preparing for accelerated MSN, does anyone have advice for me? I have a Bachelor's



degree in rhetoric from UCB and really want to go into nursing. I'm preparing for UCSF's accelerated master's program (NP) right now. I'm taking physio and doing really well, still, I'm nervous that I won't get into any schools in the area.

Among my questions-

should I take the 5 unit anatomy class at Merritt comm. college next smester as opposed to the 4 unit class? UCSF recommends the most rigorous class, but I have to take basic bio as a prereq. for anatomy and would rather not spend more time taking classes than I need to. Is this a bad approach?

At application time I will only have roughly a year of volunteer experience in a hospital care setting? Is this a good amount of time under my belt?

Is there any adivce anyone can give to me, a bright 33 year-old woman with a big heart but not tons of experience in the field? Are there any other programs one would recommend to me, or paths I should look into? Thank you so much!


145 Posts

Hi - I am similar to you. I just took the 5-credit Anatomy class along with the 5 credit Physiology class, along with the 5-credit Microbiology class at Merritt last semester :).

Yes, I recommend it. They were all good classes. Let me know if you want feedback on any professors. I would also recommend the 5-credit Chemistry class they offer which is good even if you already have Chemistry from a long time ago.

I am 34 and I am applying to SMC's ELMSN program in January.

Good luck!


188 Posts

Specializes in Labor and Delivery.

Maybe you could work part-time as a PCA (Patient Care Assistant) or CNA at a hospital. It is basically a glorified nurses aide (and they may call it something else where you live). I did that while I was in my BSN program (you don't need any experience usually--they provide all the training) and it provided GREAT experience and I learned a ton and could apply what I was learning in school to my patients.

Once when I was working as a PCA, I went into a patient's room in the middle of the night to refill his water. He woke up and smiled at me and in the faint light of the room I saw that his gums were really bleeding. He was going into DIC (disseminated intravascular coagulation--a life-threatening situation) and had I not seen that, he could have been in big trouble and not diagnosed for HOURS. Had I not been in nursing school, I may have not realized the situation and now as a nurse, that is still the only case of DIC I have ever seen. I consider that time working as a PCA to be INVALUABLE to my skills now. Plus, an admissions committee may see that as a true commitment to a career in healthcare.

Gennaver, MSN

1,686 Posts

Specializes in Ortho, Med surg and L&D. Has 13 years experience.

...Is there any adivce anyone can give to me, a bright 33 year-old woman with a big heart but not tons of experience in the field? Are there any other programs one would recommend to me, or paths I should look into? Thank you so much!

My first advice, (as a fellow entry level MS nurse) is to cease and disist calling it accelerated. That is a total misnomer, misleading and causes confusion.

There is nothing accelerated about it, it is merely another route to entry.

Really, they do not call BSN accelerated, (say if someone already had their associates in a non nursing degree, the BSN is not called accelerated).

I had begun calling it my "entry level" nursing degree in order to smooth out confusion. If someone doesn't get it, I explain that I am not an advanced nurse but an entry level generalists who started out with a MS entry rather than a BS entry or even rather than an AD entry. I also explain that my undergraduate degree was a "pre-nursing, pre-professional" degree, as it was indeed. This isn't some fly by night quickie degree, you will work your tail off.

Good luck, hang on, it is ALOT of credit hours and once you are done you will ready.



121 Posts

Where can I find out more information about a PCA? Can a student volunteer as one? Or is this a job?


188 Posts

Specializes in Labor and Delivery.

A PCA (patient care assistant) is a type of job. They may call it something else where you live (I've also heard them called Patient Care Techs). In the hospital where I worked during nursing school, PCA's did beds/baths, blood draws, ECG's, vitals, some dressing changes, etc. We also did charting on I&O and answered call lights (helping people to the bathroom, bringing something to eat, etc.). It's a hard job and lots of work, but I learned a ton. The hospital where I worked hired student nurses (after their first 2 med/surg clinical classes) and then we had reduced training and made a little more money then the the PCA's. They also worked with our schedules and so I only worked one day a week (or more if I wanted, between terms). It was great because I could really apply what I was learning in school. Plus, the nurses were (usually) cool about letting us observe different procedures to learn. I HIGHLY recommend it. If you work on a unit that you really like, you may be able to get a job there when you graduate and that makes a much easier transition, since you already know the unit policies and staff. Good luck!

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