Should I work as an RN while completing Emory Mn to MSN program?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Feel free to join the conversation.


Hello Nurse Beth,

I was wondering If I could get some advice. I am a 21F and I am currently getting ready to start an accelerated MN to MSN pathway program at Emory University in May this year. The MN portion is only a year finishing up in August 2024.

Once we complete the program we have to wait 6 weeks before we can the NCLEX. Once successfully passing the NCLEX we would be due to start the MSN portion in October 2024. I'm kind of undecided if I should just complete the whole program MN to MSN or complete the MN portion just so I can get some RN experience beforehand.

My biggest concerns were if I decided to just complete the MN portion would be losing my spot in my MSN specialty cohort. Financial reasons are another big concern as well. Just wanting to get some feedback from new grads, seasoned nurses, and nurse practitioners on whether it's worth it or not. *Emory school of nursing MN to MSN Program is basically RN to MSN thanks in advance

Share this post

Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

174 Articles; 3,073 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Concerned,

Congratulations on being accepted to Emory University's MN to MSN program!

While your decision is a personal one based on your unique situation, I can provide you with some general advice to help you make your decision.

One important factor to consider is your long-term career goals. If you plan to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) or a nurse practitioner (NP), completing the entire program may be the best option for you, as it will allow you to specialize in your chosen field and gain more advanced skills and knowledge.

However, if you are unsure about your career goals or if you think you would benefit from gaining some RN experience before continuing with the MSN portion, completing only the MN portion and gaining RN experience may be a good option. This will give you a chance to work as an RN and gain valuable experience before continuing with the MSN portion. It may also be beneficial if you need to work to support yourself financially during the program.

Regarding the concern about losing your spot in the MSN specialty cohort, you could speak to the program coordinator or an academic advisor to see if it would be possible to defer your spot in the cohort for a year. This would allow you to complete the RN portion of the program, gain experience, and then rejoin the cohort the following year.

Ultimately, the decision depends on your individual goals and circumstances. It may be helpful to speak to current students or alumni of the program to get their perspectives and advice. Good luck with your decision!

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth