Want to study to become a practical nurse, associate degree nurse, or bachelor of science prepared nurse? Choosing your initial degree path is the first step. That decision should reflect your available financial support, how much time you can invest in your education, and your career goals.
For many, the practical nurse program, which typically takes about 12 months to complete, is the best place to start. Beginning as a practical nurse provides a good career option if you have limited time for classes and/or financial support. Upon passing your licensing exam, you could begin working in your career, and then seek admission later to an associate degree program or a bachelor of science program and become eligible to be licensed as an RN (registered nurse). Or, you may decide to enter directly into an associate degree program, which typically will be two years in length – a faster track for obtaining an RN license.
However, if your goal is to get a graduate degree and eventually get into management or become a nurse practitioner, as examples, you will need to go for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. When making your choice, consider that many hospitals seeking magnet status (special recognition for excellence in nursing care) may only recruit nurses with a BSN or candidates who commit to earning one within a specific period after being hired.
The good news is practical nurses can move to achieving an associate degree and then move on to achieve a BSN degree through a variety of readily available “bridge” programs. Some are offered online and others utilize a hybrid model that lets you attend classes both on campus and online.
If you’re confused, or still not sure, take some time to research all your options before making a decision. You can start at www.fortis.edu.
Under Dr. Anders, Fortis has been recognized for its simulation technology leadership in educating nursing students.