Accelerated BSN or MSN, which is smarter?

  1. Hi, Everybody,

    I'm a new member and this is my first post. I wonder if any of you all would have some advice as to which nursing program I should choose? I'm starting my third career (in my fifties!) and I can't afford a bad career choice at this point.

    Here's my goal--as far as I can formulate a goal having never nursed before!

    First choice: become a Nurse Educator and eventually teach in a college or university college. (this is a logical goal, since I taught for 10 years and loved all but the discipline. Presumably I wouldn't need to send nursing students to detention!)

    Second choice: become a Nurse Practitioner? or better, combine this in a practice with educating--best of both worlds.

    I've been accepted to two East coast schools that stand high in all the ratings I can find. They cost about the same (staggering amounts).

    One college offers an accelerated BSN + 15 credits towards a Masters.

    The other offers an accelerated MSN, training me as Clinical Nurse Leader, whatever that may be. a generalist?

    My question is, given my end goal, would either be the better course of study? Will I face job discrimination later, if I don't first earn a BSN? (The MSN offers plenty of clinical hours).

    If I go the BSN route, then I'll need to get a specialized MSN, and NP, I presume, to reach my goal.

    If I go the MSN route, I'll need to get at least a certificate for an NP.

    Costwise and timewise, these two routes are just about equal. But what about careerwise? Any thoughts, advice, warnings would be gratefully accepted!

    thanks

    Mintaka
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    About Mintaka

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 3

    10 Comments

  3. by   CrufflerJJ
    Entering nursing as a second/third career, there are bound to be doubts as to whether this is really right for you.

    I'd probably go for the accel BSN. Get your BSN, work at least 1-2 years before going for the Masters. The down side to that is whether you'll be able to complete the MSN while working.

    If you go for the MSN right now, you'll be "out of circulation" for 2+ years (with no pay from a job). Make sure this is a "fit" for you.

    With some accelerated MSN programs (such as the University of Cincinnati program I'll be starting in a couple months), you receive your BSN after 5 quarters of class/clinical work. After that, depending on your desires, you can work for a bit before completing the MSN, or go straight on through. This seemed to offer a good bit of flexibility down the road, compared to a straight accelerated MSN where you have no nursing degree before you receive the MSN.
  4. by   Tweety
    Maybe you can find more information on the CNL online somewhere. It's a new role. Not all hospitals are committed to it, as it's an extra expense, and their value is not well established, and there aren't a lot of jobs out there yet.

    Personally, I think your goals are admirable but I'm in the camp that advanced degree nurses need some experience in the real world of nursing in order to be effective in their roles. So I would recommend you take the accellerated BSN route, plus the 15 credits you can later apply to a Masters should you choose that route. You're going to see and learn a lot of things in that year that may change the course of your goals. Get a year or two experience before moving on to a Masters. I realize at your age, this isn't what you want to hear because of the time and expense involved, but leading and teaching other nurses requires experience in my opinion, and I'm sure you would want to be the best you can be.

    It would be very hard to be a CNL or an educator without some hands on experience of at least a year or two. Watch your instructors, when they teach the basics and other things they are going to bring some real-world experience into teaching that's invaluable.
  5. by   mvanz9999
    I'm in the other camp.

    It depends on your age and goals IMO. I do think that having nursing experience before becoming a nurse practitioner is important, but for me I don't really have the time or money to get both a second BSN and an MSN.

    I also know that you're going to get a lot of heat from both sides on the issue. I think what it comes down to is what you can afford in both time and money. Just because you have an MSN and NP certificate does not mean that you absolutely cannot work as an RN. So that's essentially why I took this route.
  6. by   SuesquatchRN
    If you want to teach go straight for the MSN.
  7. by   Tweety
    Quote from mvanz9999
    I'm in the other camp.

    It depends on your age and goals IMO. I do think that having nursing experience before becoming a nurse practitioner is important, but for me I don't really have the time or money to get both a second BSN and an MSN.

    I also know that you're going to get a lot of heat from both sides on the issue. I think what it comes down to is what you can afford in both time and money. Just because you have an MSN and NP certificate does not mean that you absolutely cannot work as an RN. So that's essentially why I took this route.


    Well, that kind of makes sense. Go ahead and get your MSN out of the way (you're young, I'm not understanding why you're saying you don't have time. I'm 47 and still finishing up my BSN. ), but still work as a nurse to get the experience and then go into advaced practice.
    Last edit by Tweety on Apr 25, '07
  8. by   Tweety
    Quote from Suesquatch
    If you want to teach go straight for the MSN.
    I would agree with this only if the person decides to work as a staff nurse for a while.

    I respect other's opinions, but a nursing instructor should be beyond a novice new grad, and have more than book knowledge of the profession. I image it would be difficult to teach critical thinking, or the "tricks of the trade" when you've done so little yourself.

    Then again, if I became an instructor I'd be lost in L&D and PEDs. But at least I'd have some background.
  9. by   Bluehair
    You are in for a lot of work! I have to commend you on your energy level.
    Any of these goals will be enhanced by having some experience in nursing. While it is not as critical for the NP role, it can be useful. As a nursing instructor it would seem to be crucial. How can you teach things like how to deal with physicians, or critical thinking skills in a complicated situation if you have not done any of that yourself? Being a nursing instructor is more than teaching nursing theory. I believe as a new grad RN yourself, you would have a harder time identifying a student's errors.
    Good luck with whatever you decide!
  10. by   MSJ2007
    I'd say go straight for the MSN. Here in Cincinnati, Xavier University has an accelerated direct entry nursing MSN that is completed in 5 semesters. I'm assuming the MSN program you are referring to can be completed in a reasonably similar timeframe. Why go to school for a BSN that might take 3 or 4 semesters, just to turn around in a couple of years and spend another 3 or 4 semesters completing your MSN? Skip a step I say.

    Good Luck!
  11. by   SuesquatchRN
    Quote from Tweety
    I would agree with this only if the person decides to work as a staff nurse for a while.

    I respect other's opinions, but a nursing instructor should be beyond a novice new grad, and have more than book knowledge of the profession. I image it would be difficult to teach critical thinking, or the "tricks of the trade" when you've done so little yourself.

    Then again, if I became an instructor I'd be lost in L&D and PEDs. But at least I'd have some background.
    No question, Tweety. But the MSN will still be, ultimately, needed, and if another semester or two gets her there, I would still elect to go that route.
  12. by   arciedee
    I'm in the MSN camp here, too (though I don't think you can really go wrong with either of your choices; congratulations!). I'm in a direct-entry CNL program and I know that I'll spend a year or two (or more) getting experience as a bedside nurse and I'm really looking forward to that. But it's also nice to know that when I'm ready to go on to teach or get a post-grad certificate I'll already have the other academic credentials. Good luck!

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