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My daughter is due to graduate soon with a bachelor's degree. She got accepted to an associate nursing program at another school. Should she transfer?

Tuesday July 2, 2013
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Dear Donna,

My daughter is a junior in college and has completed the prerequisites for the BSN program at her school, but was not accepted. She did get into the associate degree program at our community college. I am confused as to what advice to give her. It is so hard to get into BSN programs. She does have about a year and a half before she can graduate because she is behind on some of the requirements. Should she transfer when she is so close to graduating with a bachelor’s degree?

Concerned Mom

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Concerned Mom,

There are several issues here. While transferring into the associate degree program now would allow her to start her journey to becoming an RN possibly within two years, nurses with an associate degree in nursing are having a much harder time finding a job in today's workplace than those with a BSN. The BSN is becoming a standard for hire and practice. If she does do the associate degree route, then she should plan to immediately get into an RN-to-BSN program after graduation. These are much easier to get into than the entry-to-practice BSN programs.

Another approach would be to have her continue her current baccalaureate track and then, after graduation, get enrolled in an accelerated or second-degree BSN program for those who already have a bachelor's degree in another major. These can usually be completed in 14 to16 months and also are easier to get into than the traditional BSN program.

One way is not necessarily better than the other. You'll have to look at time and costs. It may depend on where her passion lies right now and how motivated she is to dive into nursing study and clinical experience, versus continuing with her current course of study. If she can swing it, she also might look for part-time work (with either route) as a nurse's aide or patient care technician in a hospital or nursing home to gain experience and make professional contacts. This would support her journey into nursing in many ways.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.