Excelsior Degrees for CRNA programs?

  1. Does anyone know how CRNA schools look at RNs with degrees from Excelsior?
    Anyone going that route? I'm thinking about going that route: getting both my ADN and BSN from Excelsior.
    I'm currently a Paramedic for a big city fire dept and I'm only 10-12 months from my ADN.
    Anyone out there who started as a paramedic before going to nursing? Any suggestions/tips?

    Thanks
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   rn29306
    I sat in on the interviews this year and one applicant was from U of Phoenix (i assume they are similar programs, if not then forgive me) and this subject was debated for some time. One argument was that this individual must be extremely driven to attend this type of program and pass licensing boards that everyone else takes. The polar opposite opinion was that it is indeed a non-traditional program and the clinical education is not consistent. Don't you have to set up clinical affiliations with this type of program or does the school do it for you?
    It was an overall mixed opinion about the verdict on this type of education. I think it really depends on the individual when it comes to making this decision. Sorry to give you a lukewarm answer, but that is what happened during the discussion.
  4. by   smelendez
    "The polar opposite opinion was that it is indeed a non-traditional program and the clinical education is not consistent. Don't you have to set up clinical affiliations with this type of program or does the school do it for you?"


    I'm not too sure about the RN-BSN program. I know for the ADN program, no actual clinicals are done. Only 1 weekend of clinical skills that must be passed to complete the program. It's only about a 61% pass rate for the skills. The reasoning for no clinicals is they are counting on your previous medical experience to help you through. I'm sure it's a similar process for the RN-BSN program. You are right though, we must still sit through our boards and pass the same exams as other RNs going through traditional programs. We are not going to simply get a degree handed to us! It's going to take lots of discipline, dedication and hard work. Not anyone can go this route.
    Thanks for your reply!
  5. by   Sheri257
    Quote from rn29306
    I sat in on the interviews this year and one applicant was from U of Phoenix (i assume they are similar programs, if not then forgive me) and this subject was debated for some time. One argument was that this individual must be extremely driven to attend this type of program and pass licensing boards that everyone else takes. The polar opposite opinion was that it is indeed a non-traditional program and the clinical education is not consistent. Don't you have to set up clinical affiliations with this type of program or does the school do it for you?
    It was an overall mixed opinion about the verdict on this type of education. I think it really depends on the individual when it comes to making this decision. Sorry to give you a lukewarm answer, but that is what happened during the discussion.
    So what did they ultimately decide after this debate? Do you know if this applicant was accepted?

    As this post demonstrates, online schools are still controversial, even if you get your ADN at a traditional school and just get your bachelors online since, UoP is usually only an option for ADN-BSN or BSN-MSN.

    Most of the people who sit on these committees probably attended conventional schools and might raise doubts about it. Also, if you try to attend CRNA schools in California or Kansas, that probably would be a problem since those states don't accept the Excelsior ADN program anymore.

    I'd call the CRNA schools you think you might attend and ask them first hand.
    Otherwise, I might play it safe anyway and go the conventional route. No one is likely to have issues with that.

    While UoP is known as an online school, some conventional schools, like California State University, have launched online ADN-BSN programs. I wonder how these committees will be able to tell the difference between the "online" versus "conventional" students if they end up graduating from the same conventional school ... and how they might debate that.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 21, '05
  6. by   traumaRUs
    Interesting topic.
  7. by   smelendez
    "I'd call the CRNA schools you think you might attend and ask them first hand."

    Actually I emailed all four schools in my state (Texas). 3 out of 4 stated that as long as the degree came from an accredited school it met the requirements. The other school mentioned that they had some doubts about students with such degrees since they have had bad results with some of those students. My opinion on that is that bad students come out of some traditional schools as well. I'm hoping most schools look at the 'whole package' the student has to offer. After reading some posts, it seems that's what schools do look at. Personality/experience/grades. When it's all said and done with me, I may not have the highest GPA, but overall I plan to be a good candidate when I meet all the requirements. I'll get in somewhere! (I just need to keep telling myself that).
  8. by   rn29306
    Quote from smelendez

    Actually I emailed all four schools in my state (Texas). 3 out of 4 stated that as long as the degree came from an accredited school it met the requirements.

    You got the PC answer. Meets requirements? Yes, you have a degree to prove it so they cannot deny you on that fact. Does this mean that the adcoms will look at your degree favorably? Hard to tell and might be luck of the draw on who is sitting on the adcom that particular day. Die hard traditionalist nurse educators (who run the school of nursing at my facility) don't really agree with online programs.

    Best of luck to you and your endeavors. Let us know how it goes.
  9. by   rn29306
    Quote from lizz
    So what did they ultimately decide after this debate? Do you know if this applicant was accepted?
    If I remember correctly, this person did not gain acceptance for other factors independent of the online component.
  10. by   BeckRN
    I think as long as your program is accredited, you should be fine. Remember that UoP also has brick and mortar campuses, so the person who is reviewing your academic record may not know that your program was online.

    I think online RN to BSN programs are fine, I'll even go so far as to say MSN programs wtih concentrations in fields such as leadership/management or education are fine. Advanced clinical degrees, though, such as an NP or CNS... I think it would be difficult to self-arrange consistent, quality, directed clinical experiences.

    Interestingly, I was a medic before I became a nurse. I went through a traditional program.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.
  11. by   BeckRN
    I just realized I didn't answer your question. I haven't heard that much about Excelsior, and what I have heard hasn't been positive. If you feel confident in your skills (and remember being a nurse is very different from being a medic), and your ability to arrange effective clinical, I don't see any reason why you couldn't do it, but I'd wager you'd feel more prepared both clinically and didactically with a traditional brick and mortar program. At least for your ADN.

    Just my .02.
  12. by   Sheri257
    Quote from BeckRN
    I think as long as your program is accredited, you should be fine.
    That raises another interesting question. Accredited by whom? California and, now, Kansas doesn't accept the Excelsior ADN at all. Florida and Washington state only accepts it if you're an LPN. Illinois only accepts the EC ADN after you've practiced in another state for two years. Other states are also debating whether they'll continue to accept the EC ADN so the situation could change elsewhere.

    Even if your state (and CRNA school) does take the EC ADN, how does that impact your ability to practice as a CRNA in other states that don't accept it?

    It seems to be a tricky situation and somewhat of a gamble.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 21, '05
  13. by   Sheri257
    Quote from rn29306
    You got the PC answer. Meets requirements? Yes, you have a degree to prove it so they cannot deny you on that fact. Does this mean that the adcoms will look at your degree favorably? Hard to tell and might be luck of the draw on who is sitting on the adcom that particular day. Die hard traditionalist nurse educators (who run the school of nursing at my facility) don't really agree with online programs.
    Good point. If they raised questions about online ADN-BSN, it's probably a good bet they'd really disapprove of an online ADN program (although EC students like to point out that it's a "distance learning" program, not online).

    Whatever the case may be, it might not be worthwhile to depend on "luck of the draw," so to speak.

  14. by   Law of Fives
    I was curious about this some time back, and when I asked someone about it, this was their reply:
    I know of 5 CRNAs, and 3 other SRNAs that went this route. I think that making excellent grades is more important than the school you went to. I believe the schools are searching for a trend in your scholastic history. If you've consistantly made high marks over the years, it proves you have the ability. In my opinion, online classes are more difficult because you don't have the advantage of "hearing" the lectures. You have to weed through all of the material and focus on a larger portion than you would in a class setting. If given the chance in an interview, I would have stressed this point.

    my recommendations for acceptance:
    Make the best grades possible
    Work in a variety of ICUs
    Study and read daily on the patients you take care of
    Learn pharmacology inside and out

    In my interview, they focused on the types of patients I took care of. Luckily, I have worked in all ICUs. They like to see that you can routinely handle the sickest patients

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