You finally have your RN license, possibly your first RN job, and now you’re ready for the home stretch. The next half-ish of the program will be very different than the first half.
1. Academic Plan
Make sure you meet with your academic counselor between your 5th and 6th semester to create an academic plan! Mine (as of 7/27/19) will be posted below. Make to take take into accountant your work schedule, the demands of a new RN job, and the demands of the post-licensure portion (I’m just goin to say MSN for short).
2. School Requirements
Previously, your classes and semesters were pre-planned. You had a guaranteed spot in every class. Now, you have to revert back to your undergrad days and be ready to do sign up for classes before spots fill up. FYI online classes fill up fast… this will be important for the next point. Make sure your academic plan is up-to-date because this will ensure you get a spot in your classes as long as you follow your plan. Also, you will no longer have to take 4-5 classes a semester. Full-time is considered 6 units (about 2 classes) and part-time is 3 units (about 1 class). Whew!
3. Work-School Balance
Many of us go from only focusing on school to balancing the MSN portion with a part-time or full-time work load. Depending in your job, you may want to consider going part-time academically. New grad RNs in the acute care setting will likely have new grad classes with mandatory attendance. New grad RNs in the acute care setting have little flexibility in scheduling for the first 3mo-1yr (depending on the hospital). This leaves you with 3 options:
- Take a new grad RN job in the hospital and go full-time academically to live classes if your schedule allows (not recommended…. can you say burnout?!)
- Take a new grad RN job in the hospital and go part-time academically to live classes if your schedule allows
- Take a new grad RN job in the hospital and go part-time/full-time and take online elective(s) offered (recommended!)
- Take a new grad RN job in the hospital and take a break until you can make your own schedule
- Take a new grad RN job not in the hospital that can accommodate your academic schedule (recommended!)
4. Be ready to write!
Most graduate programs include quite a bit of writing, and it will be no different for the MSN portion. In every class, I have had at least 1 paper to write. The structure is different as well. I will cover the tips for the classes as I finish each stage of the MSN portion. However, I will not be posting study guides for these because it is very much the same material, but you are looking at it in a different way (through the eyes of a soon-to-be NP).
My Post-Licensure MSN Plan
Please note I did 2/3 of the required electives during my 5th semester. I went to South Africa for the international nursing trip then did the online Quality Improvement class. I loaded up with 3 courses my first MSN semester (with approval) because I had not yet landed a job. Spiritual was online and the other 2 were live. In November, I landed my new grad RN position at UCSD. Let me just say November and December were rough and I am glad my teachers allowed me to miss a couple classes so that I didn’t have to drop the courses. Be sure to communicate with your professors because often time they will do what they can to help you get through!