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EN or RN - choosing between the two

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Author EN or RN - choosing between the two

teapot

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:04 am

Hi

I am hoping some of you can help me to answer questions I have? I’m trying to work out whether I should go down the EN or RN path. So a bit of background on me – I am a Mum with 3 young children and last year I started studying the Bachelor of Nursing at uni part-time (but I have taken this first semester off to reassess what I want to do). I did not enjoy the studying and found it hard to find the time (so studied the majority late at night) and to be honest, I find the prospect of studying for the next 3-4 years very daunting. As for where I would like to end up in the future career wise, I am not overly sure. If I was to do EN instead, until I do the job I have no idea if I would do the RN conversion. Also, I’m not looking at working full time either, rather a couple of shifts a week. Although midwifery is an interest of mine, I’m not sure if I would ever pursue it (again the amount of study to achieve that goal seems overwhelming).

Now I have been seriously considering whether I should do the Diploma of Nursing at TAFE instead? Before I started uni I wondered if I had made the right decision or whether I should have gone down the TAFE path instead.

So I guess my biggest question is, how heavy is the workload at TAFE? I understand what one person would consider heavy, another might not, but I guess I’m asking about how much time at home do you need, to do homework/assignments etc? I found the workload (or more the assigments and exam preparation) huge at uni and it seemed to take up all my time leaving me with very little to no time to spend with my children. And just to add, I am a very good student with all my marks being either distinctions or high distinctions so it’s not like I only scraped through – I just don’t know if I have it in me to continue for any length of time! I also feel, an advantage for me is that even if the EN course is just as involved, I will be finished it by the end of next year and can go out and work (rather than uni taking me another 3-4 years to complete).

Also, any generalisations on what assignments & exams entail? ie for assignments, do you have to do many essays or are they more short answer kind of questions? With exams, are they like uni where they are at the end of the semester and are 2 or 3 hours long, or are they split up more into smaller tests/exams that are done throughout the term?

If I was to swap to do the EN Diploma instead, I would be looking at studying at Challenger – is anyone here studying there? How do you find it?

Is there anyone here who may have done what I am considering – started at uni but then decided to go to TAFE instead? Any regrets?

Also please feel free to share any other info about the EN course that I may not have considered.

Well I think I have asked more than enough questions. Thanks for reading this if you have gotten this far and I’m sorry if this is all over the place, but so is my head with all this decision making!

Thanks!

90323

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Apr 13, 2013, 03:46 pm

Hi teapot,

I am currently studying diploma of nursing at tafe in Victoria. I am three months in doing it part time and working. At my tafe you can studying part time or full time, full time is 18 months and part can be 2 years to 2 1/2 years. I can not compare the work load to uni but at tafe we get four assessments for each subject there are 26 subjects in total, plus study you need to do hot understand different subjects. 

One of our teachers said studying at tafe is a good path way to uni nursing and in total it's only 6 months more based on a full time work load. I have to say if I am not at tafe or work I am studying I find that there is a lot of Studying that's needs to be done. Not to scare you or anything but some of the full time students have changed to part time because of the work load. We had a student that graduated last year who studied part time say it was not easy but worth it in the end, that was in orientation week. 

I was going to go to uni but with having to work full time part time study is better suited to me and when I go to uni in two years time I will be working as EEN which is one big advantage compared to students going to uni we will have experience and working. 

As for essays and short answers they are pretty much even so far generally one easy and short answer per subject and oral presentation and in class assessment too.

I hope this helped. 

If you have any more quests please feel free to ask me.

summerly

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Apr 14, 2013, 11:21 am

Hi Teapot, I think I could have written your post.  I'm feeling the same.  Tossing up whether to stop uni and go for the diploma instead.  

MissyA

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MissyA
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Apr 14, 2013, 12:23 pm

Hi everyone. I completed my Diploma of Nursing last July and despite best efforts and grades did not attain a post-grad nursing position within private hospitals and public hospitals (QLD Health) were not even interested in new grad ENs. So I think I'm very very lucky and very grateful to have my position as EN in an aged care facility. The reason I'm saying this is that based on my experience in aged care there is no way I would now complete my RNs if the only option available to me was to work in residential aged care as an RN. I now realistically look at the choice between EN and RN as being one of employ-ability and as soon as I become an RN I cannot work in an EN role and new grad places for RNs are very limited. So instead of looking at the pathway, I tend to look at the destination and see how practical it will be to find employment as a grad RN and I know my classmates thought the same - 96% of the class went into aged care EN positions; 2% into new grad positions and 2% went on to study as RN. As far as studying the Diploma of Nursing goes, I'm sure you will have no problem at all. I worked full time as a Diversional Therapist in aged care while studying nursing full time in a blended class and it was do-able (and with three kids!). You will get a lot of support from your classmates and teacher. The assignments and work sheets have word limits for each question which can be challenging so make sure you put the information in there they are looking for and there are numerous oral presentations/powerpoints and debate which were great. Good luck with your decision! 

summerly

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Apr 15, 2013, 10:00 am

Thanks for such a positive reply MissyA.  What you've said makes sense.

teapot

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Apr 15, 2013, 11:05 pm Last edited Apr 15, 2013, 11:05 pm update #1

Thanks 90323 for the info. I think for me it's the not knowing exactly what the workload for the Diploma is like - that is what I am afraid of that if I discontinue with the Bachelor to do the Diploma & then I find it is even more of a heavier work load, I would probably have regrets. Four assessments per unit is roughly what we get at uni as well (give or take) and we have 24 units. From everything I have read so far, most people seem to do the Diploma as a pathway to the Bachelor degree and don't usually go the opposite way, hence my hesitation & indecisiveness.

Summerly, so have you made any decisions? Are you in your first year as well? What uni are you at? Good luck with this hard decision!

MissyA, thanks for your helpful reply! That's very disappointing to hear that there were hardly any grad spots in the hospitals. I have to say that my biggest worry, whether I study EN or RN, is the ability of attaining a grad spot. I've heard & read about the grad spot shortages - although I don't believe WA is as bad as some other states? At this point I think my preference is to work in a hospital as one of my areas of interest is paediatrics. So with this in mind, this is why making the decision is so hard. I would hate to study for the next 3-4 years only to find I am unemployable as a RN at the end. But I would also be disappointed if I didn't get a grad spot in a hospital once I completed the EN Diploma. So can I ask, are you going to go study RN in the future?

modified: Monday 15 April 2013 11:10:23 pm - teapot

summerly

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Apr 16, 2013, 09:48 am

Teapot, I have pm'd you.

MissyA

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MissyA
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Apr 16, 2013, 11:57 am

Hi everyone! If you do swap from RN to EN studies you should manage EN Diploma just fine: similar subjects/ assessments but at a lot less complex and  in-depth level. You should also get credits from what you have already done at Uni. Also, TAFEs etc are well experienced in catering for part time/flexible study for people with families etc and there is a lot of support for you. The experience you gain working as EN will also be useful once you decide to follow through with your RNs, maybe when the kids are a bit more independent. Swapping over to EN is not going backward, it's just a matter of working smarter, not harder. 

Also, I think most students (but not all) would prefer a post grad spot in a hospital acute care setting to consolidate and shape their nursing practice; then with this firm foundation, they can transfer their skills to any field. BUT it's important to look at the worst case scenario. Not necessarily to be negative but more realistic and practical. If you were unable to practice in pediatrics or even gain a post grad hospital spot, would you work in aged care? This is the fastest growing industry in years to come and it's a more viable prospect.

Personally I was gutted to not get a hospital grad spot after ENs were finished but so so grateful now to be working at least as an EN but in residential aged care which has many many many challenges. Even now, the market is starting to flood with ENs trying to get into aged care as more RTOs put through more and more nurses and most of us were all expecting something quite different to where we ended up! If I did do my RNs and did not gain a hospital post-grad position; I would be prepared to cast my net wide and use my degree in another way maybe. I have a young family too and would not cart them to another town/rural area just for post-grad. A job's a job, but my family are my life. Good luck with the decision to you both: it's something worth thinking about...

medicalpotato

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Apr 18, 2013, 03:57 am

Practicality wise, go for an EN diploma then if you decide to go to RN it will be much easier and less stress on your part.

summerly

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Apr 21, 2013, 02:13 pm

teapot, did you get my message?

teapot

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Apr 23, 2013, 02:32 am

Summerly - I have messaged you!

medicalpotato - Thanks for your input! You make it sound so easy on the decision making! I'm still undecided...I feel if I go to TAFE then I have wasted all of last year at uni - all the stress, assignments, family time I missed out on...

MissyA - Thanks again for your help & info! I have already spoken to the coordinator at TAFE (about a month or two ago) and we sat down to find out what I would get RPL for. Out of the 5 units at uni, I was going to be lucky to get credit for 3 maybe 4 units. But I would still have to attend those classes as they are amalgamated with other units, I would just not have to do the assessments. So therefore I would still be full time on campus. And the TAFE here only allow full time. The grad spot situation does worry me. I'm not sure if I would be interested in working in aged care but until I have done some prac, I honestly don't know. I too wouldn't chase a grad spot to a far away place as like you, my family are my life. I really want to work in health care though and nursing seems like the obvious choice!

Bec74

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Apr 26, 2013, 09:37 pm

Teapot

I am happy to have a chat to your about studying at Challenger for Diploma of EN - since I finished in November 2012 - so still fresh in my mind.

Unlike a few fellow graduates over in the east - there are an abundance of grad positions for EN's and RN's in Perth.  I got six job offers both from private and public hospitals.  I believe 90% of my class got grad positions and a couple have gone to study RN straight away.

If you email me on rebeccag@mosperth.com I am happy to chat.  I think you sent me a PM via this site - but for some reason I can't access it.

Good luck everyone.  I personally found the Dip of EN great, manageable with kids and a job and now am very happily working at one of the top private hospitals in Perth as a grad EN.  All worth the effort!

Cheers

Rebecca

teapot

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Apr 28, 2013, 12:21 am

Rebecca - thank you for your email address, I have just emailed you with a few questions! That is fantastic that you were able to get a grad job (and get 6 job offers!) That is a concern I have with doing either EN or RN - not getting a job at the end.

Arghh, I'm still struggling with making a decision...and I don't have a whole lot of time to make it in!

rivnurse

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May 13, 2013, 02:22 pm

I went from RN course to EN course, but it was more to do with going from distance ed to face-to-face and I figured if I was going to do face-to-face, sitting in a lecture theatre at uni was not the best productive use of my time, so EN was the way to go. Lots more lab time (mind you, I have no on-campus Bachelor of Nursing experience), lots more interaction with peers, less feeling like just a number to a far off lecturer but difficult to do things like group work with classmates who aren't as academically minded. Since it is local (within 100km), the TAFE uses the same admission forms, falls risk assessments, nursing care plans etc as we do in my town - little things like helps me to ease into such a different industry than what I am used to. Means I can work as an EN whilst deciding and doing RNs. Means I will be eligible for 'upgrading' scholarships to help pay for my RNs. Works for me, but the inflexibility of classtime is challenging compared to distance ed.

Emma13

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May 28, 2013, 08:02 am

I think RN is a much more valuable qualification than EN. I think RN's are more employable and more respected in the workplace. I wouldn't like to have to work 'under' someone all day and be supervised all the time. I like the idea that RN has a broader scope of practice,more responsibility,more pay, more opportunties and further career options.

I have completed a certificate in Pre Health science level 5 ( in New Zealand at Polytech) and have lived in Auz 3 years. I am waiting impatiently for an offer through Qtac ( I hope! ). Have applied for a place in BN.Nursing through CQU. I am wondering how many 'spots' they have to allocate. Waiting is soooo frustrating.

Fyrelyte

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Aug 10, 2013, 11:16 pm Last edited Aug 10, 2013, 11:16 pm update #1

I know it's a bit late to answer, but wanted to contribute anyway.

I am currently doing my AIN course and intend to go on and do EN at TAFE. I have three children and am a single mother. I plan to work part time.

I have a bachelor degree in a different field and can definitely say that the study load and pressure will be much less in the TAFE setting. Your teachers are experienced nurses, often working when not teaching, and are very supportive of their students. The classes are smaller, you will not get lost in a lecture theatre. Assessments are done throughout the semester.

Don't feel like you have wasted the last year at uni, you will have gained some valuable knowledge. Keep in mind that what you learn at TAFE can be used as RPL at uni if you do decide to go back (I believe it knocks a year off).

As far as employment goes, from what I can tell there is plenty of EN work around (I'm in NSW). I regularly check Seek and MyCareer to see what positions are available and to review job descriptions.

I wish you all the best in your future

modified: Saturday 10 August 2013 11:18:54 pm - Fyrelyte

inscol123

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Aug 21, 2013, 07:23 pm

RN's give meds and will generally be in charge of a ward - although it's now more of a team effort now and not so much about who's in charge.
The EN's tend to do a lot more personal care. The EN's with the diploma can also give meds but don't give the DDA's (drugs of addiction) or the IV meds, so again - will tend to do more of the showering, dressing and feeding.
The above description may vary in different workplaces. Depends where you are working, however sometimes they have EN's in Emerg or on the surgical ward so their work will vary. You will however find that it comes down to medications and in-charge.

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