Rush GEMS vs. Loyola ABSN?


Hi everyone!

I am about to graduate with my degree in biology and I am debating between going to Rush University (MSN->DNP) or Loyola (ABSN->MSN->DNP). My first choice is Rush because it is better ranked, will get me to my end goal faster (DNP) and cheaper, and I liked the atmosphere when I visited the campus for an info session. However, Loyola has an FNP emergency nurse subspecialty option, and I am very interested in working in the ER. Rush, unfortunately, only appears to have FNP, acute/primary care in gerontology/peds, neonatal, and psych, but I will most likely end up wanting to specialize in emergency nursing. I would appreciate any thoughts/comments/advice.

Thank you!!!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

Your thread was moved to our Nursing Programs forum. Good luck to you!

I was in a very similar situation as you (Bachelor's in Biology transitioning to nursing). I live in Chicago and went with the Loyola ABSN program and was very happy with it.

Things to consider:

-Rush's MSN program leaves you with a Generalist entry Master's, not an NP or CNS degree that will allow you to practice autonomously, which it sounds like is your goal. So then you are forced to the the DNP route if you stay at RUSH.

-The DNP is not necessary to practice as an NP at this time. You can practice as an NP if you complete a MSN program that trains you as an NP. However, the MSN component of the RUSH program does not do this. I wouldn't fixate that you need the DNP to start working in this role off the bat.

-Loyola offers a LUMIN program for students completing the ABSN program. If you maintain a 3.7 GPA, you can apply for direct entry into any of their graduate nursing programs. You don't have to take the GRE. You complete two of the graduate level classes while finishing the ABSN program at no additional charge (5 credit hours for free = $5000). Once you pass NCLEX, you proceed into the MSN program at your own speed. (For time frame reference, I started Loyola ABSN in Jan 2011, Graduated from ABSN in May 2012, started the MSN program part-time Fall 2012 and am graduating in May 2016 with Adult-Gero NP with Oncology Specialty degree). So about 5 years for both degrees. My classmate who also did the LUMIN program finished with his FNP last Summer, so it can be done even more quickly. You go at the pace you desire. A caveat is I'm not sure you can do the LUMIN program for Emergency NP. I know they typically require both ED working experience as well as Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) specialty for admission.

-I don't think the school rankings play into your ability to get hired. Both RUSH and Loyola are top 30 Nursing Schools. I was hired right away at Northwestern Memorial after completing the ABSN.

-You said your goal is to do the program as quickly as possible. Keep in mind, working as a nurse, most organizations you work at will offer tuition reimbursement. If you work at Loyola, you get $10,000 per year towards graduate tuition (if you go to Loyola). University of Chicago offers full tuition reimbursement at any school. Most hospitals will offer at a minimum $3000-$5000 per year towards tuition. So, spacing out the coursework a little more may result in more of your tuition paid for.

-Since you don't have any clinical experience yet, it is easy to say you want to work as Emergency NP. Just be aware that you may find that you really like another clinical setting, so keep your mind and options open.

Hope this was helpful. If you have more questions, I'm happy to answer. Obviously I am a little biased towards Loyola, I just think the generalist entry master's is unnecessary.


3 Posts

Thank you so much for your opinion! The reason I wanted DNP to be my final stop is because I read that there will soon be a requirement for people to obtain their doctorate rather than their master's degree to become a NP. Regarding your last point about how certain hospitals pay part of your tuition, do you mean that the University of Chicago pays for your entire tuition, regardless of which nursing school you go to?

There have been rumors that the DNP will be required to practice as an NP, but these rumors have been going on for a while now, and nothing has moved forward with implementation. Since there isn't even consensus about requiring a BSN as the entry level degree into the profession (and this debate has been going on for 30 years now!), I don't think there will be a change in legislation any time soon.

If you work at University of Chicago in a full-time capacity as an RN, they will pay 100% of your Master's tuition. Good deal!