career tracks - BSN vs. accelerated BSN/MSN

  1. Hey guys, I'm currently a freshman in an undergrad nursing program, and I was hoping to get some insight from current nursing students/RNs/NPs on my little dilemma.

    First off, I feel like I am pretty good candidate for a nurse. In high school, I was really into volunteering. I'm very detail oriented, hard working, compassionate towards other people and love being exposed to different cultures. I did an internship at a hospital during my senior year, which confirmed an (non-exclusive) interest in nursing. My goal was to become an NP, and I even chose to stay in my hometown of Boston rather than go to a "better" college out of state because there are so many great hospitals here.

    I'm currently in my first semester of freshman year and I've started to realize that there are so many different opportunities available to me. The thing is, the nursing program here is very structured. It is not possible for me to study abroad, pursue a minor unless I want to pay for extra classes, or even choose my classes (1 elective in the entire curriculum), which I thought were given privledges for college students. It's frustrating, but although I've thought time and again about switching my major, I'm afraid of the consequences.

    First off, my parents are paying an arm and leg for me to go to this school, which I chose SPECIFICALLY because of its nursing program. I also have two younger sisters who I have to consider because I'm obviously not the only person in my family who is going to go to college. I feel like I would definitely be interested in, and have potential to become successful with, a career in nursing (due to listed attributes in paragraph 2). I wouldn't mind sucking up and just continuing with my studies in nursing. The experiences I will gain through clinicals, co-ops (my school is known for co-op), internships etc. will look good on my resume, and my studies will be gradual over a course of 5 years rather than crammed together. Also, I've heard hospitals can pay for graduate studies, so if I wanted to become an NP, I could do it without having to pay a single cent. However, a part of me feels like I would regret not experimenting in college. I also feel like nursing is a reliable career and I can always "fall back" on nursing as a career.

    Which leads me to the accelerated BSN/MSN programs I've heard about. I feel like I would be interested in these programs because if what I study in my undergrad years don't work out career wise, I can always get my BSN and even my MSN in as little as 2 years. The downside, which is one of the biggest factors in my decision, is the cost. For example, I saw that a 2 year MSN program (for those who are already RNs) is HALF the cost of a BSN/MSN program. Also, I would not be an RN (or any type of nurse for that matter) if I go into the BSN/MSN program, which means I won't receive a tuition reimbursement from working at a hospital. My experience would also be less than normal BSN RNs, which would make it more difficult for to catch up and get a job. I would also have less time to learn (4 years of regular nursing studies crammed into 1-2) thus the work load would be more stressful than it needs to be.

    I know life is random and it is sometimes alright not to have a set plan, but I also feel like it is wise to plan ahead. So after reading my life story, what advice would you offer? I know it is ultimately my decision but based on the circumstances, what would you do if you were in my position? I am set on becoming an NP if I were to pursue a nursing career. Thanks in advance!
    Last edit by moonwave89 on Nov 16, '07
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    About moonwave89

    Joined: Nov '07; Posts: 2


  3. by   smile123
    Hold it. I think you have some misinformation. There are accel'd BSN/MSN programs for people who already have bachelor's degrees in another field. You can get a BSN or take the equivalent number of courses in a master's entry program in 12 - 18 months (to sit for the NCLEX (nursing boards)).

    What some people do is go through the first part of the accel'd program (all the classes to take the NCLEX) and then they either go to school full time or part time for the master's portion (NP degree) while they work full/part time as a RN. In that case, the nursing school picks up the tuition for the master's program as long as the person working at the affiliated hospital. (If you work part time, the amount of monies or number of classes that are covered is reduced.) Then by the time you finish the master's program, you will have some experience as a registered nurse.

    It sounds like you still want to discover yourself being in your freshman year of college. College is for discovery and finding your path. A lot of freshman have no idea what they want to do. Others may have a thought to go one way, but find they are more interested in pursuing a different path.

    Perhaps you want to help fund college with a part time job. Maybe you want to experiment with other classes rather than pursue a 4 year nursing degree right now. It's OK. There are many paths toward becoming a nurse. Please don't think that you have to make up your mind now. There are loads of people who decide to become nurses later in life who have worked in other fields. You've got to listen to your intuition. Don't go to a school because it "looks good" on paper if you are not happy. Go because you want to be there. If it means you drop out or change majors or attend a different school, that's alright. You need to find your dream. Good luck!
  4. by   HealthyRN
    I believe the OP is talking about completing an accelerated BSN/MSN program after she has another bachelor's degree (if she decides to drop out of nursing for now).

    If you have any second thoughts, NOW is the time to act on them. I had second thoughts about staying in my nursing program, but I decided to stay. I really regret that now and I wish that I would have pursued my dreams. College is a time of self-discovery and you may discover that there is another career for which you are well-suited. If at some point in your life, you do decide that you want to be a nurse, there are a lot of options out there. I would not worry too much about the cost. Money isn't worth anything when you aren't happy.
  5. by   HealthyRN
    Oops- double post!
    Last edit by HealthyRN on Nov 17, '07
  6. by   moonwave89
    Thanks for the posts! Currently, I've decided to switch my major but I'm still somewhat undecided as to what because there are so many things that interest me. I have another question regarding nursing though... I'm currently taking some of my pre-req classes (biology, a&p, psych) and I still have the option of nursing in the back of my mind (for graduate school). I saw for a direct entry program that there are several other pre-reqs (microbiology, chem) before I can get into the program. Assuming that I realized that I want to continue with nursing after I receive my bachelor's, should I take those classes now, or would it be easier to take them at a community college? The reason I wouldn't want to take them now is because there are a limited number of electives for all the majors I am considering, but if it is more convenient/less expensive to take them now rather than taking outside classes later, then I'd do it now. What is the process like just to take classes at a CC without getting a degree? I hope that made sense.
    Last edit by moonwave89 on Nov 30, '07