How to become a Nurse:
There are several ways to become a registered nurse with a BSN these days.
The easiest and most direct way is to major in nursing as an undergrad the first time around. You’d need to go to a university that offers a BSN (bachelor’s of science in nursing) program. These usually take four years, and sometimes take five. There are two flavors of these BSN programs. A small number of schools offer direct admission as a freshman (e.g., you’re admitted to the school of nursing when you apply to the college, and you are guaranteed to be a nursing major as long as you keep your grades up). But most make you apply to the nursing school in your sophomore year to start your junior year. In those, you complete pre-nursing prerequisites in your first two years and then start nursing classes in your third year.
This is what you are considering by getting a degree in Cognitive Science
The second way is to complete a regular bachelor’s degree (in anything, although a science major makes this easier), then go back to school and get an accelerated second BSN. ABSN programs usually take 14-18 months after your first bachelor’s degree, which adds time and expense to getting your BSN. This route is usually chosen by people who didn’t realize they wanted to be a nurse until after they were already in college, but I’ve known a couple of college students who chose to go this route because they wanted to go to a liberal arts college to undergrad and yet still wanted to be a nurse. If you do this you have to plan your prerequisites carefully, since colleges without nursing programs tend not to have classes like anatomy and physiology.
The third way is to complete a regular bachelor’s degree (in anything, although again, a science major makes this easier) and then go into an entry-to-practice MSN program. Entry-to-practice programs are 3-year programs in which you get your RN in the first year and then your MSN in the last two years, which allows you to practice as a nurse practitioner. This is only a good idea if you know you want to be a nurse practitioner (an NP is a nurse who gives primary care).
- Really, if you know you want to be a nurse now, the best way is to go to a college/university that has a nursing undergrad major.*
One additional option is to get an Associates degree in nursing from a Community College that has an approved RN program. Those programs are usually competitive for entry, unlike most other community college programs. Often, the community college has a waiting list for nursing and will make you take a number of science classes first to prove that you are capable of handling it, before you are accepted as a nursing major. Your job opportunities will not be as wide as if you have a BSN, but you should still have no problem getting hired. Many of those grads then go onto later get a BSN, while taking classes part-time. Many health care employers will subsidize those classes.