In the early 2000's, Associates degree nurses thrived during the nursing shortage. Most of us found work within hospitals right out of nursing school - some even received sign-on bonuses! Before I officially received my ASN degree, I had four job offers on the table from area hospitals. I graduated with my Associates in Science & Nursing on May 30th, 2006 and started my first job in a hospital as a graduate nurse (the title you receive before you officially pass your boards). In the last 10 years the job climate has changed for us ASN nurses.
Employment for ASN degree RN's within hospitals is becoming more and more difficult in my area as many have a minimum education requirement of a bachelor's or BSN degree. Thankfully, many ASN nurses whose employment is in good standing within these hospitals have been "grand-fathered" in regardless of the education requirement for new hires... but this could change.
"I always expected myself to continue my education and pursue my bachelors degree, but something always came up to keep me from actually doing it."
When I graduated, I had two boys aged 3 and 4. As you can imagine, they kept me very busy along with my new job as a registered nurse. I knew I needed to wait until they were at least in school full time. Then came another baby, five more years of waiting. Once my youngest was finally in school, my husband decided to start his own business and I felt inclined to pick up more hours at work until his business took off. There were always reasons why I couldn't or wouldn't go back to school, but the fact is I just kept putting it off.
The time has come...
No more waiting and no more excuses. Now is the time for me to finally finish what I started all the way back in 2003 when I took my very first class towards my ASN degree. Over the next few months I will be actively seeking out a quality ASN --> BSN program. I have a mixture of excitement and apprehensiveness at the prospect of being back in school. I know this decision will impact my entire family's life, and I don't take that lightly.
"I know that only with my family's support and understanding will this become possible."
My children are 16, 15, and 10 now and old enough to see the challenges that I will face and the impact it will have on their life. The home cooked dinners my kids have become accustomed to, may morph into frequent nights of take out, dinner time may become Mom's "study time", or we may have to say no to hosting sleepovers if it means mom needs a quiet house to work... no doubt there will be sacrifices. Through the struggles I hope they become inspired to value their own future and pursue their own goals - no matter the challenges that will surely be faced.
My husband and I managed to get through my first round of nursing school and the idea of going through another round is quite daunting. Spousal support is key and being 100% honest I'm not sure mine is completely on board with this new path I've laid out.
I have a wonderful job now that I love on most days and my income is fantastic. Why pull myself away from family life to further my education if I don't plan on changing jobs? Why put ourselves through the stress and pain of nursing school again!? These are questions I've asked myself and what he has asked of me. In time I know I will have his support, but for now I have to convince him that this is what's best for me and my future being a working RN.
Is my job security in jeopardy?
The answer to that, I don't know for sure. In my area, the job climate does not feel secure for ASN nurses and I don't want to look back and think I should have done more to better prepare myself for the changing expectations of nurses in this day and age. I don't believe I will ever be unemployed, but will I have every opportunity that I deserve having only my ASN?
Fact: the nursing profession is moving towards advanced education in many specialty areas.
Do I want to align myself with my competition so that my qualifications are in step with my employers' preferences? Will these nurses with BSN degrees be my competition for certain jobs and promotions I may want? The answer for me is a simple, YES!!! With that being said, it's time to get to work.
Even if this journey takes a year or three years or five... I will keep moving myself forward to where I feel I need to be to make myself more marketable, have more flexibility, and better myself as a working RN.
The first step is the hardest...
My decision to finally make my BSN a reality has taken 12 years to come to absolution. There were so many excuses why it wasn't the right time. The only thing holding me back now, is me. Will it all be downhill from here, absolutely not! However, the first step is always the hardest, and with that out of the way, now is my time to put my head down and get to work on my goals - no more excuses!
Thanks for reading!
Are you an ASN struggling with the decision of going back to school? Have you completed an ASN-->BSN or ASN-->MSN program and want to reach out to me and share a part of your journey? I'd love to hear from you! Post a comment or visit my facebook page to send me a message! Follow me on twitter or instagram to join me on this journey!