Seasoned Nurse wanting career advancement- need Masters quickly

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by Mytuntunies, Oct 29, 2015.

  1. Mytuntunies

    Mytuntunies New Member

    41 years old, been a nurse for over 20 years. Worked as a CNA while in LVN school then got ADN. Have worked in many areas of nursing: nursing homes, med-surg, ICU, ER, and OR. I've been approached numerous times to apply for educator position and managerial positions, but couldn't due it due to lack of degrees. I couldn't go back to school because my family comes first. Now is better time but $$ and time still a concern. I am sending my 21 year old daughter to nursing school and still have 2 grade school children at home.

    Fortunately, for me the hospital I work really wants me to become a manager because I am very nurse and they feel that I would be great leader. They just need me to get a masters degree in any field. I have researched it here in CA they have certain schools that allow an experienced nurse to skip BSN(due to work exp.) and obtain your masters. However, it is very costly and hard. I would appreciate any ideas for any health care related degree that is easier than others and less time consuming. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, please avoid negative comments it's not nice nor is it necessary. Thanks again!!!!
  2. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator Staff Member

    Just to confirm - You are not looking at finishing a bachelor's degree and want to jump straight into a master's program, correct?
  3. GoodYellowDogs

    GoodYellowDogs New Member

    If I understand correctly, you don't have a BSN yet? If not, get that asap. There are a multitude of cheap and fast online BSNs. Then you will have a degree to stand on. Then immediately enroll in a cheap and fast masters program. At that point you can put it on your resume as enrolled. Do find out what they want you to have a masters in - healthcare, nursing, MBA?

    As a note, I was an EVP of a healthcare system, with only a A.S. in vocational nursing. So there are opportunities out there but they are slim.
  4. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    You can try the MBA at the Australia Institue of Business MBA Australia | Distance MBA Degree | Australian Institute of Business . The first 4 courses is a graduate certificate. The second 4 courses will be the graduate diploma. After the completion of the thesis the MBA will be awarded. No bachelor is needed because the fist to levels take care of it.
  5. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    There are 35+ ADN to MSN programs available online. Check out this site for details: RN to MSN Degree Programs by State
  6. GoodYellowDogs

    GoodYellowDogs New Member

    You need to decide what you are wanting before you go into a program. If you're looking for a promotion based on your degree, then the ASN to BSN to MSN or other masters is the fastest way to do that. If you just want to get a Masters in Nursing, then the ADN to MSN makes sense... but that is going to take you longer.
  7. rook901

    rook901 New Member

    As others have mentioned, there are a ton of RN-to-MSN options. One low-cost program to look into is Western Governors University at Online University | Online Degree Programs | WGU. I believe you earn a BSN during the RN to MSN program, but I could be wrong as I only took advantage of the RN-to-BSN program (finishing my MSN at a local university). It's very inexpensive, at a flat rate of about $6,500 per year for the nursing programs. It's self-paced, and not unheard of for a motivated candidate to complete the RN-to-BSN in under two years at a cost of $13,000. Not a bad deal compared to the alternatives.

    As a California resident, however, there may be some extra legwork that you have to do to complete the program. For example, California requires a preceptor for the community health portion of the BSN program. You will have to find a nurse working in community health to sign off on your practicum hours. Not a huge deal, but something to look into.

    If you're interested in applying to WGU, I -- or other WGU grads -- can get you a waiver for the application fee. Shoot me a PM and I'll be happy to set that up for you. I'm also happy to answer any general questions about WGU. In addition to the BSN, I completed WGU's MBA with a focus on Healthcare Management.
  8. Mytuntunies

    Mytuntunies New Member

    Thank you for all great ideas, I will start looking into all of this. To answer a few questions: My first inclination is to skip BSN part because they are requiring Masters in almost anything at this point because they really want to plug me in one of their administrative positions. We have 8 managerial positions and 5 out of those positions will be vacated in the next couple of years due to retirement. They are really trying to fast track me in one of the positions because of my experience and due to the fact that I get along well with all the staff and the chiefs of the different surgical services also recommended me to Dept. director. She told me that even MA would be acceptable. I would prefer a masters in health related services. My biggest hurdle really is time followed by $$ but they are going to reimburse almost 80% of school fees but of course I pay first. I'm just trying to find a program that will still allow me to work full time and still spend time with the family. Please keep ideas coming and thanks again!!!
  9. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    The University of Wisconsin offers an online RN to BSN program that could possibly be completed in only one year (depending on how hard you work on it). The degree program is competency-based. This means that credit is awarded for proving mastery of a particular subject instead of the time you spend studying the subject. The UW Flexible Option (as they call it) website states that one guy earned 33 credit hours in one three month period this way.

    UW Flexible Option: Competency-Based Degrees, Competency-Based Education & Learning
  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I would just like to point out that you could, instead, go the MBA route once you get your BSN. There are many MBA programs with Healthcare concentrations.
  11. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I completely understand why you'd want to skip the BSN. However, my HR sense is tingling (hmm, I hope it isn't a stroke...). Most people are unaware that you can earn a Masters, in some situations, without a bachelors. In other situations people assume someone has a bachelors when they absolutely do not. In the Navy, I had lots of people asking me why I didn't apply to Officer Candidate School. They assumed I had a bachelors when I only had an associates (for at least part of my time there). So, the Department Director may very well have the resources to determine if you have a bachelors degree but she may have just assumed that you have one. If she is aware that you don't have a BSN then she could possibly just be telling you of the need for a Masters with the need for a bachelors implied.

    While it is possible to earn a Masters, in certain situations, without a bachelors it is almost certainly going to confuse the heck out of HR people going forward. You should also be aware that, despite what the department director has said, you need to look at the actual job description for that job. It may very well say that a bachelors degree is required while a masters is "preferred" or "strongly" preferred. Practically speaking, the director would be well within her rights to basically not even consider a candidate without a masters given the sheer number of masters level candidates. But, unless she exerts an incredible amount of influence over HR, would not be appropriately positioned to exempt a candidate from the bachelors requirement even if you have the preferred Masters.

    Even if the Bachelors isn't written into the policy it is generally assumed since, in the US at least, Masters degrees are generally awarded after a Bachelors.

    Neuhaus anecdote: Some years ago we had a guy show up with an A.A.S. in Engineering Technology along with five years of experience. The problem was that the job description requires a high school diploma or equivalent with an associates degree preferred. This guy dropped out of high school, never got his GED, and started taking classes at a community college. So, on the one hand, he had the preferred qualifications. On the other hand, he lacked a required qualification. His situation is rare enough that we got him in with a one-off exception. But I can only imagine how complicated that guy's life could get applying for jobs that almost uniformly require a diploma. (Alternatively, he could just say "Yes" to that question because I have never worked for an employer who actually put forth the effort in verifying high school diplomas).

    All of that aside, while I see everyone has well covered the RN to MSN pathway, it sounds like your employer doesn't even care if your degree is in Nursing. So a related field would suit you just fine.

    To enhance your marketability, your access to masters level programs and to avoid potentially career altering confusion later, I recommend a bachelors. RN to BSN is an option for you. But, honestly, I'd look at getting a B.A. or B.S. quickly. From there, you have options ranging from the MBA in Health Care at Patten University to countless Master of Public Health programs. It sounds like things are going very well at this job but you also need to plan for what happens in the event that those circumstances change (i.e. hospital acquisition with new executives etc).
  12. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    This may be the highest ranked master you can earned without a bachelor. It is from Edinburgh Business School - Heriot Watt University. In the 80s and 90s it was ranked in the top 100 in the world.

    Another place to look is at the Atabasca university executive MBA. It is a top 10 of the world executive mba. A bachelor is not necessary, but it is on a one-on-one case - pricey, but the Canadian $ is at a historical low.
  13. cookderosa

    cookderosa Resident Chef

    a few people have suggested degrees outside of the USA, I think that's a friggin disaster waiting to happen- stay in the states.

    Also, the difference between an ADN and BSN is 60 credits- but if you look closely at the difference, there are really only about 7 or so nursing theory courses- the rest are the gen eds you didn't earn in your ADN. Schools like Excelsior or Thomas Edison are regionally accredited AMERICAN colleges that allow you to test out of all your gen ed deficiencies quickly and cheaply. With reimbursement at 80%, you could complete the rest online that way- being wise with spending.
    A final thought- it is possible that you'll qualify for a Pell Grant ($5500 per year award that doesn't have to be repaid) which can be used toward a BSN but not a masters.

    In my opinion, you could complete the BSN through Excelsior or Thomas Edison in under a year. Though the BSN isn't your final goal, it does qualify you for entry into EVERY MSN program, not just a select few, and having that option means you can find the best fit for your budget and skills.

    PS. you didn't say it, but if you start adding to your education, sometimes it lights a fire and you begin to think of what else is possible now that the degree isn't a barrier- and if becoming a practitioner has ever popped into the back of your mind, having a BSN means you could go after it. Having the MSN alone would mean it's still off the table. Just saying it's worth thinking about all the options.
  14. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    While I don't work in HR, I can tell you from my experience working for a large, Fortune 100 healthcare company for 15+ years that no one will turn down an RN with an (appropriately accredited) MSN, regardless of whether they also have a BSN. This. Just. Won't. Happen! It's all about supply and demand. In the link I provided above (re posted here: , there must be 100+ programs listed. Thirty five are online, the rest are on campus or hybrid. Maybe a dozen or so require a non-nursing baccalaureate degree, the vast majority only require an associates and an RN. And we're talking about some large, well known schools here (e.g. University of Alabama, University of Arizona, Northeastern, Drexel University, University of Pennsylvania for cryin' out loud!, etc.). Do you really think this many schools would offer RN (Associates) to MSN programs if they weren't accepted in the marketplace? Also, of note is the fact that many (but certainly not all) of these programs will award a BSN along the way to earning the MSN. The OP might be interested in one such program that focuses on nursing management:

    The OP is in the unique position of having an RN and ADN. While I agree with Neuhaus that in most other situations I would recommend someone without a degree or with an associates pursue a BA/BS first to avoid any issues w/ HR drones (no offense to anyone in this role!), in this case I think it would be faster and more expedient for the OP to pursue an RN to MSN program. Most can be finished within 2 years (online or on campus). That said, if the OP has no desire to pursue a masters in nursing program, then that's another story.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2015
  15. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    I'll leave you with a link to more information regarding the importance of RN to MSN programs (btw, more than 166 such programs are available nationwide): RN to MSN Program Information
  16. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I would bet that, in 15 years of working for a Fortune 100 Healthcare Company, this situation has not come up for you to make such a sweeping statement. It's rather uncommon for a person to skip a bachelors degree and go straight for an MSN without receiving a bachelors degree somewhere in the process.

    You'll notice that I never said "this will absolutely cause you a problem." I said that it could. I don't care how many years you have at your company you simply cannot guarantee against hiring bias and an HR department killing the hiring process of someone because they just don't understand the atypical situation placed before them.

    I used to be a recruiter. And you're right, it is about supply and demand. And the present supply of MSN-level nurses is, I would bet, somewhere around 99% R.N.s who have both a bachelors and a masters degree. Showing up with just the Masters degree should be OK. But it might not be.

    I can absolutely tell you that when I hired nurse case managers for insurance companies a bachelors degree was required and an MSN was preferred. No bachelors = no job. And if the employer required a BSN/RN, they weren't at all interested in an RN with a B.S. in something other than nursing. We put forward a candidate with an active RN license and a B.S. in Epidemiology. Not only was she rejected but my manager was called and got chewed out by the Director of Nursing who laid out a pretty clear message of "BSN means BSN."

    Again, it's very possible that a nurse would make it through a successful career with an MSN and no bachelors. It's very possible that they would never encounter any of these issues. But they might. They might because hiring managers and HR people are used to see the same patterns, as a general rule. Things that challenge their accepted notions of "how things work" sometimes have bad outcomes.

    So, while I think your experience is certainly relevant, my 10+ years in HR have taught me that nobody has the ability to predict what will "never" or "always" happen in a job search.
  17. japhy4529

    japhy4529 House Bassist

    You're right that I shouldn't make sweeping statements, but neither should you! Especially when your comments might scare off the OP from pursuing such a program and take more time, and possibly spend more money needlessly as a result.

    If the OP enrolls in one of these programs, perhaps she would land a management position at her current place of employment. Note the following quote in her original post: "the hospital [where] I work really wants me to become a manager." If she enrolls in one of these programs, perhaps her employer would promote her to a management position with the understanding that she complete the program in X amount of time. Of course, there is certainly no guarantee that this would happen, however, she could inquire about this before enrolling. Or, she could inquire with her employer whether this type of degree is accepted in general. In addition, given her experience in the industry, she could also poll other hospitals in the area (perhaps previous employers) to get their take on it. I'm not advocating that she just blindly enroll in such a program.

    Again, to repeat, there are 166 such programs in existence across the country. This is not an anomaly. I doubt these programs would survive for long if their students were under to land jobs upon graduation.
  18. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I don't feel that I made any sweeping statements. As a matter of fact, as I read back the posts I've written, I feel that I was very clear that 1) the proposed MSN without a BSN is certainly an option 2) the idea that a Masters without a bachelors might work for her present employer might also be a result of an internal miscommunication and she should be aware of that 3) that while her present employer is very helpful and providing room for upward mobility that these situations can change (i.e. acquisitions, mergers, key executives leaving and new executives arriving) and it is wise to do what is best for the broadest group of potential employers, not just where you work "today."

    There's a lot of "ifs" and "proceed with caution" in there but nothing that resembles a sweeping statement like "This doesn't ever happen."

    She could do a lot of those things. Her employer could also waive the Masters requirement and just hire her because she is amazing. Companies routinely waive educational requirements for exceptional employees. It typically only requires the sign-off of one or two executives. And yes, all of the things you mentioned are possibilities. However, neither of us were there for the conversation the OP had with the Director. Neither of us know the corporate culture in which she is operating. Neither of us can detect any nuance in what the Director said and neither of us know how "serious" the Director was in making these statements.

    For those, and many more reasons, I decline to say that any one path is the true, correct and absolutely right path. I absolutely refuse to say that getting a certain degree will guarantee employment, as you felt perfectly comfortable in stating.

    That's interesting. Did you actually read the link you posted, by chance?

    Emphasis is mine. The majority of these programs are cranking out people with BOTH a BSN AND and MSN. So, the fact that there are 166 programs on that list does not prove that an ADN who skips the BSN and earns an MSN directly would not run into potential issues in some employment arenas. I also dislike that argument because it smells dangerously like the "Well, if the school was a diploma mill, then how is it possible that it has been operating for 20 years?" Just because something exists for a long time doesn't mean it is "good."

    The market for RNs differs greatly between geographic areas. Some of them are much more competitive than others. If 10 applicants apply for a job and 9 of them have a BSN/MSN and one has an ADN/MSN I have no idea whether that degree difference would impede their career. Neither do you. But as John Bear demonstrated in another thread, all it would take is one administrator saying "Well, I worked my tail off earning my BSN/MSN, I'm not just going to hire someone who skipped a step in here" to really mess you up.

    The OP has stated that even an M.A. would make her eligible for one of these promotions. That's great! There are some MBA programs that don't require a bachelors. I still feel that one is best served in earning a bachelors and a masters degree because the potential for some hiring difficulty does exist particularly in large institutions where HR guidelines are adhered to much more closely.

    No one is trying to discourage, scare or express pessimism here. But when embarking on a degree program it is wise to consider which ones will meet your professional goals. And while it is admirable to set reasonable professional goals around one's present employer it often better serves an individual to set goals that position you well at your current job as well as with future prospective employers. Hamburger University is a great program if you intend to stay at McDonalds. But if you want to become a Burger King executive by way of Wendy's, the bachelors from an actual university might be a wiser move.
  19. Mytuntunies

    Mytuntunies New Member

    Thank you all very much for taking the time to give suggestions and offer advice. I have done some research and am aware that there are universities with either regional or national accreditation that offers ass. degree nurses the opportunity to obtain a masters and even a DNP. What I really wanted was real people's opinion and/or experience with the schooor program they chose. I never thought I would ever want to be a manager because I love taking care of my patients it is why I chose my profession. However, as I have gotten older I have realized that if I don't step up as many of my past managers and doctors have suggested then who will train and teach these new nurses (like my daughter).
    I am at a point in my life where I really love my career, I am paid very well, and I have plenty of time to enjoy my family. I would not want to jeopardize that but I do understand that in order to "step up" I need to take time away from my children and husband, but if I can minimize that and still go to school then it's a win-win situation for all.
    The HR Dept.(at work) when it comes to hiring is basically under the "control" of the doctors in that Dept. and the director. The director along with the chiefs are the ones that write the job description. As I have said I am well liked and supported because I have helped "trained" many of these doctors in the operating rooms. I have seen them write job description to fit exactly a candidate they have in mind from within our institution or to exclude somebody they do not want for a position. Having said that they still have to follow certain guidelines, thus the necessity for my masters. This company is nationally known and have more than 30 different medical centers across the nation. I have no plans leaving the company.
    Like I stated before I never had any intention of becoming a manager but I understand the great opportunity being presented to me. It is also very gratifying and humbling to have these doctors and managers have this much faith in me. It would be very foolish for me not to take advantage. So if there are anymore ideas/suggestions pls don't hesitate to share. Once again ...thank you, gracias, salamat, merci, grazie, arigato, dank u, kuhn, mahalo !!!!!
  20. rook901

    rook901 New Member

    This is actually pretty great advice. Honestly, when going into administration, the MBA is -- generally speaking -- more valuable than the MSN. I say "generally speaking" because there are organizations that require an MSN for anyone in nursing administration. However, the MBA is much more portable and is much more relevant to healthcare administration. YMMV, as this is speaking strictly from my own experience, having completed an MBA and in the process of completing an administration-focused MSN.

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