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I graduated from a diploma program but would like to start working on my degree. Where do I start?

Friday April 27, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I have been an RN since 1977. I graduated from a diploma program, therefore, I do not have any college credits. I have worked in various settings; hospital, doctor's office, senior day care, community health and as a school nurse.

I would like to begin working on my degree, but don’t know where to start. Since I need to keep my two part-time jobs, I will only be able to go to school part time.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Celeste,

Going back to school is a great idea! Fortunately there are many programs - both online and classroom-based - to suit the schedule of nurses like you who work. Read “Earning degrees by distance learning” (http://CE.nurse.com/CE171-60/Earning-degrees-by-distance-education/).

Since hospital nursing is not your thing, you don’t necessarily need to get a BSN. Although, that is certainly a great major if you go that route. To help you figure out which major to consider, read “How to Get Back to School” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/GetBacktoSchool).

Fortunately, there is plenty of scholarship money out there and much of it is not based on financial need. Read “Master the scholarship game” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/ScholarshipGame). And just to give you a little more incentive read, "Go Back to School and Change Your Life” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/BacktoSchool).

You go girl!

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’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.