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What types of jobs are there for a nurse with years of experience but who does not have her BSN?



Dear Donna,

I have been an RN since 1985 and have an ADN. I am increasingly becoming dissatisfied with my current position and need advice on what is out there for a nurse with years of experience but who does not have her BSN. I am aware that RNs with a BSN are preferred in today’s market.

Dissatisfied Nurse

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Dissatisfied Nurse,

I always say that discontent is a reminder postcard from the universe that it’s time to make some changes. And while the BSN has become standard for many hospital positions, it is less of an issue in other areas.

You don’t mention what your current or past experience is or what type of facility you’re interested in working. If you want to continue in the patient care setting, home care and hospice agencies are usually more concerned with a nurse’s experience than her degrees. And within home care you can explore a variety of options both in the office and out in the field.

The ambulatory and out-patient settings are growth areas in healthcare right now and often a specific degree is less important than one’s experience. Look into cancer care centers, outpatient hemodialysis and medical homes for example. Read “Nursing – a new paradigm” to learn about the future of ambulatory care and other areas (

There are so many other options for you, I couldn’t possibly go into all of them here. You would benefit from attending my Career Alternatives for Nurses seminar to identify transferable skills and fully explore your options as an ADN nurse. For more on this event, visit If you can’t attend the seminar, the program is available in a home-study version (

I also suggest that you start attending career fairs to test the waters while sharpening self-marketing and networking skills. There are many different types of employers and agencies at these events (not to mention schools of higher education). See what’s coming up ( Read “How to get the most out of attending a career fair” (

You should also attend local chapter meetings of nursing professional associations, even as a guest if not a member, such as the American Nurses Association ( and/or the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses ( Networking is a great way to explore options and hear about job leads.

You have more opportunities than you realize. Just get yourself out there, which includes making connections on the phone, in person and online. By doing so, you will be able to gather useful information, make connections and develop professional relationships. Remember, you have to be proactive in your job search efforts.

Best wishes,


About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’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 and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www.

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