Hi! I know this is a few months later but I figured I'd share just in case
I am going to be starting my 2nd year in the COD ADN program in the fall. Their curriculum is changing for new students, but here's what I can tell you about what they've shared with us and from my experience so far-
1. There have been no problems getting in to hospitals for clinicals, that I know of. The farthest you'll travel for clinical is probably 40-45 minutes away from campus (ie- Loyola, Westlake) so it's not bad
2. COD is certified and accredited. The only issue that new grads have [and this is for ALL nursing students everywhere] is finding jobs right away, which is greatly due to the lack of positions available (the Chicagoland area has no nursing shortage). Plus, since it's an ADN program and many 'prestige' hospitals are becoming magnet status, they require a BSN. However, the hospital I work at hires ADN's as well as Loyola, Alexian Brothers, Rush Copley, Good Sam, and many hospitals closer to the city. You can also consider working in an outpatient setting like a physician's office or an outpatient surgery center
) Working as a CNA/PCT helps, too!
3. You can expect to devote a lot of time into studying and reading outside of class. The first semester isn't TOO bad. I am not
a good test taker and a slow reader, and I probably spent around 20-30 hours/week on school-related things (NOT including clinical, lectures, lab, etc). Of course, some weeks it was much less and some was more...just depends on what's due that week/tests coming up.
4. I wouldn't say there's a LOT of busy work, but there's definitely a fair share of assignments that are due that take up some time, like care plans
, teaching presentations, etc.
5. I don't know how the new curriculum is for incoming students, but for us our clinical schedule varied between 7-16 hours/week (clinical is 2X a week for second year. The most you could be seeing for your first year is 12 hours/week).
6. There are people who work full time, have kids, etc that do well in the program. However, there are others that barely scrape by or that fail a class because they have too much on their plate. COD recommends people work 20 hours/week or less. Just because a class is 8 weeks long doesn't mean it won't be challenging. It's a lot of material covered in a short amount of time, so don't bank on picking up extra shifts. However, depending on your study style and time management, it's definitely doable. I work 16 hours/week at the most
during the school year at my hospital. I had to take a week "vacation" because I got too busy to work at all during part of the spring semester, so sometimes 16 hours is too hard.
7. COD's mega cheap and their partnership with Benedictine to get your BSN is only 10-12K for 1 year (if you're working at a hospital that can help reimburse you, that'll help also!)
COD wasn't initially my first choice b/c I wanted to go straight into a BSN program, but I honestly can say that it was a blessing in disguise that my 1st choice didn't work out. COD is very hands-on and you get a lot of opportunities to practice your skills and critical thinking in clinicals. Some BSN programs only have their students pass meds 1 time a semester---can you believe that?! We are given such great opportunities to work with wonderful hospitals in the area and the majority of the teachers that work at COD are amazing and want you to succeed. But it is very hard work! You will be challenged and you'll learn a lot. I wouldn't have picked any other school to get my initial RN degree from