Master's entry programs vs. Bachelor's Programs

  1. Hello everyone! My name is Laura, and I just registered here after reading these messageboards for a few weeks.

    I am trying to make a decision about where to go to nursing school. I was just accepted into Vanderbilt's Master's of Nursing Program in Midwifery, which I am very excited about. However, it is extremely expensive, and I am trying to decide if it is worth it. It's a 6-semester program. After the first 3 semesters I would take the NCLEX and become an RN. The remaining 3 semesters would be spent in the midwifery specialty.

    The other option is to go to a cheaper school, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, for 1.5-2 years, get a Bachelor's of Nursing Degree, take the NCLEX and become an RN, then work for a few years and go back to school to get the master's degree.

    I have no nursing experience. I have been taking my pre-requisites at a local community college and will start my program, whichever one I decide on, this fall.

    My question is: is it better to get the lower degree first, gain some experience, and return for the master's? Or is it worth the money to just do it all up front?

    Any advice is greatly greatly appreciated!! Thank you!

    -Laura
  2. Visit suewolfie profile page

    About suewolfie

    Joined: Feb '05; Posts: 5

    50 Comments

  3. by   llg
    If you could be REALLY sure that midwifery is the specialty for you, there is nothing wrong with doing it all at once and it might save you a little money. You will need to make up for your lack of experience when you get to the graduate part of your program -- but if the school routinely accepts students in that way, they can probably help you with that. It will probably be a bit more challenging and you will have to work harder ... but again, if you are prepared for that and want to take on that challenge, it might be for you.

    On the other hand ... a lot of people go into nursing thinking that they will want a certain specialty. Then, when they actually get there and start doing it, they change their minds. One of the big advantages of getting a standard "entry" degree first is that it gives you a chance to experience the many different areas of nursing before you are asked to make a committment to any of them. Even if you decide to get a graduate degree very soon after your BSN, at least you will have had to opportunity to "taste" all the different specialties before committing to one of them.

    A little experience between undergrad and grad school is also not a bad thing -- though I am not one of those people who believe you need to wait several years before pursuing a Master's. You don't need to be a clinical expert before going back to school, but I think it is helpful to have a little experience of the real world of nursing before making a decision about graduate school and committing to specific program.

    llg
  4. by   sunnyjohn
    Do you get a BSN after those first 3 semesters? Will they let you switch to another Master's degree specialty if you find that Widwifery is not your thing?

    Agape...
  5. by   Cashmere
    Quote from suewolfie
    Hello everyone! My name is Laura, and I just registered here after reading these messageboards for a few weeks.

    I am trying to make a decision about where to go to nursing school. I was just accepted into Vanderbilt's Master's of Nursing Program in Midwifery, which I am very excited about. However, it is extremely expensive, and I am trying to decide if it is worth it. It's a 6-semester program. After the first 3 semesters I would take the NCLEX and become an RN. The remaining 3 semesters would be spent in the midwifery specialty.

    The other option is to go to a cheaper school, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, for 1.5-2 years, get a Bachelor's of Nursing Degree, take the NCLEX and become an RN, then work for a few years and go back to school to get the master's degree.

    I have no nursing experience. I have been taking my pre-requisites at a local community college and will start my program, whichever one I decide on, this fall.

    My question is: is it better to get the lower degree first, gain some experience, and return for the master's? Or is it worth the money to just do it all up front?

    Any advice is greatly greatly appreciated!! Thank you!

    -Laura
    Do you already hold a bachelor's degree in another subject becuase three semesters is really quick.
  6. by   suewolfie
    Quote from Cashmere
    Do you already hold a bachelor's degree in another subject becuase three semesters is really quick.
    I do already have a bachelor's degree; everyone who was accepted into that program has a bachelor's degree in something and has completed a certain amount of prerequisites, which is why the initial part of the program that leads up to RN licensure is so accelerated.

    There is a small chance of being able to switch specialties, but I think it's a difficult process. I would say I am 75% sure that I want to do midwifery. There is an outside chance that being exposed to other fields would spark an interest I don't even know I have.
  7. by   BETSRN
    Quote from suewolfie
    Hello everyone! My name is Laura, and I just registered here after reading these messageboards for a few weeks.

    I am trying to make a decision about where to go to nursing school. I was just accepted into Vanderbilt's Master's of Nursing Program in Midwifery, which I am very excited about. However, it is extremely expensive, and I am trying to decide if it is worth it. It's a 6-semester program. After the first 3 semesters I would take the NCLEX and become an RN. The remaining 3 semesters would be spent in the midwifery specialty.

    The other option is to go to a cheaper school, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, for 1.5-2 years, get a Bachelor's of Nursing Degree, take the NCLEX and become an RN, then work for a few years and go back to school to get the master's degree.

    I have no nursing experience. I have been taking my pre-requisites at a local community college and will start my program, whichever one I decide on, this fall.

    My question is: is it better to get the lower degree first, gain some experience, and return for the master's? Or is it worth the money to just do it all up front?

    Any advice is greatly greatly appreciated!! Thank you!

    -Laura
    It is just my opinion but I don't think any school (Yale is like that,too) should be allowing students to become an RN after a year. You know, it just does NOT happen. You have little bedside experience and you are going to need a LOT of skills to be a CNM. Personally, if it were me, I'd get the BSN, work for a few years (in L&D if possible) and then go for your CNM.

    I work in an LDRP and we have a lot of CNM students from a variety of programs. The students who are in the fast track programs (such as you describe) are far LESS skilled than those who have been nurses previously. They just have not had the experience or the comfort level with people. They gain it, of course, but at what expense?

    Another excellent program to explore is the Frontier School of Midwifery (connected with Case Western Reserve University). You would do that AFTER you are a nurse. WE have had a few of their students over the years and they were well prepared!

    I just don't think anyone is prepared to practice nursing after only one year. It's just the school's way pf pushing you through because they don't think there is a need for the basics.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by BETSRN on Feb 25, '05
  8. by   parteiranagua
    Well this is just ur opinion, and it would be wise to ask people who have been through this road first..
    I have known a few of them and they just do fine... they have to work harder thats all..
    MW management is not part of nursing process...I see it everyday in my work as an L&D nurse and as a MW student..

    ALthough I am an RN, I have worked mostly as a Doula, and as a psych nurse. In other words my skills were not at all there... I did not take me long to catch...My challenge as a MW student was more into adapting to the hospital setting since I was more used to low tech and home birthing.
    I cannot wait to go my IP clinical (this summer) to refresh my parameters and to stop thinking as a L&D nurse..
    In peace
    Ginny DOula RN SNM


    Quote from BETSRN
    It is just my opinion but I don't think any school (Yale is like that,too) should be allowing students to become an RN after a year. You know, it just does NOT happen. You have little bedside experience and you are going to need a LOT of skills to be a CNM. Personally, if it were me, I'd get the BSN, work for a few years (in L&D if possible) and then go for your CNM.

    I work in an LDRP and we have a lot of CNM students from a variety of programs. The students who are in the fast track programs (such as you describe) are far LESS skilled than those who have been nurses previously. They just have not had the experience or the comfort level with people. They gain it, of course, but at what expense?

    Another excellent program to explore is the Frontier School of Midwifery (connected with Case Western Reserve University). You would do that AFTER you are a nurse. WE have had a few of their students over the years and they were well prepared!

    I just don't think anyone is prepared to pracice nursing after only one year. It's just the school's way pf pushing you through because they don't think there is a need for the basics.

    Good luck.
  9. by   babyktchr
    Its funny that this has come up. We recently gained a new midwife who did a RN/Midwife program thru Yale. She has no nursing experience and it shows. I think it is a huge dis-service not to have a nursing background and be a midwife. You just don't have that....nurse thing going on. She doesn't have clinical skills or know how...although I am sure that in time this will come. In the meantime..it certainly doesn't make me feel comfy that she is on call and I know more than she does. She is also rethinking her career path now that she has had a taste of on call and the demands of the job. Makes me leary to think folks can just go into midwifery without being a nurse first. Because of my life situation at the moment I cannot get into a midwife program because I do not have BSN. They won't take me but they will take someone with a bachelors in whatever and make them a midwife. Sorry..don't mean to be rude...but I really just believe that you should be a nurse first.
  10. by   BETSRN
    Quote from babyktchr
    Its funny that this has come up. We recently gained a new midwife who did a RN/Midwife program thru Yale. She has no nursing experience and it shows. I think it is a huge dis-service not to have a nursing background and be a midwife. You just don't have that....nurse thing going on. She doesn't have clinical skills or know how...although I am sure that in time this will come. In the meantime..it certainly doesn't make me feel comfy that she is on call and I know more than she does. She is also rethinking her career path now that she has had a taste of on call and the demands of the job. Makes me leary to think folks can just go into midwifery without being a nurse first. Because of my life situation at the moment I cannot get into a midwife program because I do not have BSN. They won't take me but they will take someone with a bachelors in whatever and make them a midwife. Sorry..don't mean to be rude...but I really just believe that you should be a nurse first.
    I agree that it does them a disservice. Not to mention that that type of program is EXTREMELY stressful to begin with (even if you are a nurse with L&D experience). I would also agree that the lack of general nursing experience shows a lot: especially when they are first starting out.

    That's when I have to rely on my own nursing assessment skills. As long as I am comfortable with MY skills I can easily work with a new CNM. However, as with all of our midwives (and we love them all) we go right to their covering OB if need be. All our midwives have had to "prove themselves" in one way or another. But I do feel that those CNM's who have been RN's before are a lot more at ease and do a better job sooner. I,too, am uncomfortable when I know that I know more and have better skills than the CNM. Thank God that is rare. Ours (especially our long standing ones:and one came from that Yale program and was not a nurse before) are wonderful.
    Last edit by BETSRN on Feb 25, '05
  11. by   energizerbunny05
    Quote from babyktchr
    Its funny that this has come up. We recently gained a new midwife who did a RN/Midwife program thru Yale. She has no nursing experience and it shows. I think it is a huge dis-service not to have a nursing background and be a midwife. You just don't have that....nurse thing going on. She doesn't have clinical skills or know how...although I am sure that in time this will come. In the meantime..it certainly doesn't make me feel comfy that she is on call and I know more than she does. She is also rethinking her career path now that she has had a taste of on call and the demands of the job. Makes me leary to think folks can just go into midwifery without being a nurse first. Because of my life situation at the moment I cannot get into a midwife program because I do not have BSN. They won't take me but they will take someone with a bachelors in whatever and make them a midwife. Sorry..don't mean to be rude...but I really just believe that you should be a nurse first.
    a quick question what r your thoughts on residents who r allowed to deliver babies during their practice years dont they learn by the same method a newly graduated midwives would by observing and going through procedures supervised? im just curious. i am sure that these new midwives are not just thrown into deliveries i would hope they would be guided at first or supervised. just food for thought
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from energizerbunny05
    a quick question what r your thoughts on residents who r allowed to deliver babies during their practice years dont they learn by the same method a newly graduated midwives would by observing and going through procedures supervised? im just curious. i am sure that these new midwives are not just thrown into deliveries i would hope they would be guided at first or supervised. just food for thought
    residents don't practice totally unsupervised and independently as midwives do in many settings. The expectation of the CNM is higher actually, than that of a resident in many cases. Residents go thru years of residency. Not so, fast-track CNM's.
  13. by   energizerbunny05
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    residents don't practice totally unsupervised and independently as midwives do in many settings. The expectation of the CNM is higher actually, than that of a resident in many cases. Residents go thru years of residency. Not so, fast-track CNM's.
    yes granted but i would highly doubt any hospital would cut an inexperienced cnm loose. there must be some sort of balance to compensate for being inexperienced. yes residents do deliver babies in hospitals. med school graduates have very little clinical experience when they begin assisting in deliveries. i just feel like some of the nurses here have the my way of obtaining my degree is the best way attitude. i dont know if its jealousy of the fact that these people complete it faster or what. im just reading some of the threads and the animosity is ridiculous. my cousin gets the same snotty comments from experienced nurses shes in an accelerated program for np as well i just tell her to ignore them and work hard. as nurses and nurses to be we should support eachother not bring eachother down. i plan on attending med school this summer and never plan on shooting down anyones dream whether a nursing or medical student hopeful
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes
    [QUOTE=energizerbunny05]yes granted but i would highly doubt any hospital would cut an inexperienced cnm loose. there must be some sort of balance to compensate for being inexperienced. yes residents do deliver babies in hospitals. med school graduates have very little clinical experience when they begin assisting in deliveries. i just feel like some of the nurses here have the my way of obtaining my degree is the best way attitude. i dont know if its jealousy of the fact that these people complete it faster or what. im just reading some of the threads and the animosity is ridiculous. my cousin gets the same snotty comments from experienced nurses shes in an accelerated program for np as well i just tell her to ignore them and work hard. as nurses and nurses to be we should support eachother not bring eachother down. i plan on attending med school this summer and never plan on shooting down anyones dream


    Sorry to have to disagree but it's not "jealousy", believe me. I think some growing up is in order for people to automatically say this without the experiences to back them up.

    Energizer, If I wanted to be a CNM OR an MD I could, I have both the brains and ability. Most RN's do, that is a fact. Some are doing this as we speak. (including you, I read someplace else).

    Personally, I CHOOSE not to do these things for many reasons. My time is way too valuable to be on-call all the time or to be chained to any job off duty. My family is and always will be first, nursing a distant 2nd. This is why I remain an RN and very proud of it. So, NOPE, I am NOT jealous or resentful. I am grateful; I think I have it very good. I take off when I want, take vacations with my spouse and kids several times a year and homeschool both my kids. I have my priorities set and am happy with them. Being an MD or CNM would upset the whole balance for me, and I am unwilling to go there.

    Another thing: the fact is, the more real world experiences a person has, the more he or she brings to the table (or in other words, the clinical area). That is the bottom-line truth. Sorry if you happen to disagree. I have some years in the business and know a little bit about what I am saying here.

    What is "ridiculous" to me is someone without any real experience saying these things about us or our opinions. NO one is wanting to "crush dreams", but perhaps is infusing some reality into the situation based on experience. Anyone who knows me here, knows I am more than encouraging to others wanting or needing it, but I also like to keep it real.

    Have a good day and good luck in Med School to you. Like you said in another thread, if it does not work out or your priorities change, you "always have nursing to fall back on" as a BSN who graduated this year. Meantime, You have a few years to learn some things, and experience will be AT least as good a teacher as book learning will be, especially in medicine. (or nursing)
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Feb 25, '05

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