Pre-Pharm to Pre-Nursing: ABSN vs BSN vs ADN

  1. Hi everyone!

    I recently changed my career path from pre-pharmacy to pre-nursing

    I've done countless search engine checks and and been through numerous threads hoping to help shed some light on the next steps...until I realized I should just post my own question.

    I graduated with a BS in pharmaceutical sciences with a mediocre 3.1 GPA and did 2 years of research in a pharmacology lab while working 2 jobs during undergrad. I also held some leadership positions for a club. I currently work full time at a biotech company as a lab tech (going on 2 years).

    I'm currently working to get the core prerequisites for nursing completed (Anatomy, Physio, Micro) at a local CC. I hope I can end up with at least a 3.5 prereq GPA.

    Ideally, I want to get into a ABSN/entry level MSN program in CA because I want my previous BS (plus the loans associated with it) to be worth something. However, I'm not opposed to an ADN and some programs do give extra points for having a BS degree. Plus at the end of the day all that matters is the NCLEX.

    I'm worried, because ABSN and programs that require a prior bachelor degree don't weigh majors. Thus, a science/health degree doesn't have weigh more then a BA or any other degree. So I'm worried that, competition wise, my degree GPA doesn't outshine a non-health/science with a 3.5+ GPA.

    Added with the fact that I don't have any past clinical/volunteer patient experience, I feel like I have no shot.

    I've spoken to a nursing counselor for a CSU, and she kind of validated that, yes, the previous bachelors is considered a minimum requirement so the major doesn't matter.

    So I guess I wanted to know if anyone had any experiences choosing which path is better after receiving a degree. Do I even have a shot? Or if anyone can tell me if there really is a hiring disposition based on what level nursing degree one graduates with after becoming an RN.


    Thank you!
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    About marionettiste

    Joined: May '18; Posts: 1
    from CA , US

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  3. by   etchensketch
    Thanks for your post. I think the ABSN or ADN or even MSN debate is a hot topic if you're in a place to do any of those. I personally am more pro-ABSN. These are my reasons (without factoring in finances):
    - ABSN admissions takes more of a look at the "whole" applicant. They understand and acknowledge that their pool of applicants are second-degree prospects, therefore, they are (hopefully) more mature, have acquired better grades in their prerequisite courses (they're just better students than they were back in undergrad), and are just more seasoned. When I say seasoned I mean- they have more experience (more life experience) and they have a better idea of what they want in life, because essentially, it's their second degree = second chance.
    - Shorter amount of time, thus, a faster path to taking the NCLEX and then that RN license. There ARE however some ABSN programs that are the same amount of time as ADN programs (2 years) and even the same time as MSN programs. But if you want a faster route, than a 1 year (15 months even) program is the way to go. Some may say that this is way too short amount of time to accomplish so much, but it does equip you with not only the knowledge, but the discipline and time management skills that a great nurse needs to have on the job.
    - It's a BSN! That's the minimum for a lot of RN job posts out there. Even when it's not 100% required across the board yet, its getting there.
    - A BSN gives you the edge when you are looking into advanced degrees or even an NP. Think ahead. Maybe you want to be a nurse specialist, nurse leader, educator, manager or director, nurse anesthesiologist, even a Nurse Practitioner.

    With all these factors, of course it increases the competition a bit. Everyone's more seasoned, more determined, and are just different applicants than what you see within a pool of applicants for say, an ADN program.

    (My) reasons not to pursue an ADN or MSN:
    - ADN programs are also competitive. Some have a wait list (sometimes it can take three semesters) or a lottery.
    - Some ADN programs have strict criteria like: you can only take the TEAS once and you get penalized for taking it a second time.
    - If you think you are already a viable and competitive applicant for a BSN, why aim for an ADN?
    - MSN.... well, why pay more for a degree when you only need a BSN (mostly) to be an RN? I can understand getting a MSN or Doctorates for Nurse Practitioner or if you know for sure what you want to specialize in then yes. But if you don't, then why pay more?
    - MSN programs tend to require more prerequisite courses and other application items like: extra letters of rec, more standard tests to take, etc.

    I can go on and on but, there are just my personal opinions on the topic. I'm sure others have similar or contrasting opinions. But your questions is indeed a topic that I think about here and there. But I can firmly tell you that I am pursuing the ABSN route.

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