time, get experience, and then decide while I work. Are there CRNA programs that accept ASN's? Also, how long are most bridge programs and can I do them online?

epiphanyXI,

Listen, go through the second degree BSN program work for a year in the ICU apply to CRNA school before you complete your 1 year's experience. This is what I did have a BS in chemistry, a MA in education, and a BSN I got into a CRNA program and while I will have my year before the program starts I do not yet have it. What state are you in? One of the instrctors only had one year's experience as well and was obviously very successful in the program. Good luck to you and don't waste your time with NP unless that's what you want to do. I am also getting up there in age so I understand the need to not waste time.

epiphanyXI,

Listen, go through the second degree BSN program work for a year in the ICU apply to CRNA school before you complete your 1 year's experience. This is what I did have a BS in chemistry, a MA in education, and a BSN I got into a CRNA program and while I will have my year before the program starts I do not yet have it. What state are you in? One of the instrctors only had one year's experience as well and was obviously very successful in the program. Good luck to you and don't waste your time with NP unless that's what you want to do. I am also getting up there in age so I understand the need to not waste time.

Congratulations on your matriculation! You must have a impressive GPA, GRE, letters of rec and experience! I hope I follow in your foot steps. Last week I talked to the dean/director of the CRNA program at Eastern Carolina University and she suggested the same thing as you. About the age thing, it is funny, I just got back from the ER that I am volunteering at and one of the PAs told me to go for a MD because I am still young! I guess it is all relative meaning you should go for your dreams because life keeps moving, and you will still be here. Thank you for the advice!

smileyRn96 specializes in ER/ICU, CCRN, SRNA (class of 2010).

LOL ,I love the age thing. You are only 29;) I do remember thinking the same way and still do about age at least. A friend of mine is in his later 40s pursuing his BSN to progress to CRNA. Also, I have a coworker who's friend started CRNA school at 50+. I met a dentist a few years ago who was like 59, retired and in his intern year of medical school...Enough examples, I think you get my point.

EpiphanyXI,

The medical school advise from the PA is true and it gives you another option however, I have heard some physicians say they wish they had gone the CRNA route instead of medical school. CRNA is doable in 4-5 years from the start of a RN program to independent practice as a CRNA depending on your drive. While medical school requires at least a good year or two to get in plus 4 years of medical school plus an additional 2-8 years of residency depending on your specialty. Moreover many general practice physicians do not make as much as CRNA's. I know you are an attorney so perhaps the money thing is inmaterial at this point to you but it's something to consider. Good Luck !!

Epiph-

I was an attorney too who got out of it after 9/11.

I thought I was the only one!

I became an Respiratory Therapist first. Just happened to fall into it. I had a great university/teaching hospital around the corner from me and I was admitted very quickly into a 2nd BS RT program with some pre-reqs made co-reqs. (LOVE IT btw)

Pros about Respiratory: The best thing is that you can work in allll areas. You dont have to commit to a specific unit. You get great cardiorespiratory training, you learn vents inside-out, you learn airway management, you get to intubate, you attend traumas, place A-lines, draw ABGs, youre on the code team, you transport critical pts all over the place. You learn great troubleshooting skills with all the equipment and learn to think fast.

But the profession is very specialized and limited $ wise and scope-wise, and I knew it wouldnt be the end of the road for me from the beginning. As a stepping stone- it's great as long as you work in a progressive department with high level critical care duties. I am working in CCU & CTICU as an RRT, and will switch over to being an RN in CTICU when I pass my nursing boards.

I am getting my Associates in Nursing through Excelsior now, will do online RN-BSN while I'm working and then decide whether to do NP or CRNA....

Personally, I'm leaning 80/20 to the CRNA side.

My biggest piece of advice is to go into a program that you can at least work doing *something* that pays and is giving you experience as soon as possible. Either an ADN/1 year Accel nursing BSN or RT is great bc with your previous BS, you can do it in 1-2 years, then continue to study while you are working... not only can you make money, but it will reinforce you mentally and you'll be getting a lot of great PAID experience while youre working your way through.

Also as an RN-JD, there's tons of medical-legal consulting work to get. (If you can still stomach your former colleagues)

Expect to get a lot of weird looks when people find out you were a lawyer "You left that to come to *this*???" nasty comments and such. Personally, I learned the hard way. I don't tell anyone about my previous career unless they've already had an opportunity to respect me formy current skills... not my past career. (Although the critical thinking carries over greatly!). I downplay it as much as possible initially....

People are ***catty*** (ESP nurses) and you will find that your education and previous experience is, for most, just an excuse to pick you apart more.

Good luck and PM if you want to talk...

RRT2RN2CRNA

Ephiph- I have PMd you a loooong email with the whole story and lots of info.

I don't know where you are, but if you want to come hang out in Respiratory with me to shadow feel free.

I'm in Long Island, New York now through September at least.

Info on the program I'm doing can be found on www.excelsior.edu. They have a *completely* online Nursing Associates that you can get into if you an experienced RRT, CRT, paramedic, LVN or LPN- no clinicals, just a clinical skills test to pass at the end. They also have a RN-BSN, and online MSN programs to take as add ons.

As a JD, you already have proven that you can handle a crazy workload in graduate school. I'd focus on just getting your RN the quickest way possible so you can get into ICU right away, get working, get your experience, start making money and take everything else online as youre getting your year experience. Get your CCRN, and start applying to CRNA schools as soon as you will have a year experience *by the time the program starts*. If you've got good ICU experience, are a smart cookie and flexible with relocation... there's a program that will find understand your goals and let you in. Most schools will pre-counsel you before you apply and tell you if your application is competitive.

Also, you might want to look into getting into this nursing program through the paramedic or RT "back door"... those programs are sometimes more willing to make some of your pre-reqs into co-reqs. I only had A&P and chem 1 done upon admission and then took microbio, chem 2, physics, stats, and developmental psych while I was in the program. Saved me a whole year....

Go for it!

Don't let anyone discourage you or lead you to believe you have wait. You don't, plenty of people have gotten in with less than one year's experience and having a JD shows that youre pretty tough to begin with. The experience will show youve got the skills...

Good luck!

RRT2RN2CRNA

Ephiph- I have PMd you a loooong email with the whole story and lots of info.

I don't know where you are, but if you want to come hang out in Respiratory with me to shadow feel free.

I'm in Long Island, New York now through September at least.

Info on the program I'm doing can be found on www.excelsior.edu. They have a *completely* online Nursing Associates that you can get into if you an experienced RRT, CRT, paramedic, LVN or LPN- no clinicals, just a clinical skills test to pass at the end. They also have a RN-BSN, and online MSN programs to take as add ons.

As a JD, you already have proven that you can handle a crazy workload in graduate school. I'd focus on just getting your RN the quickest way possible so you can get into ICU right away, get working, get your experience, start making money and take everything else online as youre getting your year experience. Get your CCRN, and start applying to CRNA schools as soon as you will have a year experience *by the time the program starts*. If you've got good ICU experience, are a smart cookie and flexible with relocation... there's a program that will find understand your goals and let you in. Most schools will pre-counsel you before you apply and tell you if your application is competitive.

Also, you might want to look into getting into this nursing program through the paramedic or RT "back door"... those programs are sometimes more willing to make some of your pre-reqs into co-reqs. I only had A&P and chem 1 done upon admission and then took microbio, chem 2, physics, stats, and developmental psych while I was in the program. Saved me a whole year....

Go for it!

Don't let anyone discourage you or lead you to believe you have wait. You don't, plenty of people have gotten in with less than one year's experience and having a JD shows that youre pretty tough to begin with. The experience will show youve got the skills...

Good luck!

RRT2RN2CRNA

Dear RRT2RN2CRNA,

Thank you so much for the encouragement and your brillient emails and for this post! It is so nice to hear that someone else is in my shoes and has given me much to think about. I will PM very soon!

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