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If a nurse got a BSN in the 80s, would most graduate schools require a nurse go back and take remedial courses — even though the nurse remained current in CEUs and by working?

Monday November 5, 2012
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Dear Donna,

If a nurse is considering pursuing an MSN after having had a BSN since the 80s, would most graduate schools refuse the nurse and require him or her to go back and take remedial courses — even though the nurse remained current in CEUs and by working? It’s as if years of education and wisdom learned on the job is just thrown away.

Considering an MSN

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Considering an MSN,

This may not be an issue with pursuing your graduate degree in nursing. It is more of an issue when pursuing a BSN, after being out of basic nursing school (with a diploma or an associates degree), which is not your situation.

The best way to find out what is required and what will be accepted is to contact the admissions counselor of several schools in which you might be interested. They will tell you what you have to do to apply for acceptance. Don’t make assumptions,especially negative ones. We always assume the worst. Get the information you need, and then move forward.

When colleges do require a student retake science courses taken more than 10 years ago (I'm not suggesting that will be the case with you), it is because so much has changed and they want the student to have up-to-date knowledge when he or she graduates with a current degree. It is not at all that they are "throwing away" or disregarding what you have done. But again, this most likely will not be an issue for you earning a master’s degree.

The important thing is to get started on your graduate degree. It will open up your mind, your world and your opportunities in ways you couldn’t imagine. Read “Go back to school and change your life” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/BacktoSchool) and “Master the scholarship game” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/ScholarshipGame).

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.