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Trying to figure out how to balance school & family. ADN or BSN?

Background -- I am in my 30's with 4 young boys and a BA in Math.

I decided about a year ago that I wanted to become a nurse. I have been taking pre-req's at NVCC with the intent of applying to GMU's accelerated 2nd degree BSN program this January to hopefully start Fall 2012.

I am beginning to worry that the pace of the GMU program may not be reasonable as a mom to 4 small boys (my youngest will starter Kindergarten in 2012). I have looked into the RN program at NVCC and it takes two years to complete, but it would be a much slower pace and I'd have summers off. Eventually I'd like to get a MSN and perhaps a NP, but not right away. Since I have a non-nursing bachelors, I would be able to enter a MSN program without getting a BSN.

My fear, however, is that if I do the RN program at NVCC I will have spent an extra year in school, but not be able to get the type of job I want. I would like to work in a hospital setting, not a Dr office. I have read conflicting information about the hospital job opportunities for new ADN RNs. Also, many of the posts are a few years old so I was hoping to get input from people who have dealt with this situation currently.

Do I suck it up for a year, put my family through hell and get the BSN? Or should I take the longer (but more manageable) ADN route and hope I can find a job. Any input, advice, or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thank you!


Specializes in Cardiac, Rehab.

Going to school with 4 kids at home is tough, we have a couple of ladies in my class that are doing that and they dont work outside the home, just attend school. As far as not getting a job in a hospital with an adn program, that is certainly not true for my area which is Hampton Roads VA. Plenty of 2 year and diploma nurses working alongside 4 year nurses. From what I hear, our diploma nurses stack up very well against the ones with BSN's because we have more clinical time in our programs.

For sure, a BSN is the way to go if you see yourself going on for advanced certifications or a masters. But even the 2 year and diploma programs will put you through the ringer since we all have to pass the same test in the end, so if you think it will be a tight stretch with the kids, then give yourself some slack and go with the NVCC program. Either way you hopefully come out with RN behind your name.

Good Luck.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. Like the ladies in your program, I would not be working while I was in school and we would plan to pay for some child care. From what I've been told, the major hospital system near me achieved magnet status a while back so there has been a push for more education. I know plenty of ADN RNs that work there, but most have been employed for years or have extensive past experience. Unfortunately spots for new grad nurses are extremely limited and most of the positions want at least a year of experience and say "BSN preferred". I'm not saying you couldn't get hired with a two year degree, but I'm just afraid it would be a lot harder. It's a very tough decision and I have had great advise that leads me in both directions. For now I am going to complete the requirements for both programs and keep my options open. Maybe I will only get into one and the decision will be made for me.

Edited by sKris

NVCC has a wonderful program, they really prepare their nurses well. If it were me, I would call nursing recruiting at both Virginia Hospital Center and one of the Inova hospitals and ask them what they recommend. Honestly, I think for getting a job, the main thing is making contacts. You'll do your clinicals on the floor at one of the hospitals, keep in touch with them, volunteer with them if you can. If they know you, they'll hire you. Even new BSN grads are having a difficult finding jobs if they haven't done the networking.

Edited by MissIt


Specializes in Cardiac, OB.

I chose the ADN path after considering the accelerated BSN program at VCU. I too have 3 small kids (youngest is 18 mos, yikes!) and the benefit of the schedule really appealed to me. The work will still be intense but I hope it will be somewhat more manageable than an accelerated program.

My school's graduates (JTCC) are super competitive in the job market and a CC with an excellent NCLEX rate speaks volumes about their program. Good luck!

my son was 4 when I went into my ADN program. 7 years later, I am re-married with a 9 month old baby. When I was in nursing school, I gave up my family and friends and concentrated wholly on school. I didn't work, school was my full time job. You are going to be a very busy lady with your kids and school.

I did my fair share of clinical nursing but now I work for a government contractor doing utilization review. If you plan on staying the clinical route, I would say ADN is fine, but there is a huge job competition outside of the "floor" and pretty much all of them want you to have a BSN. I just lost out on a job I applied for because I don't have a BSN. Good luck to you.


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