There are numerous ways to become an RN. One way is to go to a four year college and come out with a Bachelor in Science of Nursing, known in short as a BSN. The advantage of this option is that it’s a straight route that allows the graduate access to the most jobs. This is because many hospitals and administrative positions are restricted for those who possess a bachelor degree. For the nurse whose end goal it is to be a nurse with the most options and not have to go back to college, this is a very practical route.
The disadvantage is the cost and time. For about one third the price one could go to community college and after two years become a registered nurse taking the boards test right along with all those people who spent an additional two years in school.
This is the route that I took. I received an Associate Degree in Nursing (ASN) from my local community college. At the time, I reasoned that since I needed to make money fast to support my family and due to the expense of a four year college program, it was in my best interest to go for an associate first.
After I graduated and passed my boards, I found that many of the jobs I applied for didn’t care if I had a BSN or not. My first job was in home-care. It payed seventy-five thousand annually with full benefits. It quickly became clear to me that while there are advantages to getting a bachelor in nursing, it was not a limit on my beginning salary compared to those who had one.
I did however decide to finish my bachelor in nursing for a few reasons. Firstly, I wanted the most career potential. While almost anyone with a registered nursing license can work on the floor, the administrative positions can be more exclusive in their choosing. Secondly, as I mentioned above, there are a number of hospitals which do require all their nurses to hold a BSN in order to retain their Magnet status. This is an award given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center(ANCC). And lastly, I do want to continue my education to perhaps an FNP.
Still, I had the same challenges of supporting a family and my financial restraints. So I decided to obtain my BSN online. At first I was concerned that employers will see that the degree is online and not take it seriously. However, after speaking to the head of the human resource department of a hospital that I very much wanted to get in to, I was told that it’s fine. As long as it’s accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), employers will understand that we all have time and financial constraints. Another bonus of getting my BSN online is that I didn’t have to go to anymore clinical to get my degree.
In summation, for those of you who graduated with an Associate in Nursing, continuing your education depends on what your end goal is. If you work on a floor and love bedside nursing then it is not such a priority, but if you see yourself as someone who wants to go up in the ranks of administration then I would recommend going through an online program. Either way I pray that G-d gives you success in your noble task of helping those in need.