Junkmurse, I came to this conclusion through "lived experience." There are a number of reasons why I would recommend the other schools. First and foremost, they are real colleges. They have extensive student support systems and oversight of faculty and administration. You may not think that sounds very important, but it IS. For example, we do not have any counseling staff or any career placement staff. You are on your own for finding a job. There is a new dean and he is supposed to be changing that, but I'm not holding my breath for it to be implemented any time soon. Barnes-Jewish is not a college, it's just a finishing school for nurses. I did not expect a sports facility, dorms or a swimming pool but I did expect more interest in the students.
At Goldfarb, you will do all your clinicals at Barnes or Missouri Baptist. (Peds is at Children's.) SLU, Maryville, and UMSL all go to multiple hospitals in St. Louis, including those two, so that you have a chance to see a variety of different environments and network with many different nurses. Having done all my clinicals at Barnes, I have only networked with Barnes nurses. I have graduated now and guess what? BJC is in a hiring freeze and has been since the last round of graduates finished in April. The unit where I did my preceptorship has techs who are RNs that graduated in April. Do you think *I* have any chance of being hired there? It is a weakness of the program that they do not go to more of the area hospitals. The faculty will tell you that themselves. Yes, there are a couple more hospitals on the placment list for preceptorship in your last term, but it's Barnes St Peters and Progress West, not big guns like Mercy or St. Anthony's or even Christian. I was told by the admissions person I worked with that the school went to all kinds of area hospitals, but that is not true.
Our clinical time is minimal. We don't have clinical time in the hospital until the end of Fundamentals, which for you means at the end of your first term. In UD, it's one morning a week starting for the last 3 weeks of 2nd term. Then for about 14 weeks over the next 2 terms. The other schools all require more clinical time and in more settings. SLU for example has clinicals Thursdays and Fridays for accelerated. You get to see continued care of the patients, something I have NEVER seen. SLU also has a geriatric nursing rotation. This may sound "yawn" to you but old people are our patients.
Our choices for electives are minimal. The school will tell you that they offer a slew of electives, but you will have only 1-2 chances to enroll for one, depending on your program, and you have to take one of the 3 that is on offer that term. SLU for example has offered a fluids and electrolytes elective which would look really good on your resume, a lot better than Health Care for the Homeless which might be interesting but screams "bs" to most people.
We do not have full semester clinicals for OB, peds and psych. It's 6 weeks for each and one of those weeks will be orientation. Maryville has 16 week clinicals for every clinical course. Again, it's a huge weakness of the program. I had a job interview last week. I was asked how many IV's I had started - 3. NG tubes dropped - 0. Foley's started - 0. I have passed meds and given a lot of bed baths but I have not done a lot of other basic skills. I know that nursing is not all about sticking things in places but you would think that school was the time to practice that stuff. I was also asked about our total clinical hours. Eyebrows were raised and I felt embarrassed. This wasn't about me personally but about my credentials. Another Goldfarb friend had a preceptor at Barnes who told her that Goldfarb students are known for "knowing crap all when they start work."
Virtually all the students at GSON have friends who are at SLU, Maryville, or UMSL. We have often said to each other that when we tell them about what goes on at our school, they stare and say, "I can't believe you have to put up with that." I have a close friend who is an UMSl nurse, graduated last year. Yes, she did have people in her class who she thought should not be nurses, and yes she did have some poor faculty experiences. That can happen anywhere. But overall she rates UMSL's program highly and it is backed by the University of Missouri. Goldfarb is backed by a health care corporation. There is a world of difference.