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What is the difference between Master in Entry Level Nursing and ABSN programs?

School Programs   (144 Views | 2 Replies)
by ariahorizon ariahorizon (New) New

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Hi everyone,

I have a BS in Public Health and I am trying to apply for an accelerated nursing program.

I was wondering if there was a difference between a MASTER OF SCIENCE IN NURSING - ENTRY LEVEL MASTER'S PROGRAM vs ABSN

I know the titles are different MSN vs BSN, but at the end of it, I would still be considered an RN.

Everyone is telling me to go for the MSN - Entry Level because the title is better (2 year program), but I just want to jump-start my career with the ABSN program which is 16 months.

Which degree will benefit me in the long run in terms of finding a job, and applying for more schooling?


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4 Followers; 37,684 Posts; 103,159 Profile Views

As you know, the MSN is the usual degree one pursues after the BSN. A person who has no nursing experience at all may find it more difficult to find employment with an MSN because the BSN is considered the entry level. By the time you get an MSN, you are expected to bring practical experience to the table. Some are of the opinion that an entry level MSN graduate is or was more interested in going to school than performing bedside nursing. Not saying this is my opinion. Just saying what has been my observation from expressed opinions about this.

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

7 Followers; 13,343 Posts; 60,545 Profile Views

I believe the biggest factors in making the choice between MSN entry and ABSN are:

1. Your career goals, both long term and short term

2. The quality of the schools between which you are choosing.

Never go to a low quality school if you can help it. Low quality schools hurt your career, not help it.

What type of work do you want to do as a nurse? Bedside staff nursing? Administration? Nurse Practitioner? Nurse Educator? Researcher? etc. Different paths will lead you towards different "places" within the profession. Where do you want to end up?

Personally, assuming the schools were of equal quality ... I would choose the MSN program because it will get you a Master's degree in a shorter amount of time. If you get the ABSN, you'll be able to get a bedside staff nurse job, but you will have to go back to school and a graduate degree unless you want to stay at the bedside. There are a few other types of jobs you can get with an ABSN, but jobs away from the bedside without a graduate degree are limited.

With the MSN degree ... you should still start with a bedside staff nurse level job, but once you get some experience under your belt, you'll be able to advance from there quickly without have to go back to school for another degree. So if you eventually want graduate-level job opportunities, starting with the MSN is usually the quickest way to get there.

The MSN might not be the cheapest way to get to higher level positions though. Sometimes, the slower route ABSN + grad school later can be cheaper if your employer has a good tuition reimbursement program and you can get your graduate degree later, slowly, with your employer paying much of the bill.

So what types of jobs interest you? What type of career trajectory are you seeking?

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