RN or Second-Degree BSN?

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I have a BS in Business and was 3/4 of the way through an MA in Psychology program before noting the jobs are just not there. I have applied to three nursing programs: 1 RN program at a community college and 2 BSN second-degree programs. I would rather do the RN. Any advice? I'm 36 and have several years experience in corporate training and IT. Thanks!


139 Posts


I have a BA in Behavioral Science and I entered an ADN program. I will be graduating in December and I love the program. I may go on to get my Masters in Nursing to become a geriatric nurse practitioner. In my opinion, ADN programs tend to focus more on nursing skill and less on theory which is kind of nice. Seeing you already have a Bachelor's degree if you decide after you complete your ADN program you could go directly to a Master's program. The only difference in pay between ADN and BSN is about 30 cents in MN. Let me know how it goes.



465 Posts

Agreed on 1) skill focus and 2) pay difference. However, I may not even be accepted to any program so I guess the question is moot :)


25 Posts

It depends on what you want to do...I was in exactly the same position about a year ago. I graduated from college with a B.S. in Exer. Phys. and I thought..I already have a B.S. why do I need another? I just want my R.N. The Associate degree was cheaper and quicker. However, I asked LOTS of Nurses, Nursing School administrators and doctors...ALL of them said that it was worth going for the BSN especially if you want to do advance practice nursing..i.e. nurse practictioner, CRNA. With a lot of graduate schools it is not enough to have just any degree and an RN. They want you to have the BSN. The reason is the program has more requirements. Not that associate programs don't turn out good nurses..they do.. but the BSN is more in depth. The ADN program at my community college did not even require Microbiology and Pharm was condensed. Technical skill is stressed at the ADN level ...but what I found is that management and advanced practice career paths are looking for critical thinking skills in addition to how well you can put in an IV. I am in my 3rd semester in a BSN program and love it.


94 Posts


I have a BA in history and was looking at second degree programs for nursing. I looked at the length of the program first. I didn't want to be rushed through. George Mason U's second degree program is 4 semesters. I was accepted into Penn State's BSN program as a change of major (or transfer student). I will spend 5 semesters taking nursing classes and graduate in SP05. Johns Hopkins has a 13.5 month second degree program, but I thought that was too short. You would start in June of one year and end in July of the next. Personally, I would not be confident enough to have the responsibilites that a BSN nurse has after only a 13.5 month program (even if it is Johns Hopkins).

Good Luck


465 Posts

Thanks PSUN. At this point I'm going to go with where I'm accepted. I'm getting nervous as I speak to reps from each program and admissions people outside the program and hear how difficult it is to get in. I even had one admissions guy burst out laughing when he discovered I was interested in nursing! He continued to tell me how many applicants they've - higher than any other year!

Do you mind if I ask about your grades? Mine were 4.0 in the psych program and the last year of the BS, but mediocre in the beginning of my college years. How do colleges determine the GPA for a second-degree student?


465 Posts

Good point Duckgirl and thanks for your research! I also have discovered that there is much more competition to get in the ADN program and the accelerated BSN programs are $$$$. I have an ARNP whom is also on the faculty at all the schools I've applied to whom will write me a reference, but I wonder if it's good enough anymore.


25 Posts

Kristin... I actually got rejected from the community college program in my area. The ADN program was looking at my GPA from 4 years college with extensive course work (which was a 3.0) and comparing it to applicants w/ a year of community college under their belt w/ a 4.0. There were many more applicants in the latter and I was nixed. That is O.K. I wanted to go the BSN route anyway. I found that my BSN program focused on course work from your previous degree in your major. Now if you have mostly C's in your core prerequistes like Anat & Phys....you might have a harder time. If I were you I would write a BRIEF cover letter with your applictions highlighting your best grades in related courses. They know that students become more focused as they get older. .


465 Posts

Duckgirl, you're ducky - thanks! I agree - so far I've gotten more encouragement from the BSN programs than the RN (except for the admissions rep who had me chuckling over the mad nursing rush. He said to me, "You want to go into nurrssssiinnggg?" I said, "Yes and don't you DARE laugh!") :)

I haven't even taken A&P yet - I only have 4 pre-reqs to take and am taking them in the Fall and Spring. Good because everything is almost done, bad because my GPA was dragged down. I was really feeling defective until I read your note - thanks again!


18 Posts


Two years ago, I was in your exact situation. I have a previous BS in Business and knew that I wanted to go into nursing. I looked into the ADN program at the community college and a second degree BSN program. I chose to go with the second degree BSN and have not regretted it for one minute. I am in school with people in a similar situation and understand what it is like to return to school after working. Everyone values education and works hard to be the best nurse possible. I graduate in August and am finishing my practicum this summer in an ICU. My preceptor has noted that she sees no difference in my skill level than any of the ADN students. It has been a challenging, but positive experience for me.

Good Luck with admissions and your decision.

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