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Would you recommend a direct-entry Masters Program or Accelerated BSN?

Pre-Nursing   (3,060 Views | 26 Replies)

Dhooy7 has 4 years experience .

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I had plans to be a doctor. After attending one semester of medical school it was not the right fit for me. I graduated with a human biology degree with a health science emphasis. I am debating whether I should do an accelerated BSN or direct entry masters program.

Medical school was $53,000 a year, and I’d really like to be a nurse. My goal is to save up and work as a nurse a few years before I likely become an NP. However, I'd like to find the cheapest way to do this.

I have applied to the accelerated BSN which would be 12 months and about $42,000. If I did the BSN program I'd live at home and commute as it is close and not have too many expenses. I could also likely start in October 2020 and be done in October 2021. Then I'd work as a nurse and do to school part-time and do a tuition reimbursement program at my work.

I have inquired about a few state schools' direct entry MSN programs but I am honestly not sure the best way to proceed. I’ve worked as CNA for 3 years and started working in the hospital just recently. Interviews for the accelerated BSN are end of April so things are moving quickly. Any advice for me?

Thanks and have a great day!

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ThePrincessBride has 5 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

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What about med school did you not like? I am confused. You do realize that NPs are more like MDs than they are bedside RNs....right?

To answer your question, I never recommend direct entry. Get an ABSN and get some years of experience to figure out what it is you are wanting to do.

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Dhooy7 has 4 years experience.

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3 minutes ago, ThePrincessBride said:

What about med school did you not like? I am confused. You do realize that NPs are more like MDs than they are bedside RNs....right?

To answer your question, I never recommend direct entry. Get an ABSN and get some years of experience to figure out what it is you are wanting to do.

How do I message you? I can share what happened. I'm pretty certain I want to work in a clinic as an NP but I guess CRNA has also crossed my mind.

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Whatever gets you to np wages the fastest is the best path, regardless of initial investment. Every year lost not working as an np is a significant salary differential unless you’re working nights/weekends with crazy overtime as an RN. I’m looking at a direct entry MSN for that reason.

you could also do the accelerated BSN, start working, and finish you MSN through somewhere self paced like wgu or cappella. Many have finished fast and cheap that way. Then do your np certificate in whatever specialty.

Edited by anewmanx

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Dhooy7 has 4 years experience.

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A few people responded online and regret doing a direct entry masters. I think I'm going to do WGU once I work as a nurse for a few years. I just looked on their website. This is a very appealing program for me.

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I'm in a somewhat similar situation to you. I was accepted into and attended PA school. Unfortunately I did not finish my degree and I am now looking to be a nurse. From my research, it seems that ABSN is the way to go if you want to be a nurse. I have seen that the direct MSN programs don't include the NP MSN, so to me it seems like you would have to obtain a second masters to become an NP, which seems like more money than just doing ABSN and then a masters to be an NP. I may be wrong though! I'm interested to see what other people think as well.

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51 minutes ago, futurern13 said:

The NP certificate after the masters is not as many credits as a full masters, and the ADN is time consuming. The two paths compare like this:

ADN: 2 years, let’s assume $6000 in tuition at a CC that you already had saved up. You start working year two as an RN making let’s say $60,000 which is consistent with where I’m at and an ADN. It takes you an additional two years to bridge your ADN to a BSN working full time, so add 2 more years of salary minus let’s assume an additional 1.5 years worth of college tuition at twice the CC rate. So perhaps you come net positive from those two Years with about $100,000. You’re at year 4. Now you do the fnp MSN program. An additional 2 years if you’re lucky and your state school hasn’t wrapped it into a mandatory DNP program to justify their existence. You make a net positive of about $90,000 assuming a slightly inflated nursing graduate work tuition which seems consistent in my state. At the end of your six year journey you’re making at least $100,000 a year and are net positive by $190,000 from the starting point.

direct entry MSN: you already have your bachelors, and you start your program. 18 months in you graduate and start making let’s say $65,000. That’s about the rate at the local federal job where I’m at with a demsn. Your tuition puts you back $60,000. You begin working and immediately start knocking out the year or so the post-masters fnp with likely take you at the additional cost of say $20,000. At year 2.5 you are making $100,000 a year and are net negative by $25,000. You work as an np the following 3.5 years the other guy is doing his ADN-BSN-MSN-np path and come out net positive $325,000. Even if you have a gap year working as a prerequisite to the np certificate, which not all programs require, you are still only down to $255,000 net positive at the same point

that cheaper ADN program costs you between $65,000-$135,000 in lost wages.

Edited by anewmanx

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Dhooy7 has 4 years experience.

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Here is a response from direct-entry masters:

"I am actually one of those people who is enrolled in a direct entry program NP program (MSN), set to graduate in May 2021. The reason why I applied, is because I wanted to become a provider, either PA or NP. I admit that I should have done more research into the two paths. Without knowing better, I went into a direct entry NP program. I was 29 at the time and wanted to just move on with my life. I was afraid that if I became an RN and started a family that I would get busy and wouldn't have time to apply to an NP program later on. Obviously, there are many nurses out there with families who go back to school so my thinking was flawed.

If I had to do it all over again, I would either 1) Do an accelerated BSN, work a few years as an RN, and then go for my DNP to become a nurse practitioner or 2) go to PA school.

When I was going through my clinical rotations pre-RN license, I would get comments from nurses that I shouldn't have been doing a direct entry NP program. I understand where they're coming from, but it also made me really anxious going into clinical. I already had a feeling that they didn't like me for that very reason. Eventually, I told myself to get the *** over it, became more proactive, and did well in my ICU preceptorship at the end. I passed my NCLEX on the first try and got my RN license. The pre-licensure portion was 1.5 years, the master's portion is another 2 years. I started the masters' portion the following semester (we don't get a long Summer break). I found an RN job and also started volunteering at a primary care clinic as an RN.

The program is accelerated, but I have been doing well. I currently have a 3.90 GPA (from pre-licensure up until now in my masters portion). The academic part isn't that difficult...also, if I had a BA in Dance and managed to do well, I'm pretty sure a lot of people can do well in nursing school. However, I do recognize that doing well in class and exams is nothing compared to real life.

As you may have seen, many nurses recommend getting at least a few years of RN experience before becoming a nurse practitioner. I have met an NP practicing for 3 years at a primary care clinic (graduated from the same program I did), and she was still struggling. There is a huge learning curve for new NP's, which is why that RN experience can be helpful.

So aside from the fact that everyone is saying you should work as an RN for a few years first, the other reason why I wish I did things differently is that my school told us that they would find preceptors for us. However, there are several of us who do not have a placement. We were asked to do our own outreach. Preceptors are hard to find to begin with, and now with the pandemic, they're even harder to find. The school said they may try to get us into telemedicine for our clinical hours. This may just be a problem with my specific school though. I have heard of another program in the area that secured placement for all of their students. It just adds to my frustration (and regret) that I did this program.

So what am I going to do about this situation I got myself into?

Well, I currently work as an RN, though not in a setting I prefer. I plan to work as an RN for a few years before I apply for NP positions. Basically, when I graduate as an NP, my degree might just sit there for another year or so. Also, there are a few NP residency programs out there that I am considering after I get my degree. I figure that is the best I can do to kind fix this less-than-ideal situation. I do not plan on doing acute care NP. I plan on working in primary care. Although a part of me is interested in working in outpatient surgery, which is why I'm starting to regret not going to PA school instead.

I hope this long post was useful to you...coming from someone who is actually in a direct entry program and wish she did things differently."

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@anewmanx Thank you breaking things down like that. I had no idea there was such a thing as a post-masters NP certificate. I have done a ton of research but I am still new to the nursing profession. It is difficult to figure out which is the best way to go. I did well in PA school so I think I would be able to handle the direct entry MSN without problems. I just wish there were more programs that offered the direct entry because I'm assuming it is super competitive to get into.

@Dhooy7 Thanks so much for sharing that perspective. I noticed she said she wished she had gone to PA school. I definitely think PA school is scary because there is nothing to fall back on if something goes wrong. With nursing you can get your ADN, BSN, MSN, or NP. If something goes wrong at any level you can fall back on your previous degree. In my PA program (and in other PA programs I've heard of) people have gotten kicked out like crazy for academic, behavioral, and sometimes just personal reasons, and they had nothing to fall back on. It was crazy, and as a result I think nursing is the safer route. I don't know why anyone would become a PA after becoming an RN because NP seems to be more logical to me and from my experience from working with both, they do most of the same things.

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Dhooy7 has 4 years experience.

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2 minutes ago, futurern13 said:

@anewmanx Thank you breaking things down like that. I had no idea there was such a thing as a post-masters NP certificate. I have done a ton of research but I am still new to the nursing profession. It is difficult to figure out which is the best way to go. I did well in PA school so I think I would be able to handle the direct entry MSN without problems. I just wish there were more programs that offered the direct entry because I'm assuming it is super competitive to get into.

@Dhooy7 Thanks so much for sharing that perspective. I noticed she said she wished she had gone to PA school. I definitely think PA school is scary because there is nothing to fall back on if something goes wrong. With nursing you can get your ADN, BSN, MSN, or NP. If something goes wrong at any level you can fall back on your previous degree. In my PA program (and in other PA programs I've heard of) people have gotten kicked out like crazy for academic, behavioral, and sometimes just personal reasons, and they had nothing to fall back on. It was crazy, and as a result I think nursing is the safer route. I don't know why anyone would become a PA after becoming an RN because NP seems to be more logical to me and from my experience from working with both, they do most of the same things.

Someone at my hospital said they are requiring nurses to get their DNP now and its cheaper to be a PA now. That is not true but one reason others suggested being a PA instead. I agree with you though.

I just don't want to take out student loans and trying to take advantage of tuition reimbursement. I'm leaning on doing ABSN starting in October. I've inquired about direct entry masters but wish you the best with everything.

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11 minutes ago, futurern13 said:

@anewmanx Thank you breaking things down like that. I had no idea there was such a thing as a post-masters NP certificate. I have done a ton of research but I am still new to the nursing profession. It is difficult to figure out which is the best way to go. I did well in PA school so I think I would be able to handle the direct entry MSN without problems. I just wish there were more programs that offered the direct entry because I'm assuming it is super competitive to get into.

@Dhooy7 Thanks so much for sharing that perspective. I noticed she said she wished she had gone to PA school. I definitely think PA school is scary because there is nothing to fall back on if something goes wrong. With nursing you can get your ADN, BSN, MSN, or NP. If something goes wrong at any level you can fall back on your previous degree. In my PA program (and in other PA programs I've heard of) people have gotten kicked out like crazy for academic, behavioral, and sometimes just personal reasons, and they had nothing to fall back on. It was crazy, and as a result I think nursing is the safer route. I don't know why anyone would become a PA after becoming an RN because NP seems to be more logical to me and from my experience from working with both, they do most of the same things.

Being a PA is a nice job. Why didn’t you finish that? Or is it the autonomy in most states you get as an np that appeals?

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@anewmanx I ended up discontinuing the program for a number of reasons. I did well in my classes and clinical rotations though. I agree with you; I think being a PA is a good job and if you go to the right school, you will probably make out great. I unfortunately went to a newer program that had a lot of issues. There were other programs I would have rather gone to but it's so competitive that you just go wherever you get accepted. I don't want to hate on the PA profession because I support them, but I just think nursing and NP route is a little safer. About 1/4 of the people in my PA program did not graduate from the program and had no backup plan after. I know that happens in RN and NP programs also, but from my experience, it doesn't seem to be at the rate it happens in PA programs.

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