Alternate Routes


When I started looking at nursing schools, I made a plan that looked something like this: get my associate’s degree in nursing (ASN) at the community college where tuition was affordable, practice for a few years, then go back for my master’s in nursing (MSN) after we’d had a couple of kids.  I knew that bachelor’s in nursing (BSN) was becoming more and more necessary for hospital, management, or critical care jobs, but I already had a bachelor’s degree in English and didn’t see much value in getting a second one.  I looked into MSN programs that would allow me to skip that step, found them reasonable, got my ASN, and started on having those couple of kids.


In any case, after IVF bills, NICU, and knowing that we still have FET bills and a bit more time in TTC world, I am nowhere near ready financially or ability-wise to commit the time/effort to go after a master’s degree.  I’m not even quite certain what direction I’d want to go in for that master’s degree any more.  None of this mattered so much for a bit.  I was completely embroiled in doctor and therapy appointments, trying to get E to eat, and dealing with life as well as learning a new department at work.  I had a job, that was what mattered.

Into all of this entered a co-worker a couple of months ago who mentioned that one of the other local health systems was now pushing for all of their RNs to have BSNs.  While it didn’t threaten my position, I did sit up and take notice.  It marked the first time needing a BSN (or higher) had come up this close to home.  I saw the writing on the wall: it was time to talk about next steps.

At first, I re-researched the MSN programs.  Maybe I could fit it in somehow.  The research, however, more or less confirmed that an MSN was simply not in the cards right now, or really, for at least the next five years.  I took a deep breath, looked into BSN programs, and found an online one through my state system.  The price was reasonable.  Most of my credits transferred.  The coursework looked manageable with all of my other responsibilities.

I applied, got accepted, and plan to start in July.

It means I can wait until I know what I want to do for that master’s degree.  It means I don’t need to worry so much about jobs.  It means I can wait ten years or never go back to school if that’s what I want.

It’s not the route I envisioned originally.  As far as alternates go though, I’m pretty excited about this one.

This post is part of Microblog Mondays.  If you want to read more or get in on the fun, please head over to Stirrup Queens.  Thanks to Mel for originating and hosting!


9 thoughts on “Alternate Routes

  1. The best laid plans . . . I remember having similar plans and none of it happening the way it was suppose to. Honestly, I’m still working my way through all of it, but there are moments where I glimpse the original path I wanted and see that things are turning out better because of this crazy-winding road.

    May the road ahead lead to better options and more opportunities.

  2. I’m so glad you found a program that works for you! Congratulations on starting out on your alternate path, I’m glad it’s flexible and offers you more choices in the future while not tying up your finances inordinately now. That must feel amazing.

  3. Dear Katherine, I have been thinking of your plan for a while, I was pondering what seem to me very sound clinical reasoning and analytical skills, which, even in the heat of the worse developments, shone through in your recounting of the events surrounding E’s birth, (they probably were a part in the positive outcome that unfolded, I would think). I was also thinking of your beautiful talent for writing and communication. Resuming or continuing education is a very full plate, with a family etc. But pardon me to burden you with the thought of even more than a degree to catch up on requirement trends in your profession: maybe you could find it a place to tie together those striking talents that you have? Have you ever thought of leading it much further, perhaps even to a PhD in Nursing? Or perhaps assorted with a self-made career in clinical writing? This is of course not a path that even the most determined person can take alone, you’d need tremenduous support from family and friends, and an acceptation of this help (that might be difficult in the mind of a nurse who is most often the support of others). But it is just an idea that nagged this stranger for several days, a stranger who thinks that your ability to communicate the medical and human dimensions of health and disease could go so much further than this beautiful blog. I hope that my minding did not overreach. Plenty of best wishes in whichever path you find yourself now and in many years to come. M

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