Nurses going back to school


  • Specializes in Critical Care, ED, End of Life, Pain.

:nurse:I'd like to find out from those of you who went back to school either to obtain your BSN or an advanced degree: How long had you been a nurse when you went back and why did you decide to go back?

I am writing an article on higher education and would just like to have some input from those who chose to do this.

Thank you


121 Posts

Specializes in ER, ARNP, MSN, FNP-BC. Has 17 years experience.

I went back to school this year for my family nurse practitioner after being out of school for 16 years! I did my bachelor's right out of high school and I wanted to get some experience before going back. Didn't necessarily NEED 16 years experience, but you know how it is, children husband , soccer mom thing! I probably never would have gone back if it were not for my second husband. We just got married 9 months ago after I'd been divorced for 5 years (an abusive relationship). My new husband is so supportive, he's my cheerleader. He told me to go back, full time, and he'd be mister MOM for me (he's retired from 28 years in the military at 46 years old). So, here I am , just finishing up my first year! I'm so glad I went back. I'm tired of assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients without the pay or the respect. I figure I'm just going to be doing what I do now, only on the record LOL.

good luck to you


116 Posts

Specializes in ER, Peds ER. Has 4 years experience.

I started going back to school for my pediatric nurse practitioner this past fall. I worked as a nurse for about 4 years before going back to school, mostly in the ER. I made the switch to a pediatric ED about a year before going back to school. My decision to go back to school was made based on several things. When I orginally started my undergrad I wanted to be a doctor, so about the same time I changed jobs I also started taking bridge courses and preparing for the MCATs. However shortly into my semester of bridge courses I suffered the loss of my cousin who was only 16 and incredibly close to me. This made me completely reevaluate every aspect of my life. I came to the decision that not only did I need to make some changes and find somewhat of a fresh start, but that I was happy as a nurse and felt as if I would make more of an impact advancing in nursing than I would as a doctor. So I dropped out of my bridge courses and began focusing on applying to NP programs. Months later I uprooted my life, packed all my stuff and headed back to school ten hours away from the place I'd called home for most of my life. It was been both one of the best and most trying decisions of my life. And much like the poster above me the support of my loved ones has played a big role in what's kept me going at time. Ironically the uprooting of my life, lead to the uprooting of my fiancee's life as well. We met about two months before I moved and played the long distance game for a time (which added stress). Now she's moved her with me and we're expecting a baby boy in June. Sometimes it feels like I've bitten off more than I can chew but I'll be damned if I'm going to spit any of it out.


503 Posts

I plan on going back to school to get my BSN about a semester after I finish my ADN. This is because I want to be a pediatric nurse and the children's hospital nearest to me only hires BSN nurses. I eventually want to go back (probably 2 yrs after working) and be a pediatric NP or teach future nursing students. =)

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

3,543 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

I'm back for my BSN, and only waited about six months. My main reason is that I want to be in a more competitive position to get the job I really want later down the road.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,232 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

I got my ADN in 94, waited 8 years before going back for the BSN. then MSN, the post MSN adult health CNS - finished all of that in 2006. However, am working int he ER now part time and need a peds cert - so back to school in Aug and will graduate in May 10.

nursej22, MSN, RN

3,290 Posts

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 38 years experience.

I went back to get my BSN after 10 years as an RN. I worked part time as my kids grew up and was a hockey/figure skating mom.

I thought I wanted to move into management or some other role away from the bedside. Grass looked greener. But I realized during my classes that I'm probably am not cut out for management and so many other jobs entail a lot of bureaucracy. IMO, direct patient care offers a fair amount of autonomy (or at least it used to).

Six years later, I went back for an advanced degree, again to give my self more career options. Still at the bedside though, and now with the economy the way it is, that seems like the most secure role to be in.

Although my job hasn't changed since I started my BSN, I still feel the effort and expense was worth it, if only for the validation I get personally from having a graduate degree from one of the top nursing schools in the country, and having the opportunity to interact with true nursing leaders as advisors and professors.


564 Posts

Specializes in ICU, PACU, Cath Lab.

I am starting my BSN program this fall...that will be two years after I graduated with my ADN. I will then start with my MSN about a year after I get my BSN, getting my FNP and my ACNP. At least that is my goal.


832 Posts

I've been a RN for 31 years and I am going back to school for at least my BSN. Reason for this is that in order for me to move out of a direct patient care area I HAVE to have a BSN. I really do not want to leave where I am employed at as the benefits are out of this world but I REALLY REALLY need a change as it is not conducive to my wellbeing. Went to our nurse recruiter and that was basically what she told me "Gotta have a BSN!" :p. Needless to say I cried.

If I have to-I will go to another facility because my health and sanity are more to me than benefits.

Specializes in Peds Hem, Onc, Med/Surg. Has 8 years experience.

I am starting my BSN in April and I finished nursing school in Aug. I only waited so long because of NCLEX or else I would have done it sooner.


17 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac. Has 19 years experience.

I graduated in 1990 with my ADN and have been in bedside nursing since. My experience is mostly cardiac stepdown. I have no desire to be in management. I don't want to be a NP. I don't think I would want to be an educator. Personally, I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, just that I am getting physically and emotionally tired sometimes. At 42 years old, I have , I hope a good 20 more years of working in front of me. I am planning on going back for my BSN, although I really disliked school and it is expensive. My hope is to work in PACU when they have an opening. I am going back simply because I don't know what the future holds. It may take me years to complete as I am going to take only a few classes at first. I have toyed with the idea of getting a different degree. Maybe business. It may be that I spend time and money on a BSN and stay where I am with no financial gain from it. I am trying to look at this as an adventure and a challenge instead of a burden to my pocketbook and time. Not sure how I am going to pay for it, but will find a way. Anyone else in a similar situation? Getting your BSN just to have it, just in case you may need it? I am a little apprehensive as the last time I took a college course was 1994.

I've developed somewhat thick skin from being a bedside nurse for 20 years, but I still would appreciate constructive comments rather that some negative threads I've seen from some people on different subjects on this site. We nurses are not always very supportive of each other and I appreciate a forum like this where we can be a community. Give a struggling old nurse a break here! LOL:) Okay, okay. I know. I just need to get over my fears and laziness and go back and get my BSN. No discussion necessary. SIGH!

This topic is now closed to further replies.