Hi - I'm a potential nursing student looking for info...

  1. I'm new here, so I apologize if I'm asking questions that have already been covered.

    At the age of 34, I am reflecting on my life and have discovered that I'm looking for something challenging and fulfilling, something that will help people and make a real impact on others. Right now, I'm working in front of a computer. I've done that for most of my working existence, with the exception of my college years when I was a waitress or a cashier. Currently I have a B.S. in Management Information Systems, minor in Finance. My understanding is that you can enroll in an "accelerated" program to get your BSN in 12 - 16 mos. if you already have a degree. However, I have a couple of concerns:

    1.) Most websites I've visited say you must have a GPA of 3.0 or better to qualify for an accelerated BSN. I only have a 2.6, but that's because I worked 40 hours a week while attending classes full-time. I worked very, very hard in college although my GPA might not reflect this at first glance. Could this be a hindrance? For what it's worth, my general studies classes were largely a success for me. While I don't have my transcript in front of me, I'm pretty certain the GPA for my general studies classes alone would be higher than 3.0. Do they look at this only, or your cumulative GPA?

    2.) What can I expect to be paid (on average) upon graduation with a BSN? I will be staying here in Oklahoma, probably in Oklahoma City (where I live now). Two of my friends are nurses, and they make about $20/hr, but I'm not sure if they got their BSN or RN, etc.

    3.) Do I stand a fairly good chance of receiving government assistance? I'm female, but not a member of a minority.

    4.) If for some reason I don't get accepted into a nursing school right away, is there anything I can study on my own that would prepare me in the meantime? General biology, physiology, etc? I'm a fairly fast learner, so hopefully I can get a "jump" on some things while I'm waiting to be accepted.

    I suppose these questions are better answered in person by someone in admissions at a nursing school, but I wanted to have a fair idea before I spoke with anyone. Although the pay is a concern for me (since I want to make sure I can still pay my bills, LOL), that's not my reason for considering nursing as a second career. To be honest, I want to get back in touch with people and help others, and I feel like I've missed so much in my life by staying in a technical career that doesn't allow me the opportunity to do this. I've never been married or have children, and long hours on my feet don't bother me because I've worked under those conditions before. Nursing might be something that would suit me.
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    About Damaris

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 2


  3. by   k_cole21
    First of all you should talk to an advisor & get your transcript sent over to be evaluated. That way they can tell you what pre reqs you need to apply to the nursing program. You can take these classes at a community college which would be cheaper but be sure to discuss with an advisor at the nursing school you intend to apply to be sure the classes will transfer. Most pre reqs include Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Developmental Psyc, Statistics and Microbology.
    OU offers an accelerated nursing program for anyone who has a bachelors degree in anything. The class is 14 months and action packed. There is a Tulsa hospital that is paying full tuition for students who make a committment for 2 years. (I think the cost is about $13K).
    As for your friends who make $20 an hour. That's about average for OK. If the are RNs they either have an associates degree or a bachelors degree. There is no pay difference in OK. New grads start at $16-$19 and can get up to $5 an hour shift diff depending on the hospital.
    Hope this helps & good luck!
  4. by   dottimur
    1.) Do they look at this only, or your cumulative GPA?
    My experience is getting into nursing school for a BSN is highly competitive and a GPA under 3.2 will be a hindrance. There are other paths you can take including getting an associates from TCC as an RN which will pay exactly the same as getting a BSN. My experience at TCC is that you will need to get most of your science out of the way (biology for majors, Anatomy, Physiology (can't take A&P combined), Chem 1 and Microbiology) before you can get into their RN program. This took me Summer, fall, spring, summer to complete those 20 hours.

    4.) If for some reason I don't get accepted into a nursing school right away, is there anything I can study on my own that would prepare me in the meantime? General biology, physiology, etc? I'm a fairly fast learner, so hopefully I can get a "jump" on some things while I'm waiting to be accepted.
    I would say you should jump into getting a CNA at TTC so you can get an idea if nursing is for you. That is required for TCC's program. Start on your science pre-reqs mentioned above. If you have taken any of these science classes you have to retake them if you took them over 5 years ago.

    Be patient as it is very hard to get into the nursing programs due to the fact there are more applicants than slots in programs. But in the meantime you have many pre-reqs to get out of the way.

    Here is a link for OU's BSN program:

    Here is a link for TCC's associates nursing program:

  5. by   marilynmom
    What schools are you considering? I'm at UCO (BSN) and I have some info about how they select applicants.
  6. by   LanaBanana
    You will need to take the prereqs (mostly it will probably be sciences) but you might be able to get a provisional acceptance with a GPA lower than normal. Check into Oklahoma City University. There is another post on here about them accepting pretty much everybody who meets all the prereqs and general criteria. The best thing to do is go talk to them. You might also consider a LPN program - I think there are a couple of choices in the OKC area - as they don't usually base on gpa and then you could bridge on into RN which isn't as competetive. Go to the schools and talk to their nursing advisors first though.
  7. by   OKJen
    Hi Damaris!
    I usually don't reply to posts (just like to read and obtain info), but you sound exactly like me!!! So, I felt compelled to respond.

    I had worked in advertising for 10 years and then realized I needed something more in my life. I moved home (to Oklahoma City) from Phoenix where I had a successful career, earned good money and owned my own house. I realized that I needed to get out of the evil business world and try something new. So, I quit my job, sold my house and have been living on student loans for the past 3 years. I have to say it's the best thing I ever did - I don't regret a single day and certainly don't look back.

    I am 35 now and started from scratch. I have a BA from the University of Arizona so I had no prereqs that a science degree would require. I am a "senior" nursing student at UCO and although they did accept classes from my first degree such as English, math, etc, I needed to take all the sciences before I could apply for the nursing program. These were biology, chem, micro, physiology, anatomy. UCO also asks its pre nursing students to take three classes before applying to their program - Intro to nursing, fundamentals of nursing and individual and family development (also called developmental psych). I knew I was taking a risk because my first degree GPA was HORRIBLE!!!! I also knew that I had to bust my butt in these pre req classes to get my GPA up to apply for the UCO program. So, I did and I got in! It really depends on how much you want it! So this is what I know...my answers to your questions:

    1. Accelerated classes are quite simply a *****. I have friends who just graduated this June (or July?) from OU's accelerated program and they had a hard time. OU is a great school! And, I would definitely not deter you from going there, but think about your learning style and whether you can cram 2 years of nursing school into 13-14 months. If this fits you, then go for it! In addition, nursing schools look at your TOTAL GPA - not just some or part - the whole thing. But, as a saving grace, they also require other things to help you get in such as references and science GPA (by itself in additon to total GPA). I am, of course, talking about BSN schools. Associate degree schools might be a little different - I am not familar with their requirements. Remember, you can get an RN through a four year BSN school OR a two year associate school. RN's are RN's - we all take the same licensure exam (NCLEX). I chose to get my bachelors because I may choose to go into management or get my masters later on down the road - want to keep my options open.

    2. As for pay after graduation - well that's a little scary. I know you will know what I am talking about since you have been working in MIS. Starting pay rates for new grads in metro Oklahoma City hospitals average out to $18/hr. Full time is considered 36 hours/week - most people like to work 12 hour shifts so they only have to work 3 days a week. In addition, night and weekend differentials can vary between $2.50 and $5.00. So, if you decide to work a 7p-7a shift on a Saturday night - that shift could be worth around $23 for 12 hours - but remember that is ONE night not every night. To make extra money, some people work per diem shifts at another hospital where pay can be anywhere from $25-$35 an hour but that's only a supplement because per diem might only be 2 days a month. I have to say that I was making a hell of a lot more in the business world, but you know, that's okay. I am happy and I know from experience that money doesn't make you happy. Question where you feel happiest - behind a desk and a computer or caring for people on a daily basis (or at least 3 days a week

    3. Yes, yes, yes. You can get financial aid. However, OTAG (Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant) just passed a new rule that they will not be giving grants to those who have already received their bachelors degree. So, you will most likely be taking out loans unless you get another grant or scholarship somewhere else. I reccommend using Fastweb. You can sign up for their service and they will alert you through email when a new scholarship comes through that you can apply for.

    4. Most likely, you will have to take some prereqs so studying on your own won't be an issue.

    So, with that said. I would first decide what type of degree you would like to get and how much time and money you are willing to give up for that degree. Once you have researched that and decided your direction, I would contact those schools for their requirements. And if I could give a little plug for UCO, I LOVE it!!! The teachers are great, the clinicals are amazing and the environment is supportive. I have had such a great experience at UCO - they really prepare you for the real world and learning is actually fun. I hope this helps you, Damaris. Let me know if can be of assistance to you.

  8. by   marilynmom
    I'm a junior nursing student at UCO as well and would recommend it to anyone. The instructors there are wonderful.

    UCO just now, will be accepting 40 students each semester. They do look at your overall GPA, your science GPA (only the science classes that they require), 3 references from faculty (if you plan to go to UCO it would be wise to take science and prenursing classes at UCO to get good references). I got in with no problem at all. My overall GPA was a 3.4 and my science GPA was a 3.8 I know people in my class who got in with a lot lower GPAs than that though!

    Good luck!
  9. by   teebee
    Hi Damaris,

    I only have a quick minute to post (and this is my first post here) but I wanted to encourage you to talk to Oklahoma City University.

    I'm in a very similar situation to you - I'm 32, have spent many years sitting at a desk in front of a computer and feeling very... stagnant, unfulfilled, and inconsequential in terms of my career. I never finished my undergraduate degree about 10 years ago because I hated my major (English Ed) and I had to work so much... both factors led to a not so impressive GPA, but I have a lot of hours, making improving the GPA a long, difficult process.

    However, OKCU has been SO INCREDIBLY AWESOME in trying to help me get into their program that I think you should at least talk to one of their nursing school advisors (go to their website: www.okcu.edu, select Academics, then Kramer School of nursing, then Bachelors to BSN, it will give you the name of someone to talk to). Bottom line, I started my junior year of nursing yesterday after not getting accepted at UCO. I also applied to dental hygiene programs at Rose & OU and didn't get in either of those programs... Very discouraging!! I've been most discouraged by the fact that even though my GPA for the prereq's I've taken over the last 2 yrs is a 3.68, my overall is still below 3.0 because of the lousy GPA I had from 10 yrs ago... Kramer (the nursing school at OKCU) was the first place where I felt someone was truly excited to help me get where I wanted to be, honestly took a moment to fully understand my situation and look at the big picture (rather than just taking a quick glance at the bottom line GPA and saying "No thanks..."), and noticed how much progress I'd made over the last 2 years, and believed that I have the drive and motivation to succeed in their program. It was a refreshing experience...

    Anyhow, OKCU has a kinda system... call it a loophole? Where they will prioritize your GPA for classes taken at OKCU over your cumulative GPA from other universities - meaning, that if you take a couple of courses there and get above a 3.0, then you will most likely be able to start their program if you've taken all of the required prereq's.

    It may work somewhat differently for the Bachelors-to-BSN program than it did for the Traditional BSN route, but definitely make an appointment to talk to them, have someone review your transcript to determine what courses you lack.

    It is a private school...$$$$$$$... BUT, for me I'm soooooooo thrilled to be moving forward. And, they do have some funky gened requirements but so far I LOVE IT!!! You may be able to get federal financial (loans, maybe grants). I'm about to run out of financial aid eligibility b/c of excessive hours... so I will be going the private loan route beginning in spring. It's not ideal - but again, I feel it is worth it to be able to get started in a program.

    I took one class there over this summer (one of their unique GenEd courses) w/ a professor that also teaches Microbiology at UCO and it was a fantastic class. I've only started the nursing program this Monday but I think the professors are great - very approachable, they love what they do and their profession and they so obviously want us all to succeed.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

  10. by   HM2VikingRN
    Check with the school. At MN State Mankato they evaluate the GPA of your prerequisite courses not your GPA as a whole. If you get put on the waiting list for a slot stay in regular contact with the adviser as this shows real committment and dedication (THAT GETS YOU IN). Also apply to multiple schools.

    I know that in my (soon to start!) acceleratee program we have several finance/IT types who are picking up second degrees. Best of luck!
  11. by   rachel_tx
    Also check and make sure you don't have to take the NET exam (nursing entrance test). This covers basic math, reading, writing, etc.
  12. by   Jack Burton
    RSC also only looks at pre-req courses, and has increased class sizes d/t more funding. It is still pretty competitive (132-134 points to get in), so having some work experience is necessary. On the flip side, Rose has a high NCLEX passage rate (94% last semester, IIRC).
    RSC is touch and go on financial assistance. Some semesters I have been easy, some not so much. A lot of it has to do with your FAFSA information.
  13. by   Damaris
    Wow, so much advice to consider... thanks to all of you!

    I spoke with my friend and a few of her coworker/friends as well... they all told me to forget BS to BSN and go for an Associates degree instead, because I will be working full-time and the pace of a BS to BSN would probably be overwhelming. They also suggested Rose State, OU Medical Center or OCU. So I'm going to get a copy of my transcript and go to each school.

    I'll keep all of you posted on what I find out, because the information might be beneficial to others.
  14. by   aspiringBSN
    Hi teebee,

    I had a few questions for you, I have been accepted to OKCU and I am so excited for Fall 2008. I am applying to some other Nursing schools as well just because the cost, but my ultimate goal is to go to OKCU. I was just wondering how your Science Technology & Society, and Biblical Lit. classes were? Then also what would you take for a values and culture credit? I plan to take those at least 2 this summer prior to entering Nursing school and just wondering how much time and effort they will require. Because, I also work as a Nurse Aide part-time and I have to work throughout the summer to save money to pay for OKCU. Just wondering what you thought about those 3 pre-reqs you have to take there? Thanks!
    Last edit by aspiringBSN on Jan 10, '08