Single Mom - How soon after ADN should I pursue a BSN?

by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Hi Nurse Beth,

I have a couple questions for you. I am a student and I will be graduating in December with my ADN. When would you suggest finishing my BA degree? Do you think it is smart to do it immediately following getting a RN job? Also, I want to work in labor and delivery but I am a single mom and they work 12 hr shifts. How do you manage working 12 hour shifts and single parenting?

Dear Single Mom,

Congrats on making it through school! You have sacrificed a lot to get here, and so have your kids. You may want to give yourself a break from school, spend time with your kids, and re-group. Getting your BSN is important, but so is your family and your sanity. School will always be there.

You are going to have your plate full learning the ropes as a new RN and figuring it all out- working plus child raising.

I was a single Mom also, of three children under the age of nine, when I started nursing school. Every situation is different, but I have this philosophy of the details work themselves out when you're determined”. You can't always see how they will- but they do, somehow.

I worked eight hour shifts initially because I felt the consistency of being home every evening was important. Other single parents value having four days a week off to spend with their children. And what works for you now may not work when they're older.

One thing for sure- you have role modeled for your kids that education is important. You will be able to support them, and nursing is very flexible as to hours and days of the week. You will find what works for you.

Best wishes and kudos to you,

Nurse Beth

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU. 3,663 Posts

I am a single mom also. I will be graduating in May with my ASN also. I rely on my support system for everything. Right now I am looking at a tech job that leads into a RN job when I pass my boards. Just trying to get my feet wet!! But it's going to be hard. I think the whole BSN thing depends on what area of the country you live in. My area is not requiring it yet. I think that after graduation, it will all be about passing my boards and getting comfortable in my job. That is going to be somewhat stressful. There will be a lot of adjustments. Plus, I am adding moving to a new city!!

I know I want my BSN at some point. But it's going to be once I am settled into a new routine. And during the settling, I will be depending on my support system of friends, my boyfriend, and my ex to help get me started. Yes, my ex has been pretty good with the help recently.

Relax after graduation and get settled into this new life. School and the BSN are not going anywhere. I know lots of people say do it while you are still in school mode, but heck if I went back at 37, I can do it at say 43. Enjoy your new role and congrats!!

travduck, BSN, RN, CNM

Specializes in Rural, Midwifery, CCU, Ortho, Telemedicin. Has 52 years experience. 1 Article; 90 Posts


Relax after graduation and get settled into this new life. !

I absolutely agree. For several reasons 1) this time at a job will give you 'real life' experience on which to hang the BSN teaching; 2) you MIGHT find that, after all that, you don't like nursing; 3) working will give you an appreciation of the "differences" between the levels of nursing education; and 4) this time may give you an opportunity to take some further classes either at college or on line that will 'lighten the load' when you do return to school. When you get employed notify your employer that wish to return to school after a time to further your education, they may have a program that will assist you and they now know your intentions and may be more likely to work with you to both prepare you and to work with you once you are back in school.


feelix, RN

325 Posts

Start Yesterday. Find an online program. By the time you finish the online courses, you will have ample experience to start clinicals. Waiting to get experience is BS. No pun intended.



3 Posts

My husband went Grand Canyon University for his BSN and now his ACNP. I completed my MSN in leadership this past May. The programs make going back to school less of a chore. Definitely go back to school once you have your nursing license. Good Luck to you.

Edited by samilyn



Specializes in PCU, Hospice, Psych, ICU, Case & Disease Mgmt. Has 14 years experience. 71 Posts

My husband went Grand Canyon University for his BSN and now his ACNP. I completed my MSN in leadership this past May. The programs make going back to school less of a chore. Definitely go back to school once you have your nursing license. Good Luck to you.

Hello Sam. How does you husband like GCUs NP program? Is he working while hes in it? How much is the bsn from gcu door to door?



2 Posts

Just enroll in an online program and go part time. Some jobs that say they require bsn will hire you with Associates of working toward bsn



Specializes in School Nursing, Telemetry. Has 2 years experience. 124 Posts

I am not a single parent, but I am a parent of two children. I went to school and got my ADN in June 2013 (part time up until I got into nursing school--all told, took six years after being waitlisted one year) and ended up getting a job right after graduation. I decided to start school right away to get it out of the way, considering that the job market is pretty tough for non-BSN applicants. I started an online program in Sept. 2013 full time and graduated in Dec. 2014.

It was ROUGH. I was trying to be a parent, a wife, a new graduate nurse with all the crazy/overwhelming/terrifying things that entails, and a good student (with clinicals, papers, etc. to complete in my "free time"). Something had to give, and I started feeling like the hospital job wasn't for me--something that many new grads feel. I ended up leaving the acute care job (stayed on PRN) and took a school nursing job, because it was much less stressful for me.

Now, I wish I would have stayed and gained experience in the hospital setting, although I like the school, too. I just feel like I still have so much to learn. I am leaving the school and beginning a new acute care job in July. Yes, everything worked out and the BSN probably helped me with getting that new job. Yes, it was a fantastic feeling to say "I'm done!" But was the stress worth it? Not sure. If I had to do it over again, I'd probably wait at least until the first year was behind me before I started. There was just such a learning curve and I didn't have the luxury of being able to research things on my own or read up, because I was so busy with schoolwork. My youngest had never known me not being a student; I was a new nurse, etc. during her last year at home prior to Kindergarten starting. I wish I may have had more time to be quiet and enjoy that time with her.

Just some food for thought.



1 Post

Hi Single Mom,

I'm also a single mom. It's great you want to go into L&D! Most new grads can't walk into a position in this field without a little experience first. Go where ever they are hiring because experience is experience in the hospital no matter the type of unit. Read as much as you can and even try to work on any certifications that you can do without being in the field. It will only make you more employable.

On your BSN. I see all the different comments about relaxing and enjoying your family for a while and the ones that say to go right into your bachelor's degree. It comes down to what works for you. If you are in the area of the country that doesn't require a BSN to be an L&D nurse and going to finish your degree right would be too hard, then there's your answer. If you can swing going into an ASD to BSN program, I would recommend it on the sole reason that your mind is geared to learning right now. You are in the habit of studying and getting school work done along with juggling home life. Once you are out of school for a while sometimes it's very hard to get back into that habit. One plus is that majority of bachelor programs are all theory because you have done your required clinical rotations in your ASD program. Good luck with whatever you choose!!