Quote from creativetype2007
That was going to be my next question, do you feel prepaired to be a nurse when graduating knowing the program goes so quickly? Are nurses who graduate OCC or anywhere else that has 2 years or so do better or feel more prepaired?
I also wanted to ask about the 15% your lost which seems high. Do you know if most of them just didn't really study enough? or did they study their butts off and still not pass which would concern me more.
I really appreciate your feedback.
I felt prepared once I graduated. The last 5 weeks (or so) of the program allows you to work along side a nurse 1:1 full time on his/her unit and shift. That's really where you get a full taste of the work and put the years education together.
The following is only my opinion- I have absolutely no basis in fact for what I am about to say with the exception that all nursing programs (Diploma, ADN, BSN or ABSN) require their students to have a certain number of hours of clinical expereince, the minimum number being mandated by either the state or acrrediting agency (I don't recall which).
What that means is that no matter where you go you are going to get more or less the same amount of clinical time. Some programs allow you to do it more quickly than others. In the SDO program at UDM that means 16 hours a week in the first semester and 20 to 24 hours a week in your second and third semesters in addition to the 1:1 experience at the end of the program.
UDM (and other ABSN programs) do it very quickly. At 12 months, UDMs program is I think a little faster than some other local ASBN programs.
The place where I think the most noticable difference is really outside of the clinical setting. Skills labs (where you practice on manequins or with a partner) in ADN and traditional BSN programs are, from what I hear, kind of brutal. You're checked off on things like placing a foley catheter. There are steps that must be performed in a certain order in a certain way and with very good reason. Again, based largely on hersay, check offs are very rigid in most programs (including UDMs traditional program) and making too many mistakes can lead to a student failing out of the program. I have seen this in the UDM traditional program. In the SDO program check offs are very relaxed and informal.
Now this is kind of a double edged sword. SDO students are given a break, but it's really because they are expected to be able to understand the demonstration, repeat it back quickly and be able to perform it clinically with an acceptable level of competence. In other words "We trust you. Now don't #!(%$ up." UDM feels that if you're in the program that you're there because you and they believe you can, in fact, drink from a fire hose and not drown. They're right at least 85% of the time.
In reality, the first time you place a foley you will discuss it with your instructor away from the bedside and he or she will be in the room with you to provide any coaching that might be necessary as you're doing it. But you'll walk into the patients room knowing that you have had relatively little practice. You'll also end up placing the foley successfully and be able to do it pretty easily the second time.
Students who go through ADN or traditional programs might get more practive time in the lab, but it's more stress on the front end. I don't know how they feel doing it in clincials for the first time.
I also feel that because the UDM program is so short things are a little fresher when you graduate. Your Pathophysiology class is less than 12 months old when you should be sitting for your boards, for example. On the other hand, you had something like 10 weeks to absorb it all.
If you've ever taken a full load (19-21 credit hours) of fairly challenging coursework then you have kind of a sense of what the UDM program is like. It's a lot of information compressed into a very short period.
Of the 15% we lost I would say about half of them were people whose families for whatever reason were not able to handle the strain the program put on them. Spouses who are unwilling or unable to to handle 75% or more (and heaven knows my wife picked up a ton of my slack) of keeping the house and family together may cause a student to have to choose between home and school. A few of our classmates chose (and probably it was the best decision for them) home.
The other half were academic washouts. Why couldn't they handle it? I can honestly say I don't know. I could, and so could most of my classmates. Based on more hersay about their clinical performance I think it's best for anyone who they might have taken care of that they were not able to complete the program. And that's really where it shakes out. You might or might not know how someone is doing in the classroom portion of the program, but screw up in clinicals and everyone hears about it. Students who are dangerous and won't last. Everyone makes mistakes, but trying to thread an IV pole through the arm hole of a gown is forgivable (and funny). Dropping a patient because you didn't have a side rail up when you turned them isn't. Doing it twice means that you need to turn in your stuff leave.
NOTE: These were top-of-my-head examples. No one in my cohort (or any other that I am aware of) tried to put an IV Pole through a gown or dropped a patient. Ever.
Some people in the program studied more than others. Some had to and some wanted to. A few coasted and passed anyway. If you earned your first degree and did well on your pre-reqs you should be fine.
I will tell you that my class was well thought of by the faculty and told us more than once that we were an unusually close group. We generally got along well and everyone helped each other. We all wanted to get good grades, but we didn't feel the need to do it at the expense of other students. We formed study groups and information was shared between groups. From what I have heard not all classes are like ours was.
I guess I would compare the attitude to playing golf. Golfers are really competing against a golf course, not one another (for the most part). They go out to play their best possible game, not to beat the people they play with. And they don't have any animosity towards the course in any real way. Our class was like that. It was us against the program. But aside from the occasional grumble or stress induced rant we liked most of our professors and instructors. We respected the faculty and I think they respected us as well.
If you go into the program I would urge you to try and nurture this same sort of culture. Anything else just adds more unnecessary stress to the basic difficulty of the program.
For one year you're all sharing a life boat. It's not "Survivor". Everyone who finishes wins. There are no losers.
Lastly, remember, there are a lot of nurses out there in the world, and most of them are doing the job well and safely. But very few of them are anything other than normal, average people. Nursing programs, like most other fields of study, take regular people and turns them into nurses. That means that a regular, average person with the desire to become a nurse is usually able to do it. In that regard I don't think it's much different from going in to business school or teaching. We're all regular people doing regular jobs.
An ASBN program takes regular people who feel that they are able to learn a lot pretty quickly, puts them through a bunch of nursing classes, adds some pressure and turns out regular graduate nurses. If we can do it, you should be able to as well.