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Should nursing students go directly to grad school?

The countdown is on! 7 months and I get to don my cap and gown and then proudly get my pin, prep for that NCLEX and get to work as an RN! It’s been a long time coming and while there are still 2 1/2 quarters to get through, there’s finally a light at the end of this 3 year tunnel. But while we’re trying to get through our classes and figure out what our futures might hold, we’re also faced with the thought of …more school?

Do I want to start grad school right off the bat? Obviously this would be something I would do while working – I personally think it’s important to get that clinical experience in if you’re going to get your MSN and/or NP. But the thought of having to get back into the classroom is kind of daunting. Especially while starting a new job, and trying to get my life back after 3 years of nursing school – which for me includes a wedding! Do I really want to start looking at another 2 years of projects and papers and exams? I’m not sure I can picture it.

At the same time, you hear the adage that once you leave you aren’t going to want to come back. If I’m feeling this way about going back to school now, am I going to be able to bring myself to do it once I’ve been out of school?  I’ve always liked school, so I think I’ve got that going for me in the argument of going back, but you never know what life is going to throw your way. I just don’t know.

What are your thoughts nurses?  How long did you wait before going back to school?  Students: what are your thoughts?

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Ani Burr, RN

I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.
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7 Responses to Should nursing students go directly to grad school?

  1. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    Ani,
    My personal opinion is that any new graduate needs a good sound 1-2 years of clinical experience period, before any other endeavor. That’s not to say you can’t start taking classes, I just feel you and your patients benefit from the clinical experience regardless of what type of advanced degree you pursue.

    Best of luck with graduation! And congrats!

  2. Jena S.

    Ani,
    I have been out of school and working in med/surg for 3 years. I have just recently applied for graduate school. When i graduated nursing school I was pretty sure i would go back for my masters, but had some underlying concerns. But now 3 years later i feel confident and ready to return back to school. The sting from the stress of nursing school and NCLEX is a distant memory and im ready to continue my education to further my career. All i can say is go out there and work, regain what life you can as a new nurse and when the time is right you will know it. Good Luck!!!

  3. Ani Burr Scrubs Blogger

    Thanks! I agree, I want to get out there and work a bit, learn what nursing is about outside of the text-books and the skills competencies. I want to say, “I can do this” and be confident in my work when I go home at night. I know it’s something I want to do, but it’s not time for me to say when I want to do it just yet!

  4. Cas

    I think I need a break from school and I also need to obtain more clinical experience. Also, I hope to get a job with financial assistance for grad school.

  5. Suzie

    I worked about 10 years before I went back for my Masters. I was glad I had that many years of experience under my belt. Physical assessments needed the skills I had attained from the years of working in the patient arena. I believe that before a nurse is accepted into grad school a minimium of 5 years of experience should be required. Stepping out as a new NP was tough enough, imagine if I didn’t have the nursing skills under my belt to help me along.

  6. Jean

    I waited about 12 years before I attended school for my MSN. I also had a BSN, and a previous BSED before that; however, I would have to say no, I don’t think attending school and entering a Master’s level program should be allowable for any degree; minimally, 1 to 2 years is acceptable.
    And, no, once you leave school it’s hard to go back; the “older” students who are returning to the education atmosphere are such a positive influence on the “new” students who have never attended a higher level of education. The returning students bring such a wealth of knowledge.
    Good luck! You won’t be sorry for making such a terrific leap into the healthcare realm ;)….and Welcome to the world of Nursing :)

  7. Pugmum

    This is a great topic. I have been struggling with this.
    My story is I am 29 years old, and I am in BSN RN undergrad program anticipating on graduating 2018. I am married yet no children until I am done. I really want to go for for NP working in the Psy field.
    I feel like if I don’t go right for it I will never go back because my husband wants to start a family but we are waiting until I get my schooling out of the way. I have also hear people say it’s good to get expierences which I completely understand yet I feel like time is somewhat of a factor for me personally.
    I have been working as a CNA for 2 years which is great but doesn’t count as a nurse.
    I am torn on what to do because my husband says go right for it and my school is encouraging me to do it, but other nurses tell me to wait yet they are all 23 24 year old nurses who are single and haven’t started a family yet.
    I just don’t know what to do.

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