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I want to major in BSN but I don't know if it's for me. How do I know when a major is not for me?

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Richard’s Answer

As with any decision when choosing a major, it's best to ask yourself what career path you'd like to take. If you're decided to be in nursing, BSN is definitely the right major for you as companies nowadays are looking for nurses with a BSN degree. If you enjoy learning about the human body, complex illnesses and diseases, and the art of caring then you'll most likely excel in nursing.

Knowing if a major is/isn't for you can't be answered by someone else. Only you can make that determination. I've always said to myself and to others that college is a time when you can be selfish--in a sense that you choose your major for yourself and not for anyone else. Explore what interests you and what direction in life you want to take.

I hope that this has been helpful and enlightening for you. Good luck and have fun during your college years!

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Nicole’s Answer

My suggestion would be to try and find a volunteer position or patient care associate (PCA) job at one of the local hospitals in the area you plan to do your BSN as you will most likely do clinicals in that same area. This will serve several purposes:

1) It will give you insight into what nurses do during their shift depending on the unit you choose or are assigned to. This will be the best way to see if this is something you can see yourself doing as a career.

2) It will give you the opportunity to talk to nurses about their experiences and can ask for advice and letters of recommendation.

3) When you start your BSN program, you will know plenty of knowledgeable nurses who can help you correlate what you’re learning to the patients on the unit and give you exposure to disease processes that you’re learning about. You will be able to say “I understand this topic a little better because Mr. X on the unit had this disease and this is how he looked/how he presented. These were the meds he was on and this is what the nurse did for him.” For example, its one thing to know about CHF (congestive heart failure) from reading about it, but it’s completely different when you see a patient with CHF and have to provide care for this patient. Let the nurses on the unit know what you’re learning about that week and if they have a patient they can teach you about. Find that one nurse who loves to teach new nurses because there’s always one! 4) It will give you networking opportunities for when you pass your boards and looking for your first nursing job. The manager of the unit will already know you and know your work ethic. You will already know the in’s and out’s of the unit and will (perhaps) make hiring you to the unit much more easier than hiring an outside RN as many facilities like go hire within.

To summarize: Get your foot in the door as a volunteer or patient care associate as this till give you clinical knowledge and networking opportunities. I hope this helps and good luck!

Nicole recommends the following next steps:

Volunteer or work as a patient care associate
Apply to a BSN program that’s near the hospital you volunteer at or you know allow students to do clinicals there
Make meaningful connections with the nurses and manager of the unit you’re assigned to
Before graduation, ask the manager about the likelihood of working on that unit.
Pass your boards. Apply to the hospital you volunteered/worked at!