There are many reasons you should think long and hard before applying to the University of West Alabama's Nursing Program
, or really any nursing program. I could never fit them all in a forum response but this is at least something.
Before applying to attend UWA's nursing program I had earned a BS and had left a PhD program in Psychology in order to pursue nursing. Theirs was one of the few nursing schools in the area that was still taking applications so I applied. After I had been told that my acceptance letter should be in the mail, I was told I'd have to wait until the following year to begin classes. Despite having passed graduate level courses in psychology, I needed the freshman level 'Intro to Psychology' course before I would be allowed to take 'Intro to Nursing' - which had nothing to do with psychology. I was frustrated but not deterred. I took the course, passed it and reapplied. I started that following Fall and progressed through the program each semester - which is not easy when they require an 80% or higher in every class (which is higher than the vast majority of nursing programs
). Throughout my time there I watched my classmates fail out in droves each semester, even some who were experienced LPNs. In the middle of my fourth semester out of the five semester program I was told there was yet another course I should have taken before starting the program and was asked why I hadn't. I explained that I was never advised to and referred to my advising records as evidence. I was told that it wasn't my advisors responsibility to tell me the right courses to take. (I would argue that eliminates the need for an advisor.) Due to the timing of being informed about the course I had to take it along with my final semester's courses and preceptorship. I was busy to say the least! However, I still managed to keep my grades up, pass the cumulative HESI my first time and impress my preceptor. Two days before UWA's pinning ceremony I went into finals with passing averages in all three of my courses, a great review from my preceptor, the HESI off my chest and a job offer for after I graduated. The day before pinning I found out that I fell 2 points short of passing in one of my nursing courses and would not be allowed to graduate. When I went to speak with the dean about it, she wasn't at all sympathetic and told me I would be required to repeat every course and clinical I'd taken over the past YEAR. UWA's program doesn't allow you to simply retake the course you failed, or even just that semester - you get to retake the past year. I left her office that day after she refused to let me review my grades and my final until I set up a meeting with her. (Which I did do and she didn't show up for.) Also, I don't know if it still goes on now but when I went there some of the teachers held unannounced study groups for upcoming exams with a select few. (Study groups where the actual exam is being used to review.) When I first heard rumors about that happening I thought it had to be made up and didn't believe it - until I was invited to one.
Don't get me wrong, it is possible to make it through this program the first time. It's just not easy. You'll need to study a lot, work hard and most importantly suck up if you want to survive. Sucking up literally saved some of my former classmates by their own admission.
I did have numerous positive experiences with instructors, nurses and patients while in the program but I believe when students are considering a program they should know what will keep them up at night.