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I have to go back to school for my BSN, even though I have another bachelor's degree. I find it all very frustrating.

Tuesday March 4, 2014
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Dear Donna,

I am one year out of school and already feeling the burnout and wondering what now? I have to go back to school for my BSN, even though I have another bachelor's degree. I find it all very frustrating.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Frustrated,

Your first year or two in nursing is always tough, especially if you’re in a situation where you are not well supported. If you haven’t already, please join and get active in your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org). You cannot stay isolated. You must immerse yourself in the community of nursing. Without that sense of community and belonging, you may survive but never will thrive. Read “Lean on me” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Lean-on-Me) and “Getting the most from your professional associations” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Professional-Assns).

You happened to enter the profession during a time of great evolution and elevation for the profession, including the need to get a BSN. Even though you already have a bachelor’s degree in another major, there is a significant body of scientific research that demonstrates that the more BSN nurses (not nurses with degrees in other majors) a facility has, the better the patient outcomes. Other healthcare professionals, such as pharmacists, dieticians, physicians and physical therapists need masters and doctoral degrees even to enter their profession. Nursing is just catching up. Begin the task of getting that BSN and move on with your career. Read “Master the scholarship game” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Scholarship-Game) so you can get some of the scholarship money available for RNs returning to school.

Read my book “Your First Year as a Nurse - Making the Transition from Novice to Successful Professional” for additional tips and strategies. It is available at most bookstores and through Kindle. You may find you need to take some additional measures to improve your job/career situation or it may be time for you to look for another job/specialty. The book will help you with both scenarios. Also read the article: “New grads, you can do it” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/New-Grads).

Also keep in mind that nurses have many more career options to choose from than ever before. As care shifts out of the hospital and into alternative inpatient and outpatient settings such as the community and home-based care, so too are the nursing jobs.

Things will get better for you, but you have to be more proactive with your career planning, career management and self-management. Take the advice in the above post, including reading the referenced articles and book, and re-energize yourself and your career.

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://www.Nurse.com/Events.