Will it matter that I have a non-nursing B.S.? - page 2

I will be graduating with my B.S. in Health Care Admin., and planning to go into an ADN program afterwards. Will it matter that my B.S. is not in nursing? I would have preferred to get my B.S.N or... Read More

  1. by   MotivatedOne
    The majority of assistant unit managers at my hospital have ADN's. I too am in somewhat of the same situation. I have a bachelor's degree in a non nursing field and after being rejected by one school that offers an ABSN degree program, I decided to pursue an ADN. I'll start nursing school in the fall of this year. I then plan to enroll in either an RN-BSN or RN-MSN degree program.

    Good luck!
  2. by   llg
    Quote from maggie24
    Thanks! I think now I understand better what BSN's learn in school versus ADN's.

    But, this does not make sense to me: If I go back and get a B.S.N as a nurse with a B.S. in Health Care Admin, there will only be a few classes I will need in a bridge program to get a B.S.N.?

    Yes, you're on the right track with your thinking. Most generic BSN programs (what they call BSN programs designed for people without degrees in other fields) ... are 4 years long and based on foundation of liberal arts education. The students takes a wide variety of courses, including some humanities courses, social science courses, and sciences such as biology, anatomy and physiology, etc. These "general education" courses are required to develop the student's ability to think critically, reason, and express their ideas well both verbally and in writing. They are also chosen to give the student a broad foundation of knowledge about the world upon which to base a nursing career. The required nursing courses "sit on top" of that broad general education. Most of those courses are not taken until the junior and senior years of college in a generic BSN program.

    BSN programs designed for people who already have degrees in other fields (commonly refered to as "2nd degree programs,") look at your transcript and accept a lot of the courses you have already taken as part of that broad foundation. So you only have to take a few pre-requisite courses to fill in a few holes -- and then take the required nursing courses to learn about nursing itself.

    "BSN completion programs" (RN-BSN programs or RN-MSN programs) are designed for the student who has already is an RN, having completed an Associate's Degree in nursing or graduated from a hospital Diploma RN program. Those programs don't teach the basic nursing skills as the students already have them. They only teach the more advanced-level nursing courses and the more academic nursing courses. They also require the students to complete coursework for that general education, liberal arts foundation that they did not get in the ADN or Diploma program.

    So ... there are actually 3 distinct types of BSN programs, each designed for a specific type of student. There are also some programs designed as "enrty-level MSN" programs for people with degrees in other fields. These programs provide the nursing courses at the Master's level rather than at the bachelor's level. They are the quickest route to a Master's Degree for someone in your position, but they are usually a little longer and a lot more expensive than starting with the ADN.

    The question is: Which route through the educational system suits your needs and is available in the area you live? For some people in your situation, it makes sense to get their ADN (cheapest) and then go back to school for a BSN and/or graduate school later -- when their employer may help pay for their tuition. For other people, it makes the most sense to go to a 2nd Degree program, more expensive, but it gets you to the BSN level jobs more quickly. For others, it makes sense to start their nursing career with an MSN (usually the most expensive option, but the one that might come with the most financial aid -- and the option that will get you to jobs that require a MSN a whole lot faster.)

    There are lots of options. You have to look at each school to see what type of program they ofter, who their "target student" is and then decide which option is best for you.
    Last edit by llg on Jun 9, '09
  3. by   pnoble198
    I completely understand your confusion. Let me explain it this way: I graduated from a hospital based nursing school and received my diploma in nursing. When I returned to school, I was divorce, with 2 children, working 2 jobs. The BSN program I was in would not allow me to do my clinicals at my places of employment. It was an impossible task. Realizing that I needed a bachelor's degree, I changed my major to psychology. After 15 years of nursing, I decided to go back to school for my MSN to be a Nurse Practitioner. When I applied to UCONN, I was required to take 3 bridge classes: 1) Nursing research; 2) Public health nursing; 3) Community Nursing. Once I satisfied these three classes, I was admitted in the MSN program. I have 4 classes left and then my clinicals.

    As long as you are a registered nurse, you can have your bachelor's degree in any field. You will need to take 3 bridge classes and then you will be admitted into the MSN program of your choice.

    Hope this helps!
  4. by   elkpark
    Quote from pnoble198
    I completely understand your confusion. Let me explain it this way: I graduated from a hospital based nursing school and received my diploma in nursing. When I returned to school, I was divorce, with 2 children, working 2 jobs. The BSN program I was in would not allow me to do my clinicals at my places of employment. It was an impossible task. Realizing that I needed a bachelor's degree, I changed my major to psychology. After 15 years of nursing, I decided to go back to school for my MSN to be a Nurse Practitioner. When I applied to UCONN, I was required to take 3 bridge classes: 1) Nursing research; 2) Public health nursing; 3) Community Nursing. Once I satisfied these three classes, I was admitted in the MSN program. I have 4 classes left and then my clinicals.

    As long as you are a registered nurse, you can have your bachelor's degree in any field. You will need to take 3 bridge classes and then you will be admitted into the MSN program of your choice.

    Hope this helps!
    Caution -- just because that's UCONN's policy, that doesn't mean it's every school's policy. Plenty of nursing graduate programs require a BSN from an NLN-accredited program to be eligible to apply, end of story.
  5. by   pnoble198
    Quote from elkpark
    Caution -- just because that's UCONN's policy, that doesn't mean it's every school's policy. Plenty of nursing graduate programs require a BSN from an NLN-accredited program to be eligible to apply, end of story.
    True. I was just trying to make a confusing subject understandable. It would also depend on your GPA. Usually
    a 3.0 or higher is required for acceptance, but that too I left out for fear of further confusion.
  6. by   maggie24
    Thanks everyone for your explanations! This makes SO much more sense now! I thought I understood the different paths that I could take to get my RN license, but after reading so many posts and trying to research all of the many programs out there, I became a little lost, but not anymore!

    F.Y.I:
    I will most likely go into my CC's ADN program, b/c it is cheap (est. $5,000) when compared to 2nd degree BSN, and I know at least 2 hospitals in the area who are willing reimburse tuition for the ADN and possibly for future education as well (of course working a min. of 2 yrs is required), so either way, financially speaking, I should be ok.
    I also like the idea of an ADN program b/c it is only 2yrs long-I have been trying to get into to N.S. for the past 2yrs, as well as having to switch majors to complete my B.S. and I am anxious to start my life already!

    As stated before, I like the idea of entry-level MSN and 2nd B.S.N, but 1 class is about to be at the 5yr limit, and with no guarantee to get into these programs, I have a hard time justifying to myself to retake a req, only to have to wait longer and/or not get in at all, especially when I have a spot in 2 ADN programs already! (my spot on the wait list is up fall 2010, which BTW is perfect timing b/c I grad. with B.S. spring 2010)

    Besides, I like the idea of getting more education later at my employers expense!

    :heartbeat
  7. by   pnoble198
    Good luck! Wishing you all the best!
  8. by   GoalsInTransition
    Hi there!

    I just wanted to give some words of encouragement- your bachelor's degree will definitely come in handy, whether you get an ADN or BSN (or more). I did my BBA in health services administration (like you), and I have worked in clinical research for two years. I am just now going back to school for my BSN, but my non-nursing bachelor's degree has gotten me thus far, and I have many colleagues with similar backgrounds.

    You will have a variety of options open to you after getting a nursing degree- and you may well be paid better than an ADN with no other higher education, particularly once you get some clinical experience. I know that many VAs, hospice organizations, home health care companies, research institutions, etc. would be glad to have someone with your particular background.

    Cheers!

    Stacy
  9. by   MsLoriRN
    Hi,

    You received a lot of tremendous responses...what a great forum! I don't have anything particularly earth-shattering to add, but I did want to tell you that when I read your question, something stood out to me: you ended with, "I just really want to be a nurse!" :heartbeat

    First, may I say that it was that part which brought me encouragement, and made me think, "she'll do just fine...she'll do just fine!" I would encourage you, as you're making your final decision, to bear in mind why you want to be a nurse. What is it that is drawing you to the profession? Not everyone will know where they ultimately want to be in nursing 10 years into their careers...I do have my BSN, and I've had a long and fulfilling career as an RN. And every single step of it could have been done without the Bachelor's degree...I could have done it all with an Associate's degree. My sister, on the other hand, could never have done what she's doing without the Bachelor's. 99% of people would tell you that, to do what she's doing, you have to have your Master's degree. The 1% who would tell you otherwise are me and her! She's got a BSN. But she's one VERY gifted and unique lady. I liken it to that line in "Pirates of the Caribbean" where Elizabeth talks to the pirate captain about the "code" and he tells her, "they're more like guidelines"...where there is an incredible gift/talent, it will be utilized.

    But I've digressed...listen to what is in that beating heart that you posted, and look at what it is that draws you to nursing.

    Not all of us want to go into management...that can be its own nightmare.

    My heartbeat was direct patient care, and most of my career has been in all areas of critical care (ICU's of all sorts, ER, PAR, cath lab, etc.). I loved being charge nurse on my floors, and that came with experience, not the BSN after my RN. Plenty of ADN's were charge nurses. Yes, you'll be "taught" leadership basics/group dynamic theories in college, but excellent leadership is a matter of the heart and a spirit of servanthood as well as logic and a background in theory. Look at the highly educated "leaders" of the crippled corporations and banks of the world. Education isn't always everything!

    I've watched more than one unit leader (all MSN prepared) come and go...either quitting, or fired...over my years. The most wonderful unit leader (manager) that I ever had was NOT Master's prepared...Mary was a "temporary" leader plucked from among the nurses in the SHU (Surgical Heart Unit) to replace one who was fired because she couldn't lead, and about destroyed the staff with her inability. (fyi, the fired manager originally applied to the hospital for a staff nurse position...but because of her MSN, they put her in a management position. She had the education for it, yes...but not the heart, and it ate her alive...very sad). As the hospital searched for a new "credentialled" unit manager, the SHU and its staff thrived under Mary's leadership, and, with the help of petitions and meetings with the staff, Mary was officially given the position...no MSN required. Mary's biggest qualification was her heart for the unit, the patients, and the staff who functioned under her encouraging and helpful (read that hands-on, sleeves rolled-up) leadership. Because of her servant-leadership style, we all responded positively when she had to criticize or correct or discipline. Servant-leaders aren't wimps...!

    Back to you and your choices: Sometimes, because of financial constraints, we have to look in the short term and make our choices based on those things. If you are fortunate enough to have access to loans, available money, and the time to pay off those loans after all is said and done, you can look to the long-term...the "10 years from now I want to..." and make decisions accordingly.

    So, just a little "outside the student box" thinking (my specialty!) and insight for you to chew on. It sounds to me like you're making wise choices, and I wish you the best!

    Lori, RN
  10. by   83studentnurse
    Some may disagree with me, but I believe that an ADN plus a BS/BA in another field is very similar to a BSN. Having looked at BSN curriculum, there are maybe 2 classes I would have taken in a BSN program that I won't get in my BA + nursing diploma education. I'm not saying there's no difference at all, but that there's as much difference between BSN programs as there is between BSN programs and my education. The big thing people stress about BSN programs is that they teach you critical thinking and leadership -- two things I definitely got with my BA.

    However, I understand that hospitals may not have such a nuanced view. Many do hold BS + ADN nurses in different esteem than BSN nurses, though many don't (I'm working as an extern this summer and my manager said "You already have a bachelor's degree -- I think it was the best choice to go to [my 2-year school], since it's the best clinical program around.") It just depends.

    Also, many have noted that you can't go into management without a BSN. This is true, but increasingly you need an MSN to be in management. Soon, I think this will be nearly universal. There's very little difference between BS + ADN to MSN and BS + BSN to MSN (except for cost! It's much cheaper to get the ADN). The entry-level MSN programs, then, are good for those who know they want to do administration. However, I opted not to go this route for two reasons: 1) The entry-level-master's program around here is NOT GOOD, with very low NCLEX pass rates and 2) You pay grad school tuition to get your RN (not APN) so you still have to go back for another 1-2 years of grad school if you want to become a nurse practionner. It made a lot more sense to me to get a 2-year degree and then go for my MSN if I want to become a nurse practionner.

    Basically, I guess I'm saying that the best route to take depends on your goals, finances, etc. But I think BS + ADN is a perfectly good option for many people!
  11. by   shewat
    You will have more communication and management classes with your BS in Health Admin than any RN with a BSN. But they do have Community Health Management Projects and Papers and more Evidence Based Research... not sure if you would have gotten that type of stuff. But I think management positions will be at your feet... once you get some clinical nursing experience under your belt.

    The REAL importance of having a BSN is the ability to get into a NURSE PRACTITIONER program, and possibly any teaching Masters programs. Other nursing masters will accept your current BS. There are Magnet Hospitals that require a BS... and they say they require BSN, but ALL the hospitals I've run into will accept ANY BS. Magnet hospitals only have to have a quota of BSNs, so they will also hire ADNs. Don't waste your money getting you Masters just to get your RN, university prices are high enough, then they double/triple to take "master" level courses - when your getting the SAME RN.

    Accelerated BSN programs are the way to go if you can get accepted.... worth the money. RN to BSN is still a fulltime, 3 semester program regardless of your previous bachelors. So you may as well do the seriously bigtime/fulltime 3 semester accelerated BSN program. Even if it cost more than the associates degree program you'll be saving your self alot of time.

    If you can get student loans.... try, because supposedly there are programs to pay off nursing student loans. I couldn't get loans for my associates cause I'm still paying off my BS loans. But if I could have gotten loans at a University, if I had known it would have been ultimatley been paid for I would have gone to the University instead - both the AS and the BS are only two years of nursing, so it would have been the same amount of time invested. My overal GPA in my BS in Information Systems back in 2001 wasn't good enough to get into an accelerated program.

    Sorry to hear there are waiting list, maybe you should move to where the only BEST get in right away, without waiting list. When we were looking at moving to Pensicola they had waiting list. That sucks.
  12. by   83studentnurse
    MSLoriRN, I just wanted to thank you for your beautiful response! The whole degree debate can be so nasty, and I nearly drove myself crazy last year trying to decide whether to get a diploma or acc. BSN last year. It's wonderful to hear you point out that the "best" path depends entirely on each individual's situation and that what makes good nurses and even good managers is often not someone you can learn in a classroom. I love that there's a place in nursing -- be it bedside, administration, employee health, etc. -- for nearly any personality!
  13. by   belliot2
    Maggie,
    I have a non-nursing Bachelors degree- and went into Masters- ENTRY level Nursing degree (30 years after the BSW I had): CLINICAL NURSE LEADER- these are offered at over 150 colleges and are for people who want to get into nursing. I will finish in 2 years. With your undergrad of Health Care Management- you should be ideally placed for management. ( IF this is what you want).
    5 years is fine- our only requirements were: A& P 1 +2.
    It is a VERY INTENSE program- that is your LIFE year round, but we have a high NCLEX pass rate, and a great reputation at area hospitals for the preparation we have. CNLs are in demand in many areas (VA loves them) because they are older, demonstrate that they can be leaders, are seeing the big picture, and save a hospital money (always the bottom line). Only down side I see is that you are paying for a masters degree, so it costs more... but will open more doors in variety of areas: i.e. minimum BSN for work in schools...

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