Hello, I do not know if the original poster is still reading this thread as it was from Feb. I am writing to say I hear you and can understand where you are coming from. However, my experience is a bit different. I am a high school Spanish teacher and worked for 4.5 years in a mixed urban/suburban school district. When I had our daughter, I went to nursing school at the tech college part-time so I could stay home with her too. I had always intended to go back to teaching as I quite enjoyed it (high school can be better or worse than elementary depending on your perspective and experiences) and wanted to be vested in the retirement. In Wisconsin the schools are quite heavily funded so no probs having to spend my own money on stuff or anything like that. I have been at Lakeshore Technical College for the last 2 years, working to get my LPN and then go on for the last year to complete the ADN/RN portion. Now, however, I am interviewing for a few teaching jobs and I will tell you why. My sad story, ha, ha.
LTC (Lakeshore) has a policy where if a part-time student goes beyond the 2 years to take and be successful (80% or better) the courses required for the LPN, the student will have to re-take 1st semester nursing courses in order to be allowed to retake what he or she did not pass. Does that make sense? Well I know it does not make sense in real life, but I meant my explanation. For example, I had all the courses/clinicals for their lpn program and passed them all and got A's and B's, except for one, the last clinical before being allowed to take the lpn test. This clinical was a med/surg clinical and was very! difficult. We were 6 students and only 3 passed. I did not pass it and it was due to "time management". I know I did things wrong, I have never worked as a cna or otherwise in any healthcare setting, just the previous clinicals I had in school where I did fine. I won't even go into the instructor or this could go on all night. But, now, in order for me to retake the clinical I just had in May, I would have to retake Nursing Fundamentals and Pharmacology. Or, take the final exams from those classes I had in Fall of 2007 and get an 80 or above on them. If I do not get 80 or above, I am completely out of the program. Now, you may think this is not a big deal. But it is to me. If I had been a regular student, not part-time, getting the lpn in one year, I could retake the clinical no questions asked and no exams and no retaking or classes. I am very upset about this. In order to transfer to any other nursing school, I need a letter of good standing from the Dean of LTC's dept. I do not want to risk taking those final exams or she will put that in the letter and I will be turned away from other nursing schools where I would hope to transfer.
It gets even more annoying...I am on the waitlist to transfer to another Wisconsin Tech College that is nearer to my home - LTC btw is like over an hour away but I went there as the first place I could get in. Back in March, at their recommendation via numerous e-mails and memos, I sent in and paid for my paperwork to the State and also paid Peason Vue for the NCLEX-PN test, $200. We were told to be all set to test as soon as we were done with clinical in May. So, $200 later, I cannot take the PN test. It is good for 365 days but I do not want to repeat all this stuff/take final exams etc. at LTC so no PN there. At the other tech college they will not send in my paperwork to the State as I did not have 25% of my classes there. I took one other theory course there but this is not enough for them to vouch for me, I guess. Seems weird, as if the State would care, probably not. So, now I cannot get a refund from this stupid test company.
Meanwhile, this whole thing has gotten me in such a depressed state that I decided to keep my options open and apply for some teaching jobs in my area. I live in an area with a few high schools and districts that were rated as like numbers one and two in our State, so that is a good thing. I have a few interviews the next weeks and will see what happens. I hate to throw away all the nursing courses I have taken so far. I feel bad giving up but am at least thankful that I have a former career to fall back on. Gosh, what if I didn't? I think these policies are just absurd and feel bad that it has turned out this way. Btw, I had asked back in Fall of 2008 when we were going to the lottery to chose the clinical sites, what happens if I have a health issue (I did have surgery on Dec. 31st, 2008) and have to take part of a semester off? I was told the same thing about having to retake classes/exams. Therefore I tried really, really hard in med surg, but it was not good enough. I do have one story here, I just have to share to illustrate that I am not crazy and making up how bad this clinical was:
300 pound pt. had a broken ankle. She was running a temp and the clinical instructor said, "What are you going to do about it?" So, I quickly scanned her med sheet to see what I could give and saw at the top of the first pg. that she was allergic to aspirin. So, I said while stalling for time to think what else I could come up with while she is breathing down my neck, "I cannot give her the aspirin due to allergy. I would start (note that key word here, meaning there is more to come) by uncovering her." I had turned the page to look at her other med orders and was about to say I would give her some tylenol when my instructor snapped at me, "Cough and deep breathe! You need to have her cough and deep breathe to bring that temp down!" I tell you, I was just speechless. No where in my life, much less in their nursing program did I ever here aobut this method to bring down a temp. An ice bed, a med, uncover, sure. But this? I asked my mom, who is incidentally a nurse with a master's degree and another woman at church about this. They could not believe this was the answer she wanted. So then later, the instructor says to me, "You need to start applying what you've been learning in theory to this clinical."
So, this is why I am depressed about this whole thing. I guess to start to wrap this up...I feel that if a good teaching job comes up (there is one 2 miles up the road so am hoping for that out of all the jobs) I will take it. If not, I will go to the other tech college and try to make it all the way through. I am putting in God's hands at this point. To the original poster of this topic, I did not mean to bend your ear or anyone else's, but my advice is to ask about time limits to stuff. What happens if you do not pass a course, exactly what are the options? Etc. I have told this story and my predicament to a few people and their response is, "I keep hearing there is a shortage of nurses. You would think they would be more flexible." Or similar. I do not want to discourage anyone from going into nursing school, I just hope it works out better for you than it is currently for me. I have no doubt that I would pass this clinical if given the chance, at a different school. There were folks from LTC who did not pass that clinical the first time the semester before. Five of them retook it and only one passed. I don't know what that says about anything. It is summertime now and I am enjoying being home with my daughter and just doing fun stuff. I think about this when I think about becoming a nurse and wonder if I will have the same free time? I am really on the fence about the whole thing. Any responses would be appreciated. Maybe someone has heard about that temp thing, ha, ha. Now that I have riled myself up over this topic which has become a dark cloud over my life since the first week in May, I will try to go to bed. ~Kolibri -German for hummingbird; they are my favorites