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Options for Non-Nursing Degree Holders

Pre-Nursing   (929 Views 17 Comments)
by MaiaS MaiaS (New Member) New Member

107 Profile Views; 5 Posts

Which one is best for me?

  1. 1. MSN, BSN, or ADN?

    • MSN
      1
    • BSN
      14
    • ADN
      6

20 members have participated

Hi all,

I want to return to school in order to become a nurse, but am unclear on which route is best. I currently hold a BA in Psychology. I was not super motivated, (and by this I mean I was doing the bare minimum to scrape by with the mentality of 'C's get degrees'), during my undergrad years and am stuck with about a 2.5 GPA. I've already retaken as many classes as my university allows, and I did ace those. I'm confident in my ability to score highly on any required entrance exam. I also got all As and Bs on the pre-requisites commonly required by the programs. My hope is that admissions will work with me on this. My end goal is to be a PMHNP. I am not as concerned with how long it will take to get there as I am with the cost. I've explored the option of a BSN as a second bachelor's degree, noticing that the cost per credit tends to be lower. I've also thought, "I already have a bachelor's degree, so why wouldn't I just enter into a Master's program?" Well, here comes the GPA issue again. While there are some programs I found that would consider me, they aren't necessarily offering what I want to specialize in. At that point, I re-route back to the second bachelor's. Especially since it's not like I can 'shortcut' through that necessary education in the master's program anyways - I'll still have to spend time and money on that portion of learning before I can continue. May as well earn a higher GPA in my second degree and then apply to programs for my specialty of interest, right? As for the associates, community college is cheap and having RN licensure as well as some experience under my belt may open my eligibility for more programs?

Thank you in advance for your advice!

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tropsnegRN is a ADN, RN and specializes in Cardiac.

1 Article; 58 Posts; 1,512 Profile Views

I’m a second career nurse! I have a BS in Political Science. Towards the last year of my BS, I went through this huge crisis. Literally like a midlife crisis and nearly flunked out my last year which caused me to attend a 5th year before graduation. I was so nervous to send my transcript anywhere when I decided to go back to school. Ha. 

Anyways, I got my ADN literally because it was my cheapest option and I could always get my RN-BSN online later. There is no pay difference between an ADN and BSN at my hospital. 

I graduated top of my class in nursing school and was Vice-President. I am currently employed as a cardiac nurse and soon-to-be ACLS certified. In 6 months, I will be transferred to the cardiac special care unit. 🙂 

Getting my ADN allowed me to pursue a passion while also carrying around 30k+ debt from my first bachelors, and not totally break the bank. I’m also enrolled to get my BSN online this fall and my employer is paying for it. 

Honestly, I think going the ADN route was the best one for me, because I developed a rapport with nursing instructors and other people in the field that can vouch for me later on if I decide to pursue higher degrees later. A BSN option would do the same. 

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tropsnegRN is a ADN, RN and specializes in Cardiac.

1 Article; 58 Posts; 1,512 Profile Views

And also, I can’t speak for other programs, schools, or states - but from what I have seen, it appeared to be “easier” on me to work while getting my ADN. People that I work with that are getting their BSN from a local university seem to have a lot of extra fluff they have to do. The core is the same, but they have had to do silly time consuming prep for their clinicals. Like one of my friends had to prepare an entire binder that literally condensed their nursing textbook, pharm book, and drug book all into one that they had to lug around to clinical - whereas, my class just brought our books and generally one would bring the medsurg book, one would bring the drug book, etc. and we would share. She spent HOURS working on that binder afraid she would miss something and I just felt like that was unnecessary. 

Also having already had my bachelors, I only lacked anatomy and microbiology prior to nursing school, so I took those and then straight to just nursing courses. Since I’ve already got a bachelors, many of the RN-BSN programs don’t require me to take other classes I may not have had such as stats, nutrition, ethics, etc. 

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6 hours ago, tropsnegRN said:

I’m a second career nurse! I have a BS in Political Science. Towards the last year of my BS, I went through this huge crisis. Literally like a midlife crisis and nearly flunked out my last year which caused me to attend a 5th year before graduation. I was so nervous to send my transcript anywhere when I decided to go back to school. Ha. 

Anyways, I got my ADN literally because it was my cheapest option and I could always get my RN-BSN online later. There is no pay difference between an ADN and BSN at my hospital. 

I graduated top of my class in nursing school and was Vice-President. I am currently employed as a cardiac nurse and soon-to-be ACLS certified. In 6 months, I will be transferred to the cardiac special care unit. 🙂 

Getting my ADN allowed me to pursue a passion while also carrying around 30k+ debt from my first bachelors, and not totally break the bank. I’m also enrolled to get my BSN online this fall and my employer is paying for it. 

Honestly, I think going the ADN route was the best one for me, because I developed a rapport with nursing instructors and other people in the field that can vouch for me later on if I decide to pursue higher degrees later. A BSN option would do the same. 

Thank you for your insight! Is it a regular thing for an employer to pay for higher eduation? Is it typically exclusive to BSN, or would they also fund a  Master's in nursing?

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tropsnegRN is a ADN, RN and specializes in Cardiac.

1 Article; 58 Posts; 1,512 Profile Views

I can’t speak for all employers. My job offers a scholarship program, a tuition reimbursement program, and a student loan repayment program. Just check around at your local places or somewhere that you might want to work. They typically come with a clause that you have to work there for a certain period of time. 

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I'm also in a similar boat, I have a bachelors in Social work and I also have a master's degree in applied behavior analysis. From what I have seen any Masters entry into nursing programs that allow you to get a masters and your RN are expensive, at an accelerated pace making it harder to work while in the program, and the way it's been explained to me is that they aren't a Masters of Science in Nursing, they are just a Master's degree with an RN, so you basically are the equivalent of an ADN, just with a general masters degree. The post-bac BSN programs I have seen in my area do get you a BSN, but are also accelerated and more expensive. At this point for me going the ADN route makes the most sense. I will be able to pay for the courses out of pocket with a payment plan. The only downside is my local community college has a 2 year wait list for their ADN program, but for me that works out well because I want to re-take the pre-reqs (I took them about 10 years ago, so I need a refresher) and it gives me time to pay off most, if not all, of my credit card debt before starting the nursing program. I am hopeful then, that once I start working as an RN, I will be able to find a company that will help cover the cost of me doing either an RN-BSN program or more ideally an RN-MSN program. 

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Hoosier_RN is a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

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Before you make the ADN vs BSN decision, see what the hospitals are requesting in the location that you wish to work.  Some locations are flooded with new grad ADNs and BSNs, and the facilities will take the higher education.  With that said, a MSN without some experience will generally not get preference over anyone else.  And another thought to look at, NPs, especially PMHNP is slowly having a market flood because everyone is thinking high $$$$ payout, some areas have NPs of all credentials working at the bedside because of this.  Just some food for thought. 

Now, all of that aside, and all things being equal, if you can do an ADN, work in Psych nursing for awhile while working on your APRN coursework, that would be the best.  I did read that you have a degree in psychology, but the direct care of nursing would give you a better foundation

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I realize that you said you want to go into nursing, but I am DS in case it ever becomes a question for you – without undergraduate GPA you could not get into any graduate psychology program. For example clinical psychology is more difficult to get into in terms of the PhD programs for medical school, by quite a distance. Veterinary medicine team as a matter fact. So there is no option about that. Perhaps you could start out getting a two year certificate/ associates at a technical college, work a while, and then consider a BSN program (if that seems right for you at the time). I do wish you luck.

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On 7/4/2019 at 8:04 PM, CamMc said:

I'm also in a similar boat, I have a bachelors in Social work and I also have a master's degree in applied behavior analysis. From what I have seen any Masters entry into nursing programs that allow you to get a masters and your RN are expensive, at an accelerated pace making it harder to work while in the program, and the way it's been explained to me is that they aren't a Masters of Science in Nursing, they are just a Master's degree with an RN, so you basically are the equivalent of an ADN, just with a general masters degree. The post-bac BSN programs I have seen in my area do get you a BSN, but are also accelerated and more expensive. At this point for me going the ADN route makes the most sense. I will be able to pay for the courses out of pocket with a payment plan. The only downside is my local community college has a 2 year wait list for their ADN program, but for me that works out well because I want to re-take the pre-reqs (I took them about 10 years ago, so I need a refresher) and it gives me time to pay off most, if not all, of my credit card debt before starting the nursing program. I am hopeful then, that once I start working as an RN, I will be able to find a company that will help cover the cost of me doing either an RN-BSN program or more ideally an RN-MSN program. 

Sounds like I better get on a waitlist then! Wishing you well in your studies!

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23 hours ago, Hoosier_RN said:

Before you make the ADN vs BSN decision, see what the hospitals are requesting in the location that you wish to work.  Some locations are flooded with new grad ADNs and BSNs, and the facilities will take the higher education.  With that said, a MSN without some experience will generally not get preference over anyone else.  And another thought to look at, NPs, especially PMHNP is slowly having a market flood because everyone is thinking high $$$$ payout, some areas have NPs of all credentials working at the bedside because of this.  Just some food for thought. 

Now, all of that aside, and all things being equal, if you can do an ADN, work in Psych nursing for awhile while working on your APRN coursework, that would be the best.  I did read that you have a degree in psychology, but the direct care of nursing would give you a better foundation

Thank you for your advice! Very good things to know. How could I got about getting a job working in psych nursing while also doing my coursework? I'm assuming a student nursing position? 

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You have a bachelors degree, I would look into accelerated BSN programs, in my area they are typically 18 months and are only slightly more expensive than a traditional BSN per credit.

While your cumulative GPA is not a competitive for most nursing programs, it sounds like your prerequisite GPA is quite a bit higher. Look into the schools you could potentially apply to and see what they require for prerequisites and whether they make decisions based on cumulative GPA, or prerequisite GPA, or both. Every school is different and every region of the US is different as far as preferred degree (ADN vs. BSN). 

Because you desire to pursue an advanced degree I would recommend looking at BSN programs first, if you are unable to gain acceptance, then start looking towards ADN programs. It is my understanding that an MSN-RN degree will not help you to get an APRN degree any faster.

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88 Posts; 1,074 Profile Views

Same boat here with a BS in Healthcare Studies. I am doing the ADN program and enrolling concurrently with a local university to graduate with both my BSN and ASN at the same time. Since my first bachelors degree was basically premed, I’m only required to take about 4-5 ‘fluff’ classes during my adn program to get my bsn. It works out and it not too expensive either. 

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