July 15, 2011, 12:17 pm

There’s Been A Change In Plans…

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Apparently a few nurses did not complete their HIPAA modules!

My goodness, ladies, remember yourselves!

You just know that one in the back follows all the rules, all the time. Doesn’t eat at the nursing station. Has the best cap. Her charts are perfect.

She’ll peek later.


When I applied to the University of Wisconsin to begin my BSN program, I took a leap of faith. I didn’t know how I was going to afford it, how much work it was going to take or, basically, what the hell I was getting into.

I was nervous. I was excited. And I was at peace with the decision from day one. Everything fell into place.

I was meant to be there.

Now I’ve been accepted into the MSN program at California State University at Dominguez Hills.


Have you ever had misgivings about a decision and pushed them into the background, discounted them as “butterflies”, ignored the nagging little voice in your head? Until one day, something happens and you realize you are not being honest with yourself.

That’s what has happened to me.

It seems so trivial.

But it made me realize I made a mistake.


What triggered this realization?

On July 12th, the trustees of the California State University system approved a 12% increase in tuition for the fall semester. A semester I had already been charged for, by the way. California has budget cuts, I get it. This state is basically a financial cesspool. But the trustees also approved a $100,000 raise for the president of San Diego State. This esteemed academician will now make $400,000 a year.

Going into debt for this degree ran against the grain of every bone in my body, but I was going to take a small student loan to get started. But not anymore. Not for this program. I will not take on debt for a 12% increase in tuition so a university president can get a 25% raise in the same year. I don’t know about you guys, but $300,000 AND A PROVIDED RESIDENCE is a damn good living, even in San Diego and even in California. I’m sure there are people willing to do the job for $200,000.

(You can best believe my would-have-been nursing professors don’t even see half that.)


CSUDH is a great program with a good reputation. They are a pioneer in nursing distance education. One of my colleagues graduated with her MSN in Nursing Education from the program and she absolutely loved it.

But this is neither the time nor the program for me, and all the doubts about attending and the misgivings about financing that I suppressed, ignored or rationalized came to the forefront with this one news headline.

I’m still going for the MSN, but something tells me I’ll be looking outside the state of California.

Graduate school is an enormous decision, frankly, more than I appreciated. I am going to take my time, research the programs, evaluate the options. And I’ll know when the decision is right because it I’ll be at peace with the decision.

You’d think I’d have learned by now to listen to that nagging inner voice…


  • Michele Roberts
    Michele Roberts

    July 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    In the end, everything will fall into place like it did for your BSN program – the salary that they are willing to pay the president of the university is ridiculously high, and you are probably right, the nursing staff is probably making much less than they could be making clinically – and it is a damn shame . . .

  • Andi

    July 16, 2011 at 12:04 am

    I will be starting my BSN through CSUDH this next spring semester. I am lucky enought o work for a government hospital that will pay for me to bridge from ASN to BSN as long as I commit to working for then for 6 years. Still the tuition hikes are driving me insane and I’m with you on being mad about the raise! Money not well spent at all.

  • Vi

    July 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I’m sorry to hear that. Can you defer your admission in case you change your mind next year? (I have to say, in-state tuition is really the way to go if possible, so I hope you can find something you like in California.)

    Also, I agree that the raise is ridiculous! My boss (a researcher at a university) voluntarily took a pay cut in order to help keep the research assistants’ salaries being paid. And believe me, she was not making six figures to begin with. My undergrad college’s president quietly donated a large portion of her salary back to the college every year.
    Even if the trustees approved the raise, SDSU’s president didn’t have to accept it. That’s shameful.
    (Also, if he’s making $300,000 now and getting a $100,000 raise, that’s a 33% raise, not 25%, so that’s even worse.)

  • The Nerdy Nurse
    The Nerdy Nurse

    July 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    Graduate school is a challenge I know I’ll face one day. I agree with you in the need to really evaluate your options in education, since there are drastic differences in costs and terms of the various schools.
    It is unfortunate that the university if passing on the costs of a HUGE raise to the students, although I’m sure they’ll claim the two are entirely unrelated. I am reminded of how my hospital decided they would cut out the quarterly retention bonus at the same time the announced they were doing a major remodel including the installation of duel fountains… robbing from the backbone of the hospital to keep up with the other hospital Jones.

  • NPs Save Lives
    NPs Save Lives

    July 23, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Hang in there Kim! Listen to your inner voice because it’s right most of the time. You are meant to have a Master’s degree but only when it’s the right time for you.

  • RN-INC

    July 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I understand your problem. I just finished my BSN and now I am looking to get my MSN. It is a hard step. I will tell you not to sweat things you have no control over. Time is money. Your accepted into a good college and like someone else said if you go out of state you will be paying just as much. Don’t let someone elses raise take you eye off of your focus. Your MSN, because if it does you loose. Also if you haven’t checked out the new network exclusively for RNs you should. Visit http://www.rn-inc.weebly.com and join.
    Good Luck.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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