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Friday, November 23, 2007

RT to RN, BA in RRT: is it worth it?

I had a discussion with my coworker, Tom, who is working here while still attending school. Tom said he wanted to go on to get an RN and then proceed to getting a BA in nursing and perhaps move up even higher.

You have to realize that Tom is my age, and he has a wife and kids and bills and debt just like all of us hard working RTs.

"I told my teacher that I thought this would make me more marketable," Tom said.

Tom said his RT teacher tried to explain to him his options from a different angle.

He said, "He told me that an RN is basically on the same level, or same playing field, as an RT. And going on to get a BA in nursing isn't any different from going on to get a BA in respiratory. "

His teacher told him he'd be better off getting his RRT and moving on to getting his bachelors, rather than spending the extra time getting an RN. He'd save two years of his life and lots of extra money.

And from there he'd still have the benefits of increased pay, and an increased opportunity of moving up the ladder.

I agreed with Tom's teacher on everything here except the idea of an RT going on to getting a BA. There is no increased pay for BA's in this part of the state. It might work to help him move up the ladder, but there are a very limited number of RT department head jobs available. Would it be worth the investment?

"Besides," I added, "our boss doesn't have a bachelors degree."

"Good point."

"And do you think that piece of paper is going to make our boss a better leader? Do you think it would make him smarter?"

"No," Tom said.

"Well, it would make him smarter, but it wouldn't make him necessarily a better boss. Yeah it might help him get hired, but if he doesn't have what it takes to head this department, he certainly isn't going to be hired, regardless of what papers he has."


"So, technically speaking, is it worth sacrificing the two years to get a RT bachelors? I'm not convinced. I'm not trying to talk you out of doing this either. I'm just saying: is it worth it? "

"They do pay extra for BA's at some hospitals," he said.

"You'd have to move. Is that what you want to do?"

"I'm thinking about it."

We spent some time on Google trying to find advantages to an RT BA, but failed to find anything before we gave up.

Now, for an RN to get a BA is another story. There are a ton more opportunities on that side of the isle.

Another reason Tom said he wanted to go on to be an RN from RT is he could use his RT skills and he could be hired as a nurse and could fill in as an RT on occasion.

His teacher told him there really is no added benefit to having both an RT and an RN degree because you can only concentrate on one or the other, and whichever one you are doing you will forget what you know about the other.

That sounds veritable to me.

I can think of some really good reasons for someone going from an RT to an RN, and I think the experiences gained while being an RT will very much so make that person a much better nurse, especially when it comes to respiratory patients. For one thing, they certainly won't be calling for treatments on people who don't need them, unless their mindset changes that much.

Not only that, but there would be a pay raise, considering RNs make better money; and there are more jobs available.

However, I can think of no reason why someone who is an RN would want to become an RT, unless they work at a small hospital and they want to watch more TV. But trust me, while you may see me watching TV from time to time, I do my fair share of running. In fact, I think most RNs will agree that when I'm busy, I may be busier than a busy nurse.

Why would an RN want to take a pay cut? Why would an RN want to go from a job with many opportunities even within the hospital, to one where there are only a few RTs in the entire county?

That is, unless you are miserable as an RN and you think you'd enjoy sucking snot far better than wiping butts.

He also talked about being a physician's assistant. His teacher told him he'd be far better off taking the RN route if he were going to do that. But that's a lot of schooling, especially considering he still has to go through the RN program to do that.

Whew, he's gonna be real tired of school if he gets through all that, and very much in debt. But considering he has a wife and kids to support, he's probably better off just working as an RT.

That's my opinion. I think he should stick with what he has already committed himself to. Then, later on, if he's financially stable and still wants to be an RN, he can study instead of watching TV at night while getting paid as an RT.

But that's just my opinion, and I've been prone to be wrong from time to time.

1 comment:

mielikki said...

RN to BSN is an age old arguement in our world as well, a can a worms I am always reluctant to open. I have an RT friend who is schooling to be an RN, she will be an excellent nurse for the reasons you mentioned. I didn't even know there was a BA in RRT.
Your logic approaching it all is very sound!