I have been reading allnurses for months but this post motivated me to finally join. I am proud to say I graduated August 1st as a member of the 2nd class from UMC's Accelerated Program. I'm also proud to say I just passed NCLEX (in 75 questions).
UMC started the Accelerated Program using a grant in the fall of 2006. The first class had 5 students. My class started with about 18; 10 of us graduated. However, all who dropped out or failed did so as a result of classes we took with the "traditonal" students. They have 24 in the current class. The grant runs out this year but the program should be ready to operate without grant money.
The program is 15 months. The admission deadline is in January. Classes begin in June and go to the following August. During the first summer you take classes with the traditional students. Starting in the fall you begin a group process of learning called "problem based learning". This process is what enables you to cover content faster. You also do some of the frills classes mostly independent study (management, research, community). You do have to be personally motivated and mature to complete this process. You can't work!!! I got by on financial aid. But except for a few weeks here and there I don't think I was ever anymore stressed or busy than a traditional student. Nursing school is hard no matter how you do it. The faculty at UMC are great! In the accelerated program you get a lot of personal attention. (We were taught one class by the dean!)
Clinicals in the Accelerated Program are done mainly through "preceptors". These are nurses (BSN with at least 3 years of experience) at UMC. You do most of your clinicals with them. You get one on one attention and actually get to work as a part of the unit. This gives you much better experience than in a group of 10 students with one professor who may not have worked on a floor in years! During my clinicals, I did a lot of foleys, in and out caths, trach care, blood draws, tube feedings etc (on real people, not simulations). I even participated (helped document, fetched supples etc) in two codes. I didn't start many IV's but that was because I had a lot of patients with PICCs or Ports. My first days as a new nurse haven't been easy but skills wise I feel much more prepared than many new grads. My first day on the job I was ready to hang IV's, draw up meds etc etc.
As far as UMC being in the "hood"..... I never felt unsafe. UMC's campus security is a police force and they are really good. Also the atmosphere is friendly; people look out for each other. We did do some clinicals at a community clinic and a school clinic in what some people would consider the "hood". However, I really enjoyed my patients there and again I never felt unsafe. I don't know about living expenses in Jackson, I drive in from an outside area.
As you can tell I had a great experience so I'm pretty loyal. Of course there are downsides (bad preceptors, uniforms, hard tests, classmates who don't participate in PBL, etc). But again nursing school is hard no matter how you do it and I'm very glad I did it this way!!
Anyone who is interested should visit: http://son.umc.edu/academics/baccala..._overview.html